Hello all! I am so enjoying writing this blog and I hope you all are having fun reading it. Recently, I’ve been watching Julia Child’s cooking show, “The French Chef” on Youtube and stumbled upon her cheese soufflé! I whipped this up for my lunch and felt as if I was sitting in a café in Paris. This soufflé is so light and fluffy and makes for the perfect lunch! I combined a couple of different recipes and methods, so I will include exactly the recipe I crafted. This made two small soufflés, perfect for you and a friend. Of course, I’m the only one home at this time on a weekday, so I’m munching on the second one as I type.
The full recipe and cooking instructions are at the bottom!
To start, I grate my cheese. I do this first because you must grease your baking dish with some butter and cheese before anything else! I used a fresh gruyere cheese.
Whole Foods had a cute display for the gruyere! I normally would have used parmesan, but I decided to branch out. Gruyere is also the cheese that Julia Child used. I am trying to learn to love cheese…. It’s going to be a slow process.
Next is the béchamel sauce! It kind of looks like gravy, probably because it is very similar to it! It is made with butter, flour, and milk. YUM. Apparently, béchamel sauce is a staple in French cooking and is used in many other dishes! I wait to add the cheese so that it can melt in the oven, rather than on the stove. Another one of Julia Child’s tips.
This is the most difficult part. You must whip the egg whites until they stiffen (become super duper foamy). The way to tell when you’ve whipped them enough is by the way they create these little mountains! I’ve tried to photograph it here for you to see. So, the original egg whites are on the left, and the fully whipped ones are on the right. Most people do this with a lovely stand mixer or electric hand mixer, but sadly I only had my human hands and a whisk. I figured that surely this dish pre-dates electric mixers, so surely I can whip these up by hand!
Whipping these up took around 7 minutes, and I broke a sweat. Both of my arms hurt.
Now, fold them into your béchamel sauce. And I do mean fold. Make sure not to mix/spoon them in or it will effect the rise of your soufflé, aka the most exciting part of this dish.
And here they are! I was so shocked that they actually puffed up that I dove onto my kitchen floor to photograph them in the oven. So light and fluffy–the perfect French lunch.
3 large eggs. Use all 3 egg whites, but discard one of the yolks. So, 2 yolks.
1/4 cup cheese. I used gruyere, but you can use parmesan as well.
3 tablespoons all purpose flour.
3/4 cup whole milk. I like to use very fresh milk when cooking, so I used non-homogenized milk from a local New York dairy farm, Ronnybrook.
2 tablespoons butter. I’m very picky about my butter and I like to use Kerrygold salted Irish Butter. Non-American butter is fattier, aka tastier. I eat this on bread 24/7.
Salt, pepper, and cayenne sauce or chili powder to taste. Julia Child recommends using fresh nutmeg as well!
I like to have all of my ingredients ready to go before I start cooking. So, I start by grating my cheese. I then separate my egg yolks from my egg whites. You can keep the 2 yolks in a small dish, but make sure to put the 3 egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Take two oven safe ramekins and grease them with butter and sprinkle some of the cheese around as well. You can use other oven safe dishes, but this is what I did.
Next, I make the béchamel sauce. Start by melting the butter into a saucepan. Once melted, add the flour and whisk in. Allow it to cook for around 2 minutes, but don’t allow it to get overly brown. Then add in your milk. Whisk it all together until it becomes thick. It usually takes around 2 minutes to thicken. Take it off the burner and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Dip your finger in for a taste. Delicious! Then, add in your egg yolks and seasonings, stirring thoroughly.
Now for the difficult part. If you have a mixer of any kind, use it. You must whisk the egg whites up until they become hard. Basically, you know you are done when you pull your whisk up and the egg whites pull up on it from the base. They will fall back and make a petite montagne. You can see this in one of my photos. If doing by hand, this can take up to 10 minutes. Hold your mixing bowl by your side and lock your elbow so that you are only whisking with your wrist. If you throw your entire body into this you will tire quickly. For me, this took about 7 minutes and by the end of it I was cradling the bowl like a baby and pacing back and forth in my kitchen. I think I’m now ambidextrous.
Add a heaping spoonful of the egg whites into your sauce, and mix in. The sauce should lighten a shade. Then, add in the rest of the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold in the egg whites. Do not mix them with a spoon or fork or whisk. Scrape from the bottom of the pan and fold over. This takes a little bit of time, but it is worth it. If you watch the Julia Child video I linked at the top, she does this folding technique perfectly!
Pour the mixture into the two ramekins, coming about 3/4 of the way from the top, and broil them in your oven on the lowest rack for 3 minutes. Once done, switch your oven over to bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They will start to rise in the last ten minutes and they will not spill over, though I worriedly crouched by my oven for the last 5 minutes willing them to stay put. Make sure not to open your oven during this process, as this will effect the rise!
Aaaand voila! Bon appetit!!
I listened to French accordion music while cooking, because what else should you be listening to while making a soufflé??
I bought some eucalyptus from the store today. I also got a New York Strip that was on sale! Yum.