Monday, April 15, 2013

Fold but do not mutilate

Breakfast soufflé

Sunday morning is our family breakfast.  This week we had some fresh eggs that a friend gave us, so I decided to make a soufflé, because Ella has never had one before and she likes to try new things.  I don't have a soufflé pan, so I used some individual casserole dishes that one of my sisters gave me, and when I ran out of those, I used some canning jars.  And we have so many delicious herbs in the garden that I just snipped a few and put them on the table so that each of us could garnish as we wished.

The keys to an airy soufflé that rises and doesn't fall are

  • whip the daylights out of the egg whites
  • butter AND crumb the sides of the dish so the batter has something to hold on to as it climbs
I used my stand mixer to whip the egg whites but you can use a handheld mixer too.  I have never been able to whip egg whites to the stiff peaks point with a hand whisk.  My arm gives out.  So if you don't have an electric mixer, borrow one or go to the thrift store and buy one.

For crumbs, you can use bread crumbs, panko crumbs, or as I did yesterday, Parmesan cheese.  Next time I'm thinking of using some pulverized french fried onions for a little more flavor.

There are all kinds of recipes online for soufflé and I don't use any of them.  :)  I just go by feel:
  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.  Whip the daylights out of the whites.
  2. Make a white sauce:  melt some butter in a pan, sprinkle an equal amount of flour on it, stir and cook until it is starting to turn color.  
  3. Take the pan off the heat, gentle stir in the yolks and some grated cheese.
  4. Let the yolk mixture cool a little while you butter and crumb your pans.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.  FOLD--not stir, not blend, not anything else.  FOLD.
  6. Spoon it all out into your prepared pans, put them in the oven at 400ºF, close the door and DON'T OPEN IT AGAIN UNTIL THEY ARE DONE!  This is why God put a light bulb in your oven.  If you don't have a working oven light, like "some" people who write a homemaking blog, use a flashlight to check on them.
  7. Small pans take about 8-10 minutes.  Large pans take twice that long.  They are done when they have doubled in height and are lightly brown on top.
Serve your soufflés as soon as they comes out of the oven.  That way, if they do happen to deflate, your diners will think it is because they punctured them with their forks.

PS--this week's menu plan is up, and because Ella liked my soufflé so much, that's what we're having for Thursday night, which is Breakfast for Dinner night.   The weekly garden plan is up too--it's time to get Spring things out!

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