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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

orangette's gruyere souffle (AKA julia child's everyday souffle)

gruyere souffle

I recently purchased the May issue of Bon Appetit magazine to read on a flight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have a new featured column by Molly Wizenberg, who writes the wonderful Orangette blog. I love how she tells a story when describing an experience with a certain food, and then transitions into a specific recipe -- so captivating. Anyway, she presents her modified version of Julia Child's "everyday souffle" recipe, which of course I had to try myself. It wasn't quite as easy as Molly claims, but her reassurances made me want to try it in the first place, so I don't mind being oversold a tiny bit. As far as souffles go, it's as simple as they get -- just gruyere cheese mixed into the base.

Grocery list: whole milk, 4 egg yolks, 5 egg whites, grated parmesan, butter, AP flour, paprika, nutmeg, gruyere cheese.

prepping souffle base

Make the egg yolk base first. Start by heating 1 cup of whole milk in a small saucepan over low heat (just to get it warm and steaming -- not boiling). In a medium heavy saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 3 T flour and whisk until it foams, about 3 minutes. Don't let it brown. Remove the pan from heat, and pour in the warm milk, whisking till it's smooth. Return to medium heat and continue to cook and whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes.
souffle base

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Add yolks one at a time, whisking in between to blend each one. Scrape all of the souffle base into a large bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm.
mixing whites and batter

Next, you beat the 5 egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer for a few minutes until stiff peaks form (you'll know when they are stiff peaks by shutting off the mixer and pulling the beater out of the whites, and if little sharp peaks form that don't fall over, the whites are perfect -- I found it took about 3 minutes). Fold one quarter of the whites into the base. Add 1 cup of coarsely grated gruyere, then fold in the rest of the whites in 2 separate batches.

prepping souffle dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the pan by buttering a 6-cup souffle dish, then add 2 T grated parmesan cheese. Rotate the pan around so the parmesan clings to all the butter in the bottom and on the sides of the pan.
souffle batter

Pour the batter into the dish, place in the bottom third of the oven, and immediately turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, till the top is golden brown and the souffle has risen and only the center moves slightly when the dish is shaken. **Do not open the oven door or disturb the souffle at all in the first 20 minutes. For the explanation of why this is important, you'll have to read Molly's interesting article...

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