Not to toot my own horn (well kind of - toot! toot!), but I tackled the souffle this weekend and sort of killed it ;-)
Hubs was making a lobster meal for our Valentine's feast so I decided I needed to step up the dessert game and make something impressive. Souffles are always a hit on dessert menus (the fact that you need to order them 30 minutes in advance creates an unrivaled anticipation and the presentation when a dramatically high souffle is delivered to the table is quite something) so I scoured the world wide webs for the perfect recipe and got to work.
I knew that I wouldn't be able to do a whole lot of prep immediately before the meal b/c of the kids and I knew I didn't want to be making the damn thing while I was supposed to be enjoying dinner with my luv, so the key was finding a recipe I felt confident I could make ahead of time, then popping it in the oven during dinner so it would be ready when we finished.
I stumbled upon this very informative article about making souffles and decided that this gal was the souffle expert so I decided to use her recipe and meticulously follow her detailed advice.
What I learned from the experience is this:
- souffles can be made ahead of time. Just mix the batter up the day before and put the whole thing in the fridge (inverted bowl on top) until a couple hours before you want to bake it, when you should remove and bring to room temperature.
- while you're planning ahead, put the buttered, sugared souffle dish(es) in the fridge. Right before you want to bake it, pour batter into chilled souffle dish and pop into oven.
|Souffle batter with inverted bowl...|
- separate your eggs when they're still chilled, but use room temperature eggs when you're doing the mixing. And don't overmix your egg whites into the batter!
- use an oven thermometer to ensure you're at the correct temperature. I followed AmberLee's advice and pre-heated to 400, then brought the temperature down to 375 when I put the souffle in (caveat here though, I actually increased the temp back up to 400 for the last 5 minutes of baking as it was taking a little longer than expected, so I baked mine at 375 for 34 minutes and 400 for 4 minutes for a total of 39 minutes. My advice? Start checking at 24 and add 5 minute increments of time until top is crusty and center still jiggles a bit).
- move oven rack to lowest position and place souffle dish on there. I read a tip that bottom rack is what you want to use to achieve lift so for anything light and airy that needs to rise, bake from the bottom.
|A nice, stiff egg white is key...|
|Folding in the egg white into the batter...|
|Better to leave some white streaks than overmix...|
|The finished product! Add some creme fraiche and dig in!|
- tie a piece of parchment paper around the souffle dish so your souffle doesn't topple over when it's rising. Also, place the souffle dish on a baking sheet in case any batter spills over the side.
- be prepared to eat the souffle immediately when it's done. The whole thing can deflate quickly and while it'll still be delicious, isn't part of the point of souffles the presentation?!
|After a full lobster feast, this is the best we could do. Souffles are probably better for a bigger crowd so I'll be saving this badboy to use for a dinner party down the road...|