I’ve watched many a MasterChef attempt a soufflé and there’s usually a predictable 50/50 chance it’s going to work out ok. I’ve never made a soufflé so I am guessing my odds are higher for me failing. I have to say the one thing I thought I “knew” was to get everything ready before I start cooking. Simple, right? Sometimes even though I know better, I rush into cooking and I don’t perform this crucial step. Reading the entire recipe all the way through is also kiiiind of important. Spoiler alert: I did both of those things; set up for success. I’m learning.
I studied for this. I prepared for this. Heck, I even had a dream about it where I had to make twenty perfect soufflé’s for Gordan Ramsey or he was going to steal my dog, so I felt ready.
But life is what happens when you plan, right? Isn’t that what they say? I decided to make this on a night where I had no less than a hundred things to do. Finish editing some photos, laundry, prep for the party we’re hosting tomorrow night including a party store trip, clean the house, make dinner and this soufflé-you know, the usual.
Even with all that going on, when I’m in my kitchen, I’m zen. All I worry about is the dish in front of me. It’s like a sound-proof wall encloses around me and all I hear is the sound of the water boiling, the chop chop chop of the knife on the cutting board and the purr of whatever music I’m listening to in the kitchen. I get in the zone and it feels good.
The production of making a soufflé is quite something. So many things are going at once and it’s all about timing. I’m separating egg yolks and egg whites, things are being mixed here while other things need mixing over there – to say I was a bit frazzled is an under statement; the art of a calm kitchen is something that needs finessing on my end but I’m positive it will come with time.
While my soufflé didn’t rise as high as I had hoped; rise it did. The flavor was wonderful and the texture was creamy, airy, cheddar-filled goodness. I call that a win. I’m not scared of these anymore and I cannot wait to try my hand at another.
The recipe I used came from the MasterChef Cookbook. The ingredients were simple enough and if you have them at home- whip one up!
5 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese
6 Eggs, seperated
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 Tsp sweet paprika
While the kitchen was frantic for me, the soufflés only take 10 minutes to cook. Cue me watching the oven as they do in MasterChef, muttering under my breath, “Rise Damnit, rise!” Preheat your oven to 425. Take ramekins and butter them on the bottom and around the edges. Take the grated parmesan and sprinkle to coat the bottom of each ramekin and dump the excess. I made four of these babies so I could compare each one. Besides, double-fistingsoufflés is pretty tasty.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of milk, salt, nutmeg and paprika and bring to a simmer. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1 cup milk in a large bowl to blend. The mixture on the stove needs to be whisked continuously, making this part a bit of a cluster. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the pot on the stove. The mix needs to simmer until it thickens – about two minutes. Then, whisk in the cheddar cheese. Once it’s thick enough, take off the heat to cool slightly.
Here is where the mixer is vital-beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the fluffy whites into the cheese mixture, stir and divide the mixture into the four ramekins. Make sure you fill up to the top!
Place in the oven, on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes and keep an eye on them! When they are ready, take them out and serve immediately. These guys do not taste great cold, you know they are good when they are burning the roof of your mouth off – truly, a great dinner party treat! ha!
I will say, next time I will use Baking Powder vs Cornstarch. Cornstarch is used when you need to thicken but it doesn’t help with the rising. The mixture was thick and probably part of the reason they didn’t raise as much as I had hoped. And maybe you are wondering like I did – why Kosher salt? Most TV Chefs use kosher salt because it is easier to throw into things (bigger salt crystals) but also has a more pure salt taste. Kosher salt also doesn’t dissolve as quickly if that is something you are looking for. If you need salt to melt quickly, use standard table salt.
There you have it, my favorite dish I’ve made so far for many reasons but mainly being that I made it in honor of my dear friend. I made something I loved with the KitchenAid Mixer given to me by someone I love; blogger-extraordinare -Ali Martin from GimmeSomeOven. She got me to start this blog in the first place and encouraged me the whole way so this post is dedicated to you Ali. Thank you and I will be taking good care of Marguex the Mixer while you’re away!