Thursday, February 15, 2007

Recipe of the Week

Tyler and I had to stay in for Valentine's Day this year because of his recent surgery. I made a Blue Cheese Souffle, Cheese and Herb Flat bread, Salad with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette, and Warm Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce. Then we watched Sabrina (the Audrey Hepburn version) which coincidentally has it's own souffle scene.

I took a souffle class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris while there on vacation. Souffles are notorious for being difficult. They are actually not that hard to make. There are only a couple things to keep in mind. Most importantly, you have to serve it immediately out of the oven! My advice is to keep the rest of the meal simple with a green salad and simple vinaigrette, store bought flat bread, etc. You need to have whatever you are serving with the souffle ready to go on the table as soon as the souffle is finished baking. You can make the souffle a couple hours ahead and leave it to rest at room temperature unbaked in the souffle dish.

Secondly, make sure your egg whites are firm before you fold them in. Stiff egg whites go along way in giving your souffle enough integrity to hold up. Just don't over beat or the egg whites will become grainy, so to speak. Also, when you do your second fold, don't over fold. It's okay to have small pockets of whites. Don't leave it too lumpy, but you don't want the batter to be completely smooth. Think pancake batter.

Finally, don't open the oven door during baking. Use the oven light feature if you must peek. I haven't actually tested this for myself, so I don't know if it's a myth or not, but it does seem to be conventional wisdom so I thought it was worth mentioning. Good luck!!

Blue Cheese Souffle
Serves 4-8
From Barefoot in Paris

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped (I used Point Reyes Blue)
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter X 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the blue cheese and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk one quarter for the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.


Tyler said...

The dinner was the best I've had. I have to admit, I was reluctant about Rachel taking one of our vacation days to go to a cooking class. I'm glad I made that investment because now it's paying dividends.

Krista said...

That sounds soooo scrumptious! Thanks for sharing..I will have to try making one sometime. . . .I hadn't heard of Donna Hay either...have to check that magazine out! Hope you all are doing well and that Tyler will be all recovered soon!