french fridays with dorie: cheese soufflé

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was Cheese Soufflé. I’m not sure I even ate a cheese soufflé before. I know I never made one. However, eggs and cheese are two things I love, so in spite of the intimidation factor that goes along with souffle, I was excited about the challenge.

Whenever you read about soufflé, there are a multitude of warnings about avoiding big thumps in the kitchen while it’s baking and being sure the diners are seated before you take it out of the oven. Couple that with the fact that I always find beating egg whites downright scary. I’m never sure about the distinctions between the different descriptions of “doneness”. For this recipe, I wish there had been a video version.

I had a soufflé dish, but it was smaller than the one called for. That was OK because it was just the two of us for dinner and I knew leftovers weren’t going to keep for this one. So I made two-thirds of the recipe.

First, you make a béchamel sauce, which was something I’m comfortable with. Dorie has you strain the sauce which I did, but thought was an overly-fussy step that I will skip next time. Then you beat in the egg yolks and stir in the cheese. Now it’s time for the scary eggs. I used the stand mixer and beat them until I thought they were firm, but still glossy. Then it’s time to fold the egg whites into the mixture. I still had some white bits showing but Dorie said that’s better than overmixing.

Now, the soufflé goes into the oven. Here’s where I went a little off track. I was making a smaller soufflé, but I wasn’t sure how the adjust the baking time. Mine was smaller, though obviously bigger than the individually sized ones on the next page in the cookbook which cook for 25 minutes. I baked mine for about 25 minutes and then carefully opened the oven to check.

Bella Admires My Souffle

The top was a gorgeous golden brown, and it seemed firm but slightly jiggly. So, I thought it was done. I quickly spooned it onto waiting plates. Oops! Only the top two-thirds of the soufflé was perfectly cooked. The bottom third was still runny. How to recover? Pop the remaining mixture back into the oven to at least cook for another 10 minutes, and immediately sit down to eat the cooked part.

Despite my timing mishap, we deemed the soufflé a success. It wasn’t as difficult or time-consuming as I had assumed. It was also delicious. I might be going out on a limb, but I actually could see making this on a weeknight. With a simple arugula salad, this was an elegant supper.

This is one reason I participant in this group. What a pleasant surprise to discover something so frightening at the outset was highly doable! I’m thrilled. Click here to see what my fellow Doristas are up to with their cheese soufflés.

We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Next week we’re making Cocoa Sables, an amazing cookie that even a non-chocoholic like me adores.

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Posted on 16 March 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. First of all, Bella is a beauty!
    I agree – things like this are EXACTLY the reason I wanted to join FFwD. Definitely needed that extra push to try things outside of my comfort zone. (The unexpected bonus was all the amazing people that came with it).
    Yeah on your first souffle!

  2. I’m glad you deemed it a success, and that Bella had fun looking at it!

  3. cheers to your first souffle!

  4. Betsy, So glad you enjoyed this and that you were able to rescue it! It certainly looks wonderful…and you’ve learned for the next time! Nicely done!

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one. Hubby and I did also. Not terribly difficult,
    and when finished, such an accomplishment. Glad you salvaged the
    rest of the dish.

  6. I skipped the straining step, and I agree with you that it’s unnecessary–at least for home cooking. I wouldn’t have guessed that you could just put the souffle back in the oven and it’d be fine!

  7. I love your Bella! My Sammi loved the cheese souffle.

  8. I actually had trouble with the timing of this one as well. I have made souffle before in my little individual ramekins, so I just set these in the oven for the same amount of time as before, but like you, they were not done and had to go back in the oven. Oh well, they tasted good in the end. So happy that yours turned out so well, that really is one of the best parts of FFwD, discovering new recipes & techniques.

  9. Betsy, your souffle looks beautiful! Well done! I am glad to hear that you feel this is doable. I have never made one before and am looking forward to making this sometime soon. John has banned me from the kitchen this week because I have a cold, but the congestion is getting better so I hope to be back in it sometime this weekend. I love the photo of Bella supervising. :)

  10. Nicely done. I’m so jealous that you can pop into Flour! We’re thinking of traveling to Boston in the fall, so I’ll have to go there – the coolest thing is that Joanne tweeted a link to my post!

    Have a great weekend.

  11. Your Bella was eying that soufflé in exactly the way that our dog would have! She’s lovely.

    I probably would never have made a soufflé, but for this group. I love how working through the book is stretching my expectations of myself and getting me to try new things.

  12. Betsy, I think Bella is saying, You have GOT to be kidding. Did she actually think I would like this?” Yes, Bella, it is a dog’s life but, if you’re allowed to roam in the kitchen, you’ve got a pretty good life. Some kitchens are off-limits to bow-wows. (Not mine, of course) Your soufflé was terrific, beautiful, looked yummy and you’re right, I haven’t made a soufflé for such a long time. Love Dorie and love FFWD. Mary Hirsch http://www.lightsonbrightnobrakes.com/

  13. That is such a cute photo of the interested family member!

  14. Glad you saved your souffle. I had a couple of my mini size souffles left for the next mornings breakfast. I put them into the oven thinking I would just warm them for a few seconds. I had to smile as I watched them puff right back up. Kinda like blowing up a balloon…I think your souffle looks great.

  15. Love your sweet pup! Mine is always underfoot when she hears me clanking around dishes :) I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, too…and salvaged the underdone portion so perfectly~

  16. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with the under-cooking problem! Yours looks beautiful, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I agree, this could almost replace the omelet in my weeknight repertoire :-)

  17. I am so glad to see you have such attentive help in the kitchen. The soufle looks fabulous!

  18. I’d call it a success too! It’s gorgeous!

  19. I ended up with the bottom part of my souffle undercooked too, but I wasn’t quick on my feet enough to think about putting it back in the oven. This one was fun to make and yours looks great. You are brave to try reducing the recipe!

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