foray into the soufflé.

Edith Piaf was French & beautiful. Her connection to this post is tenuous, but I love her, so here's a photo.

See! I just made a little rhyme that barely makes sense. I’m procrastinating on starting the soufflé because Mastering The Art of French Cooking’s soufflé chapter contains a section entitled “Warnings,” and it’s written in a dire tone that caused my hope and eagerness to turn to fear.

“Egg whites will not mount properly if they contain particles of egg yolk, or if either bowl or beater is oily or greasy. Any of these elements interfere with the action of the egg whites in forming and sustaining those all-important air bubbles.”

Mounting? All-important air bubbles? Let the intimidation begin. According to bloggers, altitude also plays a role. I’m not far above sea level, but I’ve never thought about my elevation unless I was climbing a mountain. Perhaps French cuisine requires more chemistry knowledge than I acquired in high school. [I almost wrote that a soufflé is a metaphorical mountain, but you are too smart for that, and so am I.]

I’m making Soufflé Aux Épinards (Spinach Soufflé). I’m also adding cheese because cheese is always amazing in soufflés, so I suppose the proper title might be something like Soufflé Au Fromage et Aux Épinards. I don’t speak French, so please correct me or mock my version accordingly.

I can’t find Julia Child’s recipe online, and to type it up would require both a willingness to do so and a disregard for copyright laws. You’ll find a recipe for a cheese soufflé & a spinach soufflé in Mastering The Art of French Cooking. I’ve decided where the two recipes intersect and am combining them.

If you don’t have the book  or you don’t want to buy it (maybe you even hate soufflés!), here’s a version of her recipe via Chubby Vegetarian, which is exactly what I’ll become if I continue this foray into the world of French cuisine much longer.  xo, m

P.S. An Edith Piaf song is embedded below. Listen to it as you eat your soufflé and celebrate your culinary genius. : )

Soufflé Au Fromage et Aux Épinards

Credit owed to the link above. My soufflé is currently in the oven; this woman's is probably far prettier.

Butter, room temperature, for greasing the souffle
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups milk, hot
4 large egg yolks (2 1/2 ounces by weight)
6 ounces sharp Cheddar
3/4 cup chopped spinach
5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water (5 1/2 ounces by weight plus 1/2 ounce water)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch souffle mold. (This is perhaps my first misstep; I’m using a porcelain dish, which Julia doesn’t bash. So I think it’ll be okay.) Add the grated Parmesan and roll around the mold to cover the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter. Allow all of the water to cook out.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Whisk this mixture into the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until glossy and firm. Add 1/4 of the mixture to the base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.
Pour the mixture into the souffle. Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.


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