Saturday, January 11, 2014

52WoC Week 1: Eggs - Vanilla Soufflé

The soufflé. According to TV tropes far and away the most difficult dish in the world. Arthur's dad spent years perfecting his soufflé only to have it RUINED by Arthur and DW while chasing Pal. The soufflé's difficulty is legendary and being raised on TV, I simply assumed it was impossible. So when Nate convinced me to take part in Reddit's 52 Weeks of Cooking and I saw the first week was eggs, I knew I had to go for the gold. It also just so happens that my girlfriend just gifted me brand new ramekins; soufflé was simply a no brainer.

So to make my first soufflé I went to the biggest and baddest and consulted Jacques Pépin's literature. When I got there, I realized the soufflé is all hype; in reality it's not that difficult. Essentially combining an egg custard with whipped egg whites and bake. That's it. I was shocked. What I thought was the ultimate test of a chef, was so straightforward. I trudged forwarded, followed the recipe, and ended up with delicious vanilla soufflés. They were light and airy with just enough sweetness for a great dessert. When I started thinking about this post I had all these ideas to compare it to climbing Everest or collecting all the state quarters but it was just so simple that I had to scrap all of it. Being honest though, I still warned my roommates if they made any loud noises, I would go Patrick Bateman on them.

Bastardized version of Jacques Pépin's Chocolate Soufflé.
Qty Ingredient Procedure
5 egg whites
  1. Start by whipping the whites to a medium peak. You should be able to create a peak but it doesn't stay completely rigid like a corpse. Again, definitely use some sort of egg beater or other machine to do this. Whipping this by hand will work out your forearms - hard.
1/3 cup sugar
  1. Combine the sugar, vanilla, corn starch, and yolks in a bowl that can withstand higher temperatures.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
2 tsp vanilla extract1
2 tbsp corn starch
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
  1. Put your milk over medium heat to bring to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, you're not looking to get this to a boil.
  2. Once your milk is simmering, add a little bit of the milk to the yolks while vigorously stirring the the mixture. This is called tempering2. Put the pot of milk back over medium heat. Stir vigorously while adding the now tempered yolk mixture back into the pot. Stir constantly until the mixture seems to suddenly thicken and starts to sputter.
  3. Now temper your egg whites with this custard mixture. Stir the whites while slowly adding the rest of the custard mixture.
  4. Butter four 1-cup ramekins. Pour the mixture into each ramekin, leaving about 1/2 inch of an edge. Place the ramekins on baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until they have puffed up and are brown on top. Serve immediately

  1. I didn't have vanilla bean but the bean could be split in half and then used to infuse the custard 
  2. Tempering is the process of slowly bringing up the heat of an egg mixture to avoid scrambling it. If you put all the hot liquid into the eggs in one go, you'll like end up with scrambled eggs and a grainy texture 

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