Soufflés might sound intimidating but that could be further from the truth. Likewise, I initially felt that way before I made my first one and then two, three, etc. Surprisingly, they are actually pretty easy and so versatile and you can even make them sweet or savory.
Soufflés are generally lightened desserts that get their air like qualities from egg whites. And when baked, rises to a beautiful dessert that makes for an amazing presentation! However, one thing about soufflés is, they must be presented right out of the oven because they will collapse quickly. Also, they are not something you can make and heat and serve, due to their instability.
Truly, they are beautiful pieces of food art once they rise to full capacity and come out of the oven. Really is a sight and will generate much excitement!
The Art of Soufflés
Generally, soufflés are made from a custard where egg whites are folded in, this makes for their light texture. Flavor components and items are added to the custard to make it either savory or sweet.
Ideas for flavorings of souffles:
- Finely chopped herbs or vegetables
The air that results from the folding of the egg whites expands when baking and creates that light and fluffy appearance and taste. Souffles will rise just above the rim of the baking containers they are baked in.
Ramekins make a great vessel for soufflés and also for great individual servings.
Standard Ingredients for a Basic Souffle
Typically your foundational ingredients for a souffle are:
- Egg Yolks
- Egg Whites
- Cream of Tartar
Those are the components required for soufflés. Many other items and flavorings can be added to create savory and sweet version of your favorite soufflé.
Typically, this is the process for creating a standard soufflé:
- Egg yolks and sugar are whipped till thick
- Additional items are added to this mixture like herbs, cheese, chocolate, juices, etc.
- Egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar are whipped to form stiff peaks
- Egg whites are folded into the egg yolks mixture in three portions
- Mixture is placed into ramekins for baking
Keys for Successful Souffles
- Egg whites need to be at room temperature before they are whipped
- No trace of egg yolks should be present, this will hinder the whites from whipping to their full potential
- Egg whites whipped till stiff peaks
- Egg whites should be folded in to the custard in thirds
- Butter and sugar the ramekins well before pouring in the soufflé mixture, butter and parmesan for a savory version
- Once batter is placed in ramekins, run your finger around the rim of the ramekin. This allows the soufflé to rise perfectly and gives it the release to rise to its full potential.
My pastry chef instructor in culinary school shared with me that last tip about running your finger around the rim. I have found that was one of best tips I have received! Thank you Chef!
Soufflés can be made up to the point of where you place in the oven, then refrigerated a few hours before baking. I have tried this both with savory and sweet soufflés and they both came out awesome! This allows for some great planning and timing.
Soufflé Ideas-Sweet and Savory
Now that you have the basics of soufflés let me share with you some fun ideas for both sweet and savory.
First, is a traditional chocolate soufflé that is very basic and just fantastic. It is light and chocolatey and just amazing. Perfect dessert for a summer dessert.
Orange soufflés are loaded with fresh orange juice and zest and baked up to golden brown. These are super light and pack a fresh punch of orange freshness in your mouth.
Cheddar Chive Onion Soufflés
This savory version is one of my favorites to make! I LOVE how they rise up so beautifully and will make an awesome presentation to your family and guests. Cheddar cheese and chives are added to create that savory version of this fun culinary creation!!
Check out my other posts on the Pastry 101 series.