Souffles oh souffles

“Oh no, our souffle has collapsed!”

This was what greeted me when I visited Foodbuzz the other day. From a amateur linguist’s point of view, this catchphrase is interesting to analyse. From a foodie’s point of view, it’s doubly interesting! It inspired me to restart my weekly mastering thingy, with souffles as that week’s challenge!

Chef Ramsay’s been reiterating how difficult it is to make a perfect souffle. A professional chef’s biggest nightmare, or so he calls it. So I was a little apprehensive when approaching this dish. I remembered the different comments made by different chefs in the programme, a few being not to overwhip/underwhip the egg whites, to serve it within 1 minute upon completion, bake it for minimally 15 minutes, and to not deflate the batter while folding in the whites. Keeping that in mind I went to the only souffle recipe I’ve seen before: Mac Woo and June Lee’s Warm Cheese Souffles. Of course I didn’t know then that cheese souffles are technically harder to master than chocolate souffles >.<

So they looked fine in the oven with those nicely risen domes. I don’t own any ramekins, so I could only bake them in these cute little glass cups I kept. On hindsight,  the shape of the cups and not greasing them were apparently important to the rising, cause there weren’t these nice squarish shapes 😦 oh well.

THEY FLATTENED THE MOMENT THEY CAME OUTTA THE OVEN 😦 ahhh I was really quite upset about that. I was thinking if I like deflated the batter while folding in the whites, thus causing the rise to not hold its shape??

It tasted fine, though it didn’t have quite the soft mushy fluffy taste I expected. I haven’t tried a cheese souffle, or in fact ANY souffle before, so I wasn’t quite sure it it was supposed to be like that? Haha but I think it’s probably something that I did wrong xD

The cheese souffles weren’t that bad, and my sisters were quite ok with it, so I decided to go for the safer Chocolate Souffle next. This time I was really careful about not over-folding the whites, leaving some streaks of white in the batter. I later learnt that there shouldn’t be any streaks though pfft! I didn’t know about the greasing thingy yet though so…still no squarish tops T.T this time I decided to use cups that were straight in order to facilitate the rising, but I didn’t have any that were of equal size! Dumb dumb me went to use one tall and one short cup, causing the tall one to overflow like nobody’s business. And still no pretty rise. ARGH -.-

I don’t know but I suspect the ugly holes to be a result of my under-folding!!

At around 13 minutes, the tops seemed real crusty to me, and the taller cup was just having precious chocolate batter dribbling all over its sides, so I went against the recipe and the advice I kept in mind and took out the souffles. TADAH as you probably can tell, the outsides were crusty and nice, but the insides were too liquidy. Not totally but just slighty too liquidy. The taller one was slightly more cakey though because of its smaller diameter. Hmmm the texture should be somewhere in between, so I believe baking this smaller cup for 15 minutes would probably be it! Have. To. Try. Again.

Oh but it was sinfully deli 😀

Warm Cheese Souffles (makes 6)
Recipe from Mac Woo and June Lee’s Cheesecake and Other Cheese Desserts

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp milk
115g cream cheese, softened
3/4 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, separated
65g sugar
Cocoa powder for dusting (which I omitted)

1. Place six 8.5cm (3.5-in) wide and 4.5cm (1 2/3-in) high ramekins on a baking tray. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in flour and salt. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in softened cream cheese and vanilla essence until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 160C/325F.

4. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with half the sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Fold into cream cheese mixture and cool slightly.

5. In a separate, clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add remaining sugar. Whisk until firm and glossy peaks form. Gently fold into cream cheese mixture until just incorporated.

6. Divide batter evenly among ramekins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and tops are lightly browned. Dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately.

Individual Chocolate Souffles (makes 6)
Recipe from French food

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/16 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter 6 individual soufflé ramekins and sprinkle with sugar; set aside.

2. Melt chocolate pieces in a metal bowl over barely simmering water, constantly stirring. (Even a small amount of overheated chocolate will ruin an entire recipe.) Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir in the egg yolks.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt on medium high speed until they hold soft glossy peaks. Continue beating egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until the egg whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

4. Gently stir 1/3 of the eggs whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. The chocolate mixture should be light and bubbly, and even colored, without egg white streaks.

5. Spoon your soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins and allow to rest for up to 30 minutes or bake right away for 12 – 15 minutes (slightly longer at high altitudes) until risen with a crusty exterior. Serve with a dusting of cocoa or powdered sugar if desired.

Just to show you the awful dribbly souffle:


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