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Jenise

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RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Jenise » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:24 pm

So on Thursday I made the 'Classic Cheese Souffle' recipe found on Epicurious. For a six-cup souffle, it called for five whole eggs, separated, of which you use only four of the yolks. Other ingredients were just whole milk and gruyere cheese. Parm only to coat the bottom and sides. The result was good but not great. Really just tasted like scrambled eggs, which browned too much I thought on the sides and bottom (in part because my oven cooked them at a higher temp than I wanted, but a tendency that would be exascerbated by the higher proportion of yolk). The exercise got my mis en place plan for firing the ten souffles within five minutes of walking in my front door, but I wanted something more exciting so I spent some time reading other recipes on line and settled for this one on Food & Wine's site, by Alex Guarnaschelli.

What I liked: first of all, not one additional egg white but three with cream of tartar for a more durable poof. Good to know this different ratio would work--I knew it would give me the the lighter texture and flavor I wanted. And then more complexity in the seasoning; sour cream, sherry, dijon mustard, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and parmesan in the souffle base itself. I did not have dry sherry on hand so subbed about half the amount called for in dry white vermouth, but otherwise stuck to her list and these were the things you tasted instead of egg yolk.

The result was everything I dreamed of. Absolutely perfect.

To set the scene for guests, we played the soundtrack from Big Night and served a lightly fizzy Bianco from Kermit Lynch out of an Italian chicken pitcher. When the souffles were nearly ready, I seated all the guests--souffles wait for no man--and poured a 2010 Umbrian red. Each souffle was served on a rectangular plate accompanied by a chiffonade salad of romaine, raddichio and walnuts in a red wine vinegar and herb vinaigrette and capped with a salami crisp.

To keep the recipe available as a reference, I'm sharing it here.

Ingredients:

1/4 c plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 T unsalted butter
3 T AP flour
1 1/4 c heavy cream (I used half and half)
4 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg whites
3 T dry sherry (I used 1 T dry white vermouth)
6 ounces gruyere cheese, about 2 cups
2 T sour cream (I skipped this)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F, butter a 1 1/2 qt souffle dish (or up to 8 small ramekins*) and coat with the 2 tblsp of Parm.

Make the souffle base: in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux then gradually whisk in cream and bring to a boil over moderate heat while whisking. Reduce to low and cook until very thick, about 3 minutes. Transfer the base to a large bowl, let cool to lukewarm, then stir in the egg yolks, one at a time plus sherry, cheese, sour cream, salt, mustards, cayenne and remaining 1/4 c of Parm.

[Dinner party tip: at this stage, the souffle base can safely sit at cool room temp for up to two hours as a do-ahead step.]

Finish the souffles: Put the 7 egg whites in a large stainless or glass mixing bowl with the cream of tartar and beat until firm peaks form. Fold one third into the souffle base, then fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks form. Place mixture in prepared dish(es).

Bake: Allow about 35 minutes for a whole souffle, about 25 for individual ramekins. Do not open oven door to check for doneness until 30 and 20 minutes, respectively, have passed. Serve immediately.

*I doubled the recipe to make ten and easily had enough mixture leftover for four more.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Howie Hart

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Re: RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Howie Hart » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:07 pm

Looks great!
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Rahsaan

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Re: RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Rahsaan » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:51 pm

Sounds good.

Although I actually find souffle to be fairly forgiving. The main ingredients are so delicious (eggs, cheese, milk) that it's hard to go wrong, even if the texture varies. And with the whipped egg whites, it always comes out fluffy to some extent.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Jenise » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:31 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Sounds good.

Although I actually find souffle to be fairly forgiving. The main ingredients are so delicious (eggs, cheese, milk) that it's hard to go wrong, even if the texture varies. And with the whipped egg whites, it always comes out fluffy to some extent.


So true. For most of my life I thought souffles to require precision, but as the last two days taught me--no. Flour, milk, egg yolk and whipped egg white will rise. But for my tastes, more egg white = more better.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:50 pm

Looks like a good receipe, Jenise.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

by Jenise » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:46 am

Well, I'll just put it this way: I've been trying basic cheese souffle recipes for a couple years now. All were good, some were better. But this was best.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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