From Academic Kids

A soufflé is a light, fluffy baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means "to blow up" or more loosely "puff up" - an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites. Every soufflé is made from 2 basic components: 1) a base of flavored cream sauce or purée and 2) beaten egg whites. The base provides the flavor and the whites provide the "lift". Common varieties include cheese, chocolate, and lemon (the last two made as desserts, with a good deal of sugar).

Soufflé is considered a great delicacy. When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé is generally very large and fluffy, and will 'fall' after 20 or 30 minutes (as risen dough does). For best results, soufflé should be eaten quickly, while hot and before it falls.

Souffle can be made in containers of all shapes and sizes, but the best are tall cylindrical containers which conduct heat well. It is traditional to make souffle in "souffle cups" or ramekins.


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1. Preheat the oven. 2. Butter dish (and collar, if using). 3. Sprinkle dish with sugar, breadcrumbs or cheese, depending on your recipe. 4. Cook the base - usually a béchamel or Mornay sauce - then add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking well. 5. Correct seasoning. Your base should be highly seasoned because the egg whites are bland. 6. Beat the egg whites and fold 1/4 of them into the warm (not hot) base to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whites. 7. Cook the soufflé on the lowest rack. After one or two tries, this whole process should take less than an hour.

What can go wrong?

Many times it is the egg whites that seem to cause the trouble. First, you must have a perfectly clean bowl and beaters. Make sure the whites are at room temperature before beating. With an electric beater, start on slow speed until they begin to foam. Slowly, increase the speed and when they look smooth, shiny and hold a soft peak, stop. If you've gone too far and they appear grainy and clump together, add another white and rebeat.

Another problem is a leathery crust, which is caused when the soufflé is baked in the middle of the oven rather than on the lowest rack.

WARNING. It may be difficult or impossible to cook a soufflé long enough to ensure that any bacteria in the eggs have beené


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