Last Christmas, my mom gave me a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine. I love learning about food, and I love mail, so... win-win. The latest issue's (April 2012) feature was on eggs, and there were at least 4 recipes starring eggs, if I remember correctly. One of those was a "light, airy, and decadently cheesy" souffle that was calling my name. Cheese? Yes please.
Key ingredients, clockwise from left: Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and buttahhh....
An elemental step in making a souffle is whisking the egg whites. Make sure your bowl is squeaky clean, and don't overbeat them. You want a noticeable peak when you lift the beater out, but not a firm peak.
The other key step in making a souffle is creating a bechamel sauce as the base. Whisk, whisk, whisk...
Add the flour and whisk some more! There is a certain turning point when the heat and motion are just right, and a sauce suddenly thickens. It's like magic.
Pour your nutmeg-scented bechamel into a bowl and press plastic wrap into the top. This prevents a skin from forming.
Remember those eggs up above? The yolks get slightly beaten (in a good way!) and stirred into the bechamel. Then the whites get whipped (my, we have violent kitchens, don't we?) and gently folded into the sauce as well, to make everything airy and light.
Poured into buttered, Parmesan-dusted ramekins and ready for the oven after getting another sprinkle of cheese on top. Nobody can have enough cheese.
Yes, they will fall. It's the nature of a souffle. But they aren't embarrassed and neither should you be - you just made a cheesy, delicious side (or breakfast, as the case may be.... ahem)!
I was disappointed that my souffles overflowed so much, but that was probably my own fault for over-filling the ramekins! I also substituted a few of the ingredients. This really was a great souffle recipe, and I think I will keep it around. It should be good, considering it came from Michel Richard, of [enter some fancy restaurant in D.C.]. You can find the full recipe at Bon Appetit.