The spectacle of a puffed, golden soufflé conveyed with care and pride from oven to table to be admired with “Oohs!” and “Aahs!”, as if the cook had produced, by some mysterious act of alchemy, a flight of snow-white doves, or Old King Coles’ pie baked with ‘five and twenty singing blackbirds’, is a triumph every good cook should experience. If you can beat an egg white, you can make a soufflé.
Confidence, and proper technique is all that you need for this virtually no-fail undertaking, which is a short-cut to the usual method of first having to cook a time-consuming béchamel base into which is folded the stiff egg whites and sundry other fillings. Instead, one takes a detour past the béchamel, using instead a base of sour cream and flour. Brilliant! A method which, if you opt for a cheese soufflé, requires only one cooking method: baking.
This elegant dish can be served as a main course for lunch, side dish for dinner or reheated for breakfast, as my husband often eats it. Whichever way you make or serve it, you are sure to gain accolades, satisfaction and a new appreciation of the humble egg.
Level of difficulty: easy
1 cup shredded cheese, such as Cheddar, Swiss, Emmenthal, Gouda (try some of the smoked varieties)
if making only a cheese soufflé, use 2 cups cheese and 2 tbsp. chopped chives
1 cup (1 250 ml. tub) of regular sour cream (not low fat)
¼ cup and 1tbsp. flour
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. each of: cayenne, dry mustard
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup of breadcrumbs or grated Parmesan cheese
Optional Fillings: (choose one of the following)
1 ¼ cups of cooked, minced:
spinach ( squeezed dry)
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and coat with crumbs or parmesan, a 1.6 litre soufflé dish.
In a large bowl, whisk sour cream and flour together until mixture is the consistency of stiff icing (add a little more flour if needed). Add egg yolks one at a time, whisking after each addition, stir in seasonings, 1 cup cheese and desired filling. In a medium bowl, beat egg-whites until soft peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold egg-whites into sour cream mixture. Pour batter into the prepared soufflé dish and bake on the centre rack for approx. 1 ¼ hours until the soufflé has risen 2 inches above the rim, is golden and slightly firm in the centre. Serve immediately, the soufflé will fall slightly.
This recipe is contributed by Loretta White, a food columnist based-in Chester, Nova Scotia. To read more of Loretta's recipes visit Food for Thought at www.southshoreclipper.com.
Complementary Wines: Pinot Noir
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