A delightful tiny souffle is not something that should be feared or reviled. It does not take a hard core cook or very much work to have one of these fluffy delights for your very own!
Once this basic little souffle is mastered, it is not difficult to go on to larger versions in other flavors, both sweet and savory.
A delightful souffle is a matter of a hot oven, separating the yolk from the egg white, incorporating air into the egg white, making a flavorful base and lightly folding it all together.
This recipe is for a simple cheese souffle that will add luxury to any breakfast, brunch, dinner or a late night snack!
THE EGG WHITES:
1 giant or 2 small eggs
A clean, stainless steel bowl
A balloon whisk
A metal bowl is best. Wipe the bowl with vinegar. This will kill any oils or grease that might prevent the egg white from frothing up. I’ve never had trouble with cold eggs, but take the egg out of the fridge while you make the base and cool it.
I used a super jumbo large egg from Safeway. I think that they have a Pterodactyl farm or something. It might take two regular eggs to make the two small souffles in this article.
Separate the yolk from the white and do something with the yolk. I mix it into the base.
Just before you are ready to cook the souffle, use a balloon whisk and beat the heck out of those whites until they form fairly stiff, but not too stiff peaks. You are merely incorporating air into the egg white, which makes it frothy. The heat of the oven will expand the whites and almost anything that has been properly mixed with them.
(If you beat the egg whites by hand, you will get some exercise that will allow the eating of more souffle!)
This is just right for a stiff peak and it only took about 3 minutes by hand!
This is made first, then cooled before incorporating the egg white.
This recipe calls for a BECHAMEL SAUCE that is loaded up with white wine, seasonings and extra sharp cheddar cheese.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine or Smart Balance
2 cups milk, more if needed
1/8 Tblsp Coleman’s mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne or paprika to taste
1 cup white wine
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
In a medium sized saucepan, on medium low heat, add the flour and butter.
This is a roux.
Keep stirring the roux until it is barely tan for a whiter sauce or a golden brown for a nuttier flavor.
When the flour is cooked, whisk in two cups of milk. Add more liquid if needed. For a richer flavor replace one cup of milk with evaporated milk or cream. Or, add a cup of any kind of stock.
Keep stirring until all of the liquid is incorporated into the flour and the sauce is smooth. Stir from time to time.
Add more milk or stock if the sauce becomes too thick. Gently simmer if it is too thin. Bang! This is the easiest sauce of all of them.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add dry Coleman’s mustard.
Add cayenne or other red pepper to taste.
Add white whine.
Add as much cheese as you can stand then add some more.
Don’t get a bowl and eat all of the sauce. Stop tasting. Stop it!
Cool the base. When cool, you can add the beaten yolk if desired.
MAKING THE TINY SOUFFLES:
For two small 3″ souffles, use about 2/3 cup of the cheese sauce base with the yolk mixed in.
Take about 1/3 of the egg white and LIGHTLY FOLD into the base until mixed in. This lightens the base.
FOLDING means that you take the spatula and turn it over and over again in order to mix the egg whites (instead of stirring and beating everything around like it is a rotten step child or something).
Pour the lightened base into the egg whites, then LIGHTLY FOLD until fairly well mixed.
Fill the ramekins, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Most of them have a little line just below the rim. Fill to the line. Fill to the top if you want a dramatic, pouffy souffle that rises above the ramekin.
Pop into a 425 to 450 degree (F) oven and do not stomp around or do the happy dance while cooking. Turn the oven down about 25 degrees (F) once the souffle starts to puff. For a large souffle, follow the recipe instructions. Do not under cook.
They will puff, and yes, I used a tiny electric toaster oven.
10-12 minutes for a dry tiny souffle
7-8 minutes for a looser tiny souffle
MANGE PRONTO! DINE RIGHT AWAY BEFORE THEY FLOP.
MORE ABOUT THE SAUCE
Just use a whisk to smooth it out.
If you leave out the egg yolk, the cheese sauce can be reheated, but should be consumed within a couple of days.
The sauce can be thinned with milk or stock for a soup base. This sauce is also brilliant for broccoli, cauliflower, pasta or as a rarebit with toast!