Puff the Magic Egg

Souffle
Okay. I didn’t have it in me too make the souffle on Friday night. I was pooped from the luncheon. So we had leftover delight. L & J were definitely disappointed.

I made it up to them last night. For the first Saturday in a long time, we were home. Just the four of us. I rented a movie and I made the souffle and the artichokes. The artichokes from our garden do not have huge scooping leaves like regular ones. I’m not sure why, because they are globe artichokes. Nonetheless, they were delicious and had huge hearts. I cut 3 more from the artichoke plant yesterday. We’ll eat those this week. As usual, S and I had ours straight and the girls dipped their artichokes in melted butter. I snagged some of J’s butter for my heart (no pun intended!).

As for the souffle, it was wonderful. I hadn’t made one in years (not since we had a souffle night with some very close friends – probably 6 or 7 years ago!) and had planned to make the Molly Wizenberg recipe from Bon Appetit. I’m not sure why I whimped out on that one. I read some reviews on Epicurious and they were relatively mixed. It is so hard to tell, especially with a recipe for something that people don’t have a lot of experience cooking, whether it is the recipe or the cook. And, while I trust the Orangette blogger, I decided to try an old standby from the era when souffle-making was relatively commonplace: The New York Times Cookbook (1961 edition). I also thought that the girls would like cheddar better than gruyere – though they love quiche made with gruyere.

This recipe was simple to prepare, puffed beautifully, and was really delicious. As S predicted, it was rich. As I hoped, it was not heavy.
Fresh ArtichokesSalad
My camera battery was completely empty yesterday. I used J’s (or L’s?) camera to take what few photos I could before that battery died, too. The fates were not with me, at least in the camera department. The picture of the souffle is not that crisp, but is just clear enough so that you can tell that my oven needs to be cleaned.

Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll do that this week!

Here is the recipe that I used.

Cheese Souffle
adapted from The New York Times Cookbook, 1961 ed.

4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
pinch salt
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
dash Tobasco
4 eggs, room temperature, separated
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (not convection). Butter a two quart souffle dish, then sprinkle grated parmesan cheese in it, as you would if you were flouring a baking pan. This helps the souffle “climb” the sides of the dish.

In a saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour and stir with a whisk until well blended and there are no lumps. Meanwhile heat the milk to a simmer and then add all at once to the butter and flour mixture, whisking vigorously, over medium heat, until there are no lumps and the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the worchestershire sauce and the cayenne, and a pinch of salt, if desired.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring until it is melted. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and stir until each one is fully incorporated. Let cool a few minutes.

While the cheese mixture is cooling, beat your egg whites with the cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks. Be careful not to over beat the eggs or they will become dry.

Fold half of the whipped egg whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is well browned. Serve immediately!

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