Recipe of the Day (#ROTD)
A Kendall Oberto Recipe
Prep Time: 1:0 Servings: 4
6 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon for buttering soufflé dish
3 tablespoons grated or very finely shredded parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese or other grating cheese of your choice (asiago, gruyere, Manchego, etc.)
4 eggs separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1 cup warm milk
I have had this recipe in my arsenal so long that I don’t have any idea where it originated. So many folks are intimidated by the idea of making a soufflé as they fear it won’t work. Firstly, fear should never detract you from trying any recipe. Secondly, the skill that will likely be most challenge you is your dish washing skills. For a simple recipe, it sure generates a bunch of dishes. All these reassurances aside, there ARE a few keys to soufflé success so be sure to read through the whole recipe and all the notes before you start.
Prepare soufflé dish (or individual ramekins) by generously buttering bottom and all sides taking care to get into the crease and along top edge. Sprinkle cheese into bottom of dish then cover sides by rolling and tapping cheese around sides over a plate to capture extra cheese. Be sure to get cheese all the way to the top edge.
Place oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 360 degrees.
Separate eggs (see note). Place whites in bowl you will use to beat them and place in refrigerator while you prep other ingredients. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Warm milk over lowest heat. It should be warm not bubbling. Melt butter over med-low flame. Blend in flour making sure there are no lumps. Cook about 2 min mixing constantly to remove raw flour taste. Add 1 cup warm milk gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until smooth and thickened. To test the consistency, coat the back of your spatula, drag your finger through so that it creates a path through the mixture. If the path fills in, the mixture isn’t thick enough. If it stays put, it’s ready. Season with the salt, mustard and cayenne.
Add cheese and mix well. Continue to stir over the heat until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from stove and transfer mixture to a bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cheese sauce to beaten egg yolks to warm them, then add yolks back to mixture stirring constantly until combined.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar(optional) until stiff but not dry (see note). Egg whites should still look glossy but peaks hold thier shape. Stir 1/3 of beaten egg whites into cheese mixture until well incorporated, then fold (see note) remaining 2/3rds of egg whites slowly until no large pockets of whites are visible. Mixture should not look homogenous but still have some white visible. Pour in prepared baking dish. To make a “high hat” make a 1″ deep well around the edge of the dish with the back of your spatula or spoon (optional). Bake at 360 degrees for 30-35 minutes until risen and golden. Serve immediately.
Preparing the soufflé dish is a critical step. The dish needs to be well buttered (don’t try to cheat and use oil or cooking spray) and then covered completely with cheese. This gives the soufflé something to climb up the dish.
Make sure you have all your ingredients measured and ready before you start. Once you get going, you need to push through to completion and will need to be mixing pretty constantly. You won’t have time to pause and gather ingredients.
When separating eggs, I always suggest separating each egg one at a time into a separate bowl. Just a little spot of egg yolk can ruin the whole batch of whites. Cleanliness of your bowl and beaters is also key. Any residue will keep the whites from beating correctly. Egg whites beat best when cold. The pinch of creme of tartar makes for good “insurance” for stable egg whites but is not necessary if you don’t happen to have it.
To “fold” the egg whites, slice the spatula down the center of the batter, fold the spatula over the top, rotate the bowl a 1/4 turn, repeat until complete.
Feel free to incorporate add-ins like chives, minced green onions, grated garlic, ham, cooked bacon, or flaked crabmeat in to the mix prior to adding egg whites. Just make sure whatever you add is finely minced so it doesn’t inhibit the soufflé rising.