Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gorgonzola Cheese Soufflé

imageMention the word “soufflé” and you’re likely to strike fear into the hearts of  most home cooks. Conquer your fears and pick up your whisk, folks, because you’re laboring under a misconception.  Soufflés are not that hard to make. If you can beat egg whites, you’re halfway there. The other half is making the sauce, one that contains butter, flour and milk  - similar to a béchamel, but it also contains egg yolks. Those are the basics for any baked soufflé, but of course what you add to that base can be as different as cheese is from chocolate. The techniques are all the same.

image I have always followed the cheese soufflé recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering The Art of French Cooking.”  Her recipes are long but not because they’re difficult. She just explains every minute detail, and that’s what make her recipes no-fail every time.  I noticed that the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has a cheese soufflé recipe in one of her cookbooks too, and the ingredients, quantities and cooking directions are exactly the same as Julia’s. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say….

The only difference between mine and Julia’s is the gorgonzola cheese (my nod to Italy) and size of the soufflé dish. She suggests using a 6-cup soufflé dish, but for a really show-stopper of a presentation, use a 4-cup dish and bake it with a buttered wax paper collar taped to the dish. When it rises, it will climb high above the rim. Remove the wax-paper after taking it from the oven and serve immediately. Then take a bite of this gorgonzola cheese soufflé. It’s as ethereal as a sigh.

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Don’t like gorgonzola? Think of a soufflé the way you think of a frittata – it’s a blank canvas waiting for your personal touch. Got a bit of leftover ham, or bacon, or asparagus or anything else in the refrigerator you want to use up?

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Follow the same recipe to make individual soufflés instead of one large soufflé. Just bake them for a little less time.

image Here are some photos of what the egg whites should look like after you’ve finished beating them. They should be stiff, but with some luster to them - not so dry they look like Styrofoam.

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This is the base mixture of butter, flour, milk, egg yolks. The cheese gets added to this, then the egg whites are folded in.

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I poured the mixture into four oven-proof dishes that measured slightly more than one cup each. They don’t have to be the traditional round shape, as you can see.

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Fill them about 3/4 of the way up.

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They came out of the oven looking like this:

image  Twenty minutes baking time and  lunch was ready:

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Gorgonzola Cheese Soufflé

printable recipe here

with gratitude to Julia Child and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” volume one

  • a 6-cup soufflé mold (I used a four-cup dish)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1  Tbs finely grated Swiss or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, plus more for buttering dish
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 egg yolks (large eggs)
  • 5 egg whites (large eggs)
  • 3 ounces coarsely grated Gorgonzola cheese, or another you prefer, such as parmigiana, gruyere or sharp cheddar

Generously butter a six or four-cup soufflé dish. Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano to cover the bottom and side. Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the sauce:
Over moderate heat, melt 3 Tbs butter in a saucepan; Stir in the flour with a wooden spatula or spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for two minutes without browning. Remove from heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire ship until blended. Beat in the seasonings. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whip, for one minute. Sauce will be very thick.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce one by one, then add the cheese. Transfer sauce to a large bowl, and set it aside.

To finish:
In a clean bowl and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Scoop a quarter of the egg whites into the bowl with the sauce, and stir together with a wooden spoon. Turn the rest of the egg whites on top; rapidly and delicately, fold them in with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and use a spatula to trace a circle in the top of the batter, just inside the rim of the dish. This will help the soufflé to rise freely.

Place the soufflé in the oven, and turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake about  30 to 35 minutes (without opening the oven), until the soufflé has puffed over the rim of the baking dish and the top has browned nicely.  If baking in small one-cup molds, they will need only 15 to 20 minutes in the oven. Serve immediately because it will deflate rapidly.

Serves four.

27 comments:

bellini said...

I do have a fear of souffles, especially photographing them!!! I will take your advise though!!

Gracie said...

Must try this one too!

Ellie said...

Looks wonderful!!! I'm just wondering if I can do this...I do have Saturday open to give it a try :)

Lucia said...

Ottimo!!!

Daniela said...

Ciao Linda è da un po' che non passo a farti visita, ho appena letto i post che mi ero persa. questo soufflè p favoloso.
Un abbraccio Daniela.

Cathy said...

Wow, what a spectacular presentation! Using a smaller souffle dish is a great idea to achieve more height. You must have been quick to get that photo.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful! I am a sucker for gorgonzola-based dishes.

Cheers,

Rosa

janie said...

Simply gorgeous-my mouth is watering!

Claudia said...

Souffle and gorgonzola in the same sentence - my heart skipped a beat. And then I saw the photos and the heart beat faster - I think it's in love.

Robin said...

I love you Linda! I'm conquering my fears and going for it!

Robin said...

Ambrosia!!!!

Barbara GF said...

I would have to look at this right before heading out of the office and home for dinner, Linda! I am sooo hungry and the fact you used gorgonzola has me drooling. I have never made a souffle, but your encouraging recipe has me ready to take up whisk and get cranking! It's great you caught the height of the souffle in your photos. Beautiful!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I haven't made a souffle' in a long time. I should do it again, as it makes a lovely light meal with a salad. Thanks for the inspiration.

Saji said...

Say Hi to your new follower!!!
perfect presentation

thesaji.blogspot.com

Albert said...

M waytin 4 an invight. Sueflays spell bound me.

alberto

Chiara said...

fantastico, adoro i soufflè! un abbraccio....

Mister Meatball said...

Tis a brave lass who attempts such a thing.

Fine work.

Frank said...

Haven't made a souffle in the longest time but these photos remind of just how wonderful they are. I'm feeling inspired...

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I used to make souffles quite a bit but haven't made one in ages. You've inspired me to make them again, Linda! I love your red ramekins!

Peter M said...

What elevation! It's a timing thing and the souffle is yours to own (or any cook's).

Marysol said...

Quite an impressive crowning glory in that first photo!

Linda, I love this soufflé, and everything that went into it, especially the gorgonzola cheese.

The only thing about soufflés that makes me shake in my little oven mitts is photographing it at lightning speed.

Jen_from_NJ said...

I love the wax paper idea! Oh, and I am a fan of gorgonzola. I will definitely give your soufflé recipe a try. I love that I can use whatever ingredients that I have on hand too - great for using what I get in my CSA box.

LF said...

I actually dont have a fear of souffles, I've never really thought about souffles and that they're supposed to be hard to make. I've never tried to make one either. Just remember not liking them much as a child, although I was probably quite fussy back then! Gorgonzola Cheese Souffle sounds right up my street though. Mmmm.

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Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

Hi Linda, I haven't visited for some time now, and I apologize for that. I've been missing your great recipes and this souffle with gorg cheese is incredible. Julia Child was such a great inspiration for us. Thanks for sharing this with such great 'procedure' photos!

Patsyk said...

I made my first souffles a couple months ago, and was quite surprised at how simple they really are to make! Love them! I love gorgonzola cheese, so I know I'd love yours as well!

Rachel said...

This looks amazing! So light and lofty - and I absolutely love the flavor of gorgonzola. I've never attempted a true soufflé, but I may have to with this as my inspiration!