Sunday, November 14, 2010

Souffle madness


Turns out, I really like soufflés. Like, really, really, really like soufflés. I like to whip the egg whites and fold them into the 'creme patisserie'. I like watching them rise in the oven. I like serving them to my adorable hubby, who also really likes soufflés. And I love to eat them, soft and fluffy and infused with flavor. I have leftovers in the fridge, and I think, 'I could make a soufflé out of that.' I want to say thank you again to the Daring Cooks' hosts this month, who introduced me and many others to the joys of soufflés!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

I tried out several savory and dessert options, starting with the recipes provided and then, thanks to an awesome DKer named Audax who researched soufflés and educated all of us about fats and egg whites and the best rise, I started experimenting with my own combinations. I'm still taking baby steps when it comes to daring cooking, but I'll get there...


Spinach and Blue Cheese Soufflé
Adapted from a Monkeyshines in the Kitchen recipe

4 appetizer servings

1 large ramekin or 2 medium (2-cup) ramekins
2 Tbsp 1 oz/30g butter plus additional for the soufflé dish
Grated Parmesan cheese
3½ Tbsp (55 ml) 1 oz/30g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup/8 fluid oz (240ml) milk
½ cup (120 ml) 2 oz/60g crumbled blue cheese
1 cup (250ml) 2 oz/60g finely chopped de-stemmed spinach
4 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ ½ tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted

Butter the soufflé dish(es) thoroughly, then grate a small amount of Parmesan cheese in each dish and tap so that the sides are evenly coated with the cheese. Place the dish(es) in the refrigerator until needed (according to some sites, this helps the soufflé climb).

Preheat the oven to 350º F

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook 1 minute, then add the milk, a little at a time, and stir until just thickened, about 1 minute. Add the cheese and stir until it’s just melted. Remove from heat then add the watercress and salt and pepper.

In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes.

Mix the egg yolks into the spinach sauce.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.

Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed but you don’t lose too much volume.

Remove the soufflé dish from the refrigerator and spoon the mix into it. Use a spatula to even the tops of the soufflés and wipe off any spills.

Bake 25 minutes for small dishes or 40 minutes if using a large soufflé dish, then serve immediately.

This was just before the trip to Wal-Mart for new ramekins!


Carrot Soufflé
4 appetizer servings

4 small (1-cup) ramekins
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small shallot - minced
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3 large egg yolks
2 large egg whites
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ 1/4 tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted


Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, bay leaf, sliced carrot and salt. Cover and cook on low heat until carrot is tender. Stir occasionally.

Stir in cream. Bring mixture to a simmer and remove from heat. Puree mixture. A hand held blender will work well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the ramekins completely with softened butter. Tip a little smoked paprika or garlic powder into each dish and roll the dish around, tilting it to evenly distribute the spice.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly and cook on low. Continue to stir mixture (mixture should be smooth). Cook for 15 minutes. Add nutmeg, ground ginger, and salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in pureed carrots.

In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes.

Mix the egg yolks into the carrot sauce.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.

Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed but you don’t lose too much volume.

Ladle mixture into ramekins, filling almost to the rims. Place filled ramekins in a roasting pan and fill pan with boiling water . The hot water should come about 3/4 of the way up the ramekins. This will keep the soufflé from drying out. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is brown and the soufflés are puffed and set.

Place soufflés on a rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, run a butter knife along the rims of the ramekin and invert each soufflé onto a plate, then invert again to the serving plate.

Oddly, though I see from notes I wrote that this was absolutely delicious, neither Joe nor I can actually recall preparing or eating this dish. I even looked at the recipe, which I copied to this draft a few weeks ago, and thought that I must have deliberated about making this and then opted against it.

On the same night, for dessert, we had chocolate soufflés that we couldn't finish because the carrot dinner was so filling. I fortuitously discovered that chocolate soufflés make fabulous leftovers.

Cinnamon Chipotle Chocolate Soufflé
Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

Serves 4-6

4 small (1-cup) ramekins
2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

2 Tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) flour
2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar [regular sugar is OK]
½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) cornstarch
1 medium egg yolk
1 medium whole egg
4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream
3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate, preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo

6 medium egg whites
6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar [regular sugar is OK]
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 375 ˚F.

Brush the ramekins completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish and roll the dish around, tilting it to evenly distribute the chocolate.

For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Add the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.

To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.

Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the flour paste and add the chile. This is your crème patisserie.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar and cinnamon as you are mixing. Keep whisking until stiff, firm peaks form.

Stir about 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Fold in the rest in three additions so that it’s evenly mixed but you don’t lose too much volume.

Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.

Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.

The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.
The curious Halloween spider finally made it to the top of the mountain.

I whipped up some pumpkin souffles with leftover pumpkin puree, using a recipe one of the daring cooks had posted in the forum. I halved the recipe, so we had 4 ramekins' worth, but it's a bit difficult to work with such tiny amounts (and we definitely could have eaten another 4 of these!). They were fantastic and, as the recipe notes, non-fat! It appears that I didn't take pictures of this one. Just make it yourself, then you'll know exactly how it looks.

Non-Fat Pumpkin Souffle

8 small ramekins
Cooking oil spray or unsalted butter
Sugar
1/4 c skim milk
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp sugar
6 Tbsp (3 oz) pumpkin puree
3/4 c egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/3 c sugar

Preheat oven to 400F

Brush the ramekins completely with softened butter or spray with cooking oil. Coat with sugar.

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add pumpkin, remove to medium mixing bowl, let cool.

Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. While beating, add the sugar gradually. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold some of the whites into the pumpkin mixture to lighten, then the rest in two batches.

Spoon into ramekins, scraping off the top. Run your thumb around the edge, which may help them rise evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes.



Spicy Pumpkin Bacon Soufflé

2 medium (2-cup) ramekins
Unsalted butter or cooking oil spray
1 slice bacon, cooked and chopped finely
4 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp corn starch
~1/4 cup skim milk
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of cheddar, grated
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped finely
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
Salt and pepper to taste

Brush the ramekins completely with softened butter or spray with cooking oil.

For the crème patisserie, mix milk and corn starch in a medium saucepan. Add pumpkin puree, bacon, and chipotle over low heat. Whisk in cheese until melted, remove from heat.

In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes.

Miz the egg yolks into the pumpkin sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.

Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed but you don’t lose too much volume.

Pour into ramekins and bake 20 minutes at 400F

which brings us to our blue cheese honey dessert soufflé!

Lavender Honey Blue Cheese Soufflé
idea from this recipe

2 small (1-cup) ramekins
Unsalted butter or cooking oil spray
Sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup of blue cheese, crumbled or grated
2 Tbsp lavender honey
3 egg whites
Preheat oven to 400F

Brush the ramekins completely with softened butter or spray with cooking oil. Coat with sugar.

Mix together the milk, corn starch, and lavender flowers in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add blue cheese until just melted, remove from heat, and add honey. Let cool.

Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.

Fold some of the whites into the blue cheese mixture to lighten, then the rest in two batches.

Spoon into ramekins, cleaning the top edge. Bake 15-20 minutes. It's okay if the top gets blackened - it's so yummy that way.

10 comments:

  1. WOW WOW WOW, you really knocked this one out of the park! I can't believe you had any trepidation at all! Your flavors are phenomenal, from the spinach- blue cheese to the chocolate - chipotle. Yep - Audax definitely taught you well, as he's a master at flavor combos. Beautifully done, every, single one of them. wWuld love to try them all!

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  2. Stacy - You rock the souffle! OMG - look what you did! Just beyond phenomenal!! Every single one looks so good - have to try pumpkin - bacon - chipotle.. mmmmm.. . So awesome - I am inspired to make all of your recipes!

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  3. Holy MOLY! You went ALL out on this, and I can't even figure out which one looks like it would be my favorite!! I do love the pictures with the spider... LOL. And super funny about having no memory of preparing a delicious dish... must have gotten lost in all the souffle maddness! :) AMAZING job with the challenge.

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  4. I love the flavours you chose. The lavender honey blue cheese one in particular has me drooling. I also love how you've snuck a spider into the various shots - hee! Lovely job!

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  5. Wow, your souffles look amazing! And I loved the way you wrote about them. Well done!

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  6. Amazing!! I love all of your different souffle flavors! The chipotle chocolate one sounds especially yummy, but then again I can't resist anything chocolate. hehehe Great job on this challenge, I bet you've totally mastered making souffles by now! :D

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  7. Wow! Well done! I so love the look of the blue cheese and honey one - I think that sounds amazing. So glad to have found your blog.

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  8. Wow that's a lot of souffle! Well done!

    We didn't do too bad, and we'll probably have another go sometime, but we're not nearly brave enough to try invent our own recipes. You've clearly got a grip on this challenge!

    Stay JOLLY!
    D&S

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  9. Ally here. I like the fact that you make everything so simple and easy to understand. My cousin and I want to bake cinnamon souffle for Christmas dinner but we have NEVER done one before neither do we have any idea. We're just beginners. So I was wondering if you could give us some advice on how to make a souffle. I tried looking for just "cinnamon souffle" recipes but I can't find any. Which recipe is similar as the cinnamon souffle?

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  10. Ally - thanks for the comment! And I'm flattered that you're asking me for advice - I'm admittedly nervous, because I've never been asked for cooking advice before! Your cinnamon souffle idea sounded so good that I decided to try one for myself. I'm going to do a little blog post with the recipe. I tinkered with the nonfat pumpkin recipe above. :) stacy

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