Sweet or savory, nothing appeals quite like a delicious souffle. This amazing dish is as famous for its flavor as for its finickiness. Getting the taste and texture right is only one of the challenges. Getting your souffle to rise and stay up is another. As tricky as this dish may seem, tackling it only requires a little bit of timing and the right steps. Follow this recipe and learn how to make a great souffle the easy way.
Egg yolks contribute to the richness of your completed souffle, while the whites help it rise properly. Get two medium-sized mixing bowls and crack four eggs over one bowl and into your hand. Work the eggs around gently in your hand one at a time, letting the whites sieve through your fingers into the bowl. After this gently place the yolks into the other bowl.
Pre-cooking the flour smooths out the raw texture of this ingredient. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a pan under medium heat and add two tablespoons of flour. Stir continuously, being careful not to burn the butter, until both ingredients are combined. If making a savory souffle, add a pinch of salt and pepper to the mix and stir in. Skip this seasoning if you want a sweet souffle.
Stir your flour and butter mixture on low heat until it begins to bubble. Then, add three-quarters of a cup of milk to the pan and continue stirring. The milk will thicken the mixture and create a rich sauce. Mix until the sauce boils, then remove the pan from the heat.
Beat the egg yolks together in the mixing bowl with a fork until they are fully combined. Then, add a quarter-cup of your heated sauce. Add the sauce slowly to the egg yolks. Mixing them together too quickly will cause the egg yolks to form lumps. Combine until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Add the remaining sauce to your yolks and stir under low heat until well blended. Now you can include any extras to your souffle mix to add texture, body or sweetness. Chop your cheese, vegetables, meat or other additions finely and blend them into the mixture to ensure your souffle keeps its creamy texture. Add one cup of shredded Swiss cheese for a traditional cheese souffle. For a veggie souffle, add one cup of your favorite minced or shredded veggie, along with a half-cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Mix in six ounces of finely chopped crabmeat along with a quarter-teaspoon of garlic salt and a half-teaspoon of thyme to make a classic crab souffle.
Add one-quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar to the egg whites and combine thoroughly. Beat the egg mixture in a large bowl, since egg whites increase in volume during the stirring process. Mix until the egg whites form peaks. The mixture should be stiff and resistant to your spoon but not over-dry. Tilt the bowl to test if the whites are properly mixed. If they seem watery and slide around the bowl, continue mixing until properly stiffened.
Stir in about a quarter of your egg whites into the souffle batter and mix in. Once the batter is loosened, fold in the remaining egg whites using a large rubber spatula. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl when folding to catch all the batter. Continue to scoop and fold the egg whites into the mixture until smooth and fully blended.
Prepare a 1-liter souffle dish or casserole dish by greasing it with softened butter or cooking lard. A greased dish will keep the souffle from sticking but can also prevent it from rising properly. To allow the souffle to rise to full height, dust the cooking dish with breadcrumbs for a savory souffle or with sugar for a sweet souffle.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and pour your batter into your dish. Leave a half-inch of space between the batter and the top of the dish to allow the batter to rise without spilling over. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the batter has risen two or three inches and the crust is golden-brown. Test the batter by inserting a thin knife. The knife blade should be wet when removed but not covered in runny liquid.
Add your favorite toppings immediately. It will start to fall within 20 minutes after removal from the oven. Sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese for extra texture for your savory souffle. Dust with a little confectionary sugar or drizzle on some strawberry or chocolate sauce for an even sweeter dish.