Archive for ‘french’

June 22, 2011

hey hey souffle!

It’s been awhile, folks. And I’ve been eating a lot of cupcakes, due to the extreme proximity of them to my mouth for about 40 hours a week. It’s kind of wonderful.

Maybe you’ve seen the movie Elf? My life mirrors that of dear Buddy. You know the part where he explains the food groups in his diet?

"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup."

That’s sort of me now. “We blue squirrels try to stick to the four main food groups: cakes, cupcakes, french food, and Orangina.”

My summer in France shaped this in me. Every morning I ate ridiculous amounts of French bread and Nutella, at lunch I devoured quiche, and for dinner something with lots of cheese. I miss the smells of France, the faces, and the beauty of the Alps surrounding me when I would peek out my tent. Since returning to this side of the ocean, I look for a french spot in every day. Sometimes it’s dancing with the Goat to Edith Piaf, or reading some of Julia Child’s My Life in Paris, or maybe popping in Beauty and the Beast. But usually, I find this French spot around a meal.

So it was that on a toasty, wet, and sticky Friday morning that I rolled out of bed and thought, “I need some French food for my French belly.” One recipe popped into my mind- a souffle recipe tucked away in folder somewhere in our tiny bedroom. I scoured the room for about half an hour, waking up the Goat once or twice with the rustle and bustle of an early morning search, eventually snatching it up with a tiny utterance of, “Quelle chance!”

The adventure technically began with a trip to the store for a block of gruyere, but when I eventually got back into the kitchen, the fun started right away! Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this little recipe as well. Fear not, fellow amateur bakers, I realize that souffles might sound significantly un-fun, in fact, they might seem downright miserable to make. Seriously though, these little buggers a totally do-able. And the result… Magnifique! Devo the whippet thought so too when we gave him the ramekins to finish off for us.

If a blue squirrel can do it, so can you!

Souffle des Jambon et Fromage

  • 1/2 stick butter (divided)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup swiss cheese, grated
  • 6 oz. ham, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 egg yolks*
  • 9 egg whites

Place your oven rack at the lowest level and preheat your oven to 375F.

Butter 3 (16 oz) ramekins to the top with some butter or cooking spray. Next, sprinkle the ramekins with half of the grated parmesan, sides and all. Set aside and begin (dun dun dun!) the roux.

Now, a roux might sound intimidating, but don’t run to the nearest Panera for you souffle fix just yet. It’s really not too bad. Just melt 4 tbsp butter in a saucepan (careful not to burn it) over medium heat. Slowly add flour and constantly whisk. At this point, my roux turned into an almost solid mixture so I threw in another tablespoon or two to make it have a gravy-like consistency. I bubbled mine for about 2 minutes, then removed it from heat and began on the next component of the dish: a souffle base.

In a separate saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and toss in the salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk for a few seconds, then slowly, very slowly, pour the milk into the roux. Whisking constantly, bring the roux+base back to a boil. After a few minutes, my mixture was really thick so I poured in another tbsp of milk in, whisked it for a moment and then added another until it was a gravy consistency again. Then you can turn off the heat.

Add the swiss cheese, ham, remaining parmesan and egg yolks to the roux+base and stir. Be sure the mixture stays nice and toasty while you prepare the eggs whites.

To do this, just throw all the egg white into a mixer and beat til soft peaks form. Make sure they are at soft peak- not just foamy or hard peaks. This is a key part of the process! Once that’s done, you can pour in the roux+base and just whip it on the highest speed you’ve got until the mixture is evenly blended.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins, filling to the top. Place the ramekins in the oven with at least 6 inches of room above the ramekins so that it’s got room to grow as it bakes! The recipe I followed said to bake for 25 minutes, but in order for mine to properly rise and brown, they needed another ten minutes, so about 35 minutes total. When you do it, just go with your gut and don’t be worried about a little brown on the tips.

*Yes, I’m saying use 1 1/2 egg yolks. I made this recipe twice, using 2 yolks the first time and it wasn’t quite right. So, I broke one yolk in my hands, allowed half of the yellow goo to dribble in, and then pitched the rest. It’s messy and fun to half an egg yolk!