Monday, July 02, 2012

Soufflé Time.

Soufflés have a reputation for being tricky, but really, the only tricky thing is getting them to the table before they collapse. This means of course that before you remove your soufflé from the oven, alél family members must be seated simultaneously at the same table. This is somewhat of a challenge in itself in this modern era when it is more usual for everyone to graze independently at will in front of whichever screen currently preoccupies them, on top of whichever surface is available, in whichever room they happen to be at the time the grazing urge strikes. Invited guests are more likely to be compliant with the requirements.

A soufflé is, as you know, ‘a light dish, either sweet or savoury, made by mixing materials with white of egg beaten up to a froth, and heating the mixture in an oven until it puffs up.’ The word, as is obvious, comes from the French, who got it from the Latin sufflare which very loosely means ‘to blow under.’ I do hope I am not offending any serious linguists here with my minimalist etymological opinions.

Soufflés can be sweet or savoury, and include or be flavoured with just about anything, but the base is essentially a thick Béchamel sauce lightened with stiffly beaten egg whites. I do hope I am not getting any professional chefs offside here with my sweeping generalisations.

I give you a couple of random soufflé choices today, and hope you enjoy them.

Peanut Souffle.
Mix an ounce of flour with a pint of of milk. Add a good-sized piece of butter and two tablespoons of. powdered sugar, cook gently, then when the mixture thickens take off the fire and beat with a spoon. Reduce the quantity over the fire. Take it off again, add three ounces of powdered peanuts and the yolks of two eggs. Cook in a double boiler. Beat the whites of four eggs to a stiff froth and whip them into the mixture when it has cooled slightly. Pour into a soufflé dish and bake in a gentle oven. Sprinkle with sugar before serving.
Sunday Times (Perth, WA) March 8, 1936

Coffee Souffle.
3 tablespoons butter; 3 tablespoons flour; 1 cup black coffee; 1/8 teaspoon salt; 3 eggs, separated; 1/3 cup sugar.
Melt the butter, add the flour, cook until frothy, add two thirds of the coffee, stir, then add the rest and cook until smooth. Remove from the fire, add sugar, salt, and yolks of eggs, beaten until thick and smooth; then fold in the whites of eggs, beaten very stiff; pour into buttered baking dish, set in a pan of hot water and bake twenty-five minutes in a moderate oven. Serve with coffee sauce.
Blue and Gold Cook Book (1912); Oakland Brewing & Malting Company (Oakland, Calif.)

Quotation for the Day.

The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you are afraid of it.
James Beard.

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