Yes, I’m confused, too. Soufflé is a French dish, so why us silly Americans have adopted it as a “National” day is kinda wonked the eff up. However, ’tis fact and a fact that should be observed? I’m going with “sure” on this one.
The English translation of “soufflé” is “blow.” In fact, one of the best films of all time is Jean-Luc Godard‘s À Bout de Soufflé which literally translates to “at last breath,” but the English know the film as: Breathless. It stars Jean Seberg, whom many of us have already established as a style icon. Seberg and her gorgeousness aside, having seen À Bout de Soufflé several times as a kid, I always associated my mother’s attempts at a soufflé as a “breathless” situation. You bake the cake of eggs, put it in the oven and when you remove it, you hope for the best. In other words, you hold your breath and hope your soufflé doesn’t collapse. While my mother’s always stood tall, my sister’s attempts failed, as did mine — the one time I pretended to be domestic.
However, as a gal who’s almost mostly French (read: 80%, give or take), I’m not done with my attempts at mastering the soufflé. If Jennifer can figure out potatoes and Brussels sprouts and her personal version of The Smith’s tomato soup, then there is hope for the rest of us. In honor of both National Cheese Soufflé Day, and hopefully an inspiration from our own beloved Ms. Wright, here’s a moderately simple cheese soufflé recipe. If you try it out, let me know. Better yet, mail samples stat.
Side note: this is courtesy of Alton Brown from the Food Network:
- Butter, room temperature, for greasing the soufflé
- 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
- 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 soufflé mold. 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 soufflé. Fill the soufflé to 1/2-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.