Soufflé. The thought of making it is enough to instil fear in some of the bravest of cooks. The soufflé has got a bad rep over the years due to its delicacy. Yes, there are plenty of things that can go wrong: it doesn’t rise, it rises but collapses, it’s over-cooked, the eggs are over-whisked – but with a bit of love a good soufflé really isn’t hard to make. Read on, my friends…
As mentioned in an earlier post, the word soufflé comes from the verb souffler, meaning to blow. Un bon soufflé should be crispy on top, and light and fluffy in the middle – like a breath of air.
Mum’s cheese and sweet corn soufflé was my favourite dinner growing up (yes I know, quite the gourmet child), and I’d request it every birthday. I’ve only recently found out that my sister never liked it, so these requests only brought her sadness and misery. Sorry Anna.
The secret to easily whipping your egg whites is to place the eggs in a bowl of luke-warm water beforehand. Fridge-temperature eggs aren’t going to do you any favours.
The recipe below is for a cheese and sweet-corn soufflé, but the corn is just an option. You could add capsicum, ham, mushrooms – really whatever you feel like. If you want to achieve a perfect flat-topped soufflé, simply run a knife over the mixture just before putting it in the oven to smooth it out et voila – just like in a Michelin-starred restaurant!
Soufflé au fromage et au maïs:
Cooking time: Approx. 20 mins prep + 45 mins to cook
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
Approx 1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup cheese (tasty or gruyère would work best)
1 can corn kernels, drained (or fresh sweetcorn if you have it)
Salt + pepper, to taste
Place whole eggs in bowl of luke warm water and set aside. Grease a ramekin or round casserole dish.
Make basic white sauce: melt butter over low heat and stir in flour until thick paste, then very slowly add milk, whisking to avoid any lumps. Continue to stir until sauce thickens. Set aside.
Add cheese and corn.
Separate eggs and lightly beat egg yolks in one bowl. Beat egg whites until peaks form, taking care not to over-beat.
Fold yolks into white sauce mixture, then carefully fold in the whites until just mixed. Over-folding can beat the air out of your perfect eggs.
Pour mixture into ramekin. If desired, run a knife over the top to achieve the perfect flat-topped look.
Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until golden.
Serve with baked potatoes, or potato gratin.
Bon appétit et bonne chance!