I can count on one hand the number of times I have sampled souffle: Stouffer’s frozen Spinach Souffle, the Carrot Souffle from the prepared food section of Giant Eagle, and some sort of dessert-type souffle at Anthony’s Pier 4 , which is in Boston. I went to grad school in Boston and I believe I have dined at Anthony’s twice–one meal ended with a dessert souffle and the other a Baked Alaska. Speaking of Baked Alaska–I’m surprised that one isn’t included in the Dinner is Served! collection. Perhaps in the 1973 set*(see bottom of post) there’s a Baked Alaska.
So Souffle! I really don’t have a firm grasp on what a proper souffle should look like or taste like so I relied solely on what #112 gave me. The one thing I did know is that souffles have a tendency to not fluff, or fluff and then fall, so I knew that I didn’t want that to happen. I suspected that a lot of movement would contribute to a souffle fall, so I was sure that I walked on tip toes the entire time the souffle baked.
Since this was my first foray into souffles, I went with the basic cheese version. Which was really for the best; there is no part of me that wants a Tuna Souffle.
I don’t think the ingredients could have been any simpler: butter, flour, cheese, milk and eggs. But it’s the process–it’s the process that matters.
First step: make a roux into which milk is stirred until smooth and thickened.
Uh…did I just go and make a successful sauce?
Well, let’s not go crazy–that cheese still has to go in there.
Holy shit. A successful cheese sauce was made. Seriously, how the hell did that happen? I did this all by my lonesome! I did this with just one set of hands. Amazing.
Next step was to beat in the yolks, which I did.
And then I used my trusty electric beater to whip the hell out of the egg whites.
Then I folded my most excellent cheese sauce into the egg whites. This was a technique that I executed pretty well with the Apricot Bavarian Cream. This was old hat.
So, into the 2 qt. dish my mixture went. And it was waaaayyy below 1/4 inch from the top. It was more than an inch from the top. Who knows–I may have whipped some things too much and others not enough. Maybe my folding wasn’t as good as I thought and I lost too much fluff from the egg whites.
But I did do the circle with a spoon move in the hopes of achieving a ‘crown top’–whatever that is.
So into the oven it went. I believed that the oven was at 300 degrees. The oven thermometer said it was 300 degrees. My oven has very well behaved as of late, but I cannot open the oven for an entire hour plus fifteen minutes. An hour and fifteen minutes!?!? But that’s what it says on the card. I must obey Dinner is Served!
This was one of those moments when an oven with a window would’ve been quite helpful. As it was, I had no idea what was going on in there. The suspense was killing me. What horrors hid behind my apartment-sized oven’s door?
75 minutes later I removed the souffle from the oven.
So there it is. Now, does it look as impressive as the one on card #112? Not in the slightest. But it did fluff and it did brown slightly, so that’s a win. I wonder what sort of difference real butter, whole milk, and full-fat cheese would make. I will never know because I don’t plan on making this one again.
The taste? It was OK. It was like a really puffy cheese omelet. It wasn’t offensive, but not the best thing I’ve ever eaten, either. The leftovers are sad. I have some in the fridge but they’ve lost their umph and are lying limp and sad in a plastic container. I should really throw it out, but I don’t like to waste food. Anyone have an idea for the remnants of a cheese souffle?
Scratch that. I just looked at them again. There is no salvaging the souffle scraps. Into the trash they go.
#112 was a bit underwhelming, don’t you think? Whatever.
*Yes, I did say 1973 set. If you aren’t a fan of Dinner is Served 1972 on Facebook (which you totally should be) or have seen the updated “About the Dinner is Served!” page on this blog, you might have missed that I will have access to the culinary wonders included in the elusive latter part of the series.
Here’s a sneak peek of the magic that happens after dinner #118:
P.S. I have already made Chicken a la King. You can check it out HERE.