Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Fix: The Souffle

"The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it." 
                                      -Julia Child

They may be hard boiled and colored, Faberge, chocolate, or plastic on the White House lawn, the egg is very popular this weekend. In honor of Easter I thought I would give you my favorite egg dish, Souffle. Now, don't stop reading at souffle thinking that it's a dish to "advanced" for the home chef. I always thought souffle was reserved for fine dining establishments and students of Le Cordon Bleu. But recently I found out that souffle isn't as challenging as Julia Child told us that it was.

Souffle is made by incorporating two parts, a creme patissiere (a sweet or savory cream sauce) with a meringue. The patissiere provides the flavor base and the meringue applies the lift. The dish appears to "blow up" or in French, souffler. Since this was our first foray into souffle, we decided to follow the recipe to the tee. This is not an original MiddleBar creation, but I'm sharing it because it's wonderful. Be brave fellow chefs and give it a try! If it falls, no one's watching but when it doesn't, it's unbelievably rewarding.

3 tbsp butter (room temp)
4 egg yolks (room temp)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar
1 package spinach (defrosted and pressed dry)
5 egg whites (room temp)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp flour
1 cup scalded milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cream of tarter
pinch cayenne
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Butter the inside of a large ramekin (6.5-7.5 diameter) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour (you're making a roux which you know how to do now!) Off the heat, whisk in hot milk, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat whisking until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and one at a time slowly whisk in egg yolks being careful not to scramble. Stir in Cheddar and Parmesan and transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt for 1 minute on low, increasing to 1 minute on medium then on high until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk in 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese spinach sauce and then carefully fold in the rest. Carefully add to the souffle dish and smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help it rise evenly and place in the middle of the oven. Immediately drop the temperature to 375, bake for 30-35 minutes until puffed and brown. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN TO CHECK ON IT!!!! Gently remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Happy Easter Ya'll!

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