Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Souffle a la Vanille

When I decided to start making a few of the dishes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking I knew souffle would be high on my list. I've always thought it would be fun to try, and who better to teach me how to make one than Julia.

I'd heard horror stories about fallen souffles and souffles that won't puff, etc, so I was scared to try it. (I don't like failure.) So I travelled all the way to Florida with my parents and roped my sister into making a souffle with me (and spent a week visiting and painting and hanging curtain rods). She's always ready for a challenge and she bolstered my courage. We chose to make the basic vanilla souffle. Our only obstacle....the kitchen.

My sister's kitchen wasn't just a space for making food, it was also the headquarters for the myriad of home improvement projects we were doing around her house. So we had to make a souffle in a kitchen that looked like this.

But make it we did. And here is the recipe (once again without all of the crazy cross-referencing that Julia always includes):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter the entire surface of your mold (we used a small round casserole dish) then coat it with a thin layer of granulated sugar.

Measure our 3/4 cup milk. In a saucepan, beat 3 T. of all purpose flour with a bit of the milk until well blended. Mix in the rest of the milk and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Stir over moderately high heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Boil, stirring, for 30 seconds. Sauce will be very thick. Remove from heat and beat for 2 minutes to cool slightly.

Separate on egg, dropping the white into the bowl, and the yolk into the center of the sauce. At once beat the yolk into the sauce with the wire whip. Continue with 3 more eggs, one by one.
Beat in 1 T. softened butter. Clean sauce off sides of pan with rubber scraper. Dot top of sauce with 1 T. butter to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
Beat 5 egg whites and a pinch of salt together until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on 1 T. of granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
Beat 2 T. vanilla extract into the sauce base. Stir in 1/4 of the beaten egg whites. Delicately fold in the rest. (This is what the sauce looks like after the egg whites are folded in. It looks a little lumpy but that is just the air from the egg whites. It's good.)
Pour the souffle into the prepared mold leaving at least 1/4 inch between the top of the souffle and the rim of the mold.
Place the mold in the middle level of the preheated oven, and immediately turn down to 375 degrees. In 20 minutes, when the souffle has begun to puff and brown, quickly sprinkle the top with powdered sugar from a shaker. After a total of 30-35 minutes of baking, the top of hte souffle should be nicely browned, and a long thin knife plunged into the souffle center should come out clean.
Serve immediately.

I will say that it was a delicious, warm dessert. It tasted exactly like a custard pie only warm and soft and airy instead of cold and wet and slimy. I liked it, but I'm not sure why it is considered the pinnacle of dessert cooking. It wasn't that hard to make and it was the type of food you'd walk over burning coals for, but it was good.
This recipe is being linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tuesdays at the Table.


Jerri said...

I've never made a souffle before...perhaps because every time somebody makes one on tv, it always falls. lol. But this recipe is tempting me. Sounds yummy!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Good for you!!! I have never made a souffle. Love the idea of making the Julia Child dishes! You go girl!! Thanks for linking to TMTT.