Friday, November 21, 2014

A perfect soufflé

Yesterday, Mom made her first soufflé. As far as I can tell, the Soufflé seems to be the most high-maintenance dish to make. Even when you follow the complex recipe to a tee, there is no guarantee it is going to cooperate. So, with great attention and care, and all of us whispering through the process, she boldly attempted this grand feat.

My general knowledge about soufflés prior to this adventure came primarily from "chick flicks." In Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn has to go to cooking school in France and meet a charming old baron in order to learn this valuable soufflé proverb: "A woman happily in love, she burns the soufflé. A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven." In another movie, Because I Said So, Mandy Moore can only make a perfect soufflé when she is completely content and comfortable with who she really is. It may just be because these are both incredibly girly movies, but it seems that the success of a soufflé is closely related to the well-being of the chef...

Broccoli Soufflé (variation of the Spinach Soufflé on p. 427 of the BCC): If you don't believe me when I call this thing high maintenance, just check out the 12-step process that will use up every bowl and spoon in your kitchen... First, cook, chop, and drain the broccoli. Second, cook and stir a sauce of butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk until smooth, then add onion, salt and nutmeg. Third, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer bowl until stiff. Fourth, beat egg yolks "until very thick and lemon colored" in another mixer bowl. Then you stir this mixture into the sauce mixture. Then you stir the broccoli into that mixture. Then you stir in 1/4 the egg white mixture into that mixture. Then you gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture. Then you carefully pour the whole thing into your casserole or soufflé dish. Then you set the dish in a pan of 1" deep water. Then you bake it. But wait! That's not all... the recipe says "Bake...until puffed and golden and until a silver knife inserted halfway between the edge and center comes out clean" (italics added by Connie for dramatic effect).

Here's the before and after pictures of Mom's soufflé:

The "after" picture is of course after we ate quite a bit of it... We were just following the directions that said to serve it immediately, and couldn't take the time to snap a picture, for fear the flash would cause it to fall. As you can see it was a success! So light and fluffy, creamy inside, and simply delightful to eat! What do you think that says about the well-being of our favorite chef? :)

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