A Day of Soufflé

20 Sep

The only request I had for my Parisian cooking classes was to not be sent back to Canada without learning to make soufflé. So quintessentially French, and one of my favorite desserts (I had only ever tried chocolate until our lesson), I felt that my culinary growth wouldn’t be complete without mastering this notoriously tricky dish. Well, I definitely got what I asked for, because on Monday we spent the entire day perfecting three different types of soufflé: cheese, chocolate, and a strawberry one that doesn’t contain any flour.

A basic soufflé recipe isn’t all that complex, it’s the techniques that one must grasp so that the finished product doesn’t fall flat as soon as you take it out of the oven.

Firstly, the egg whites must be beaten until they are perfectly fluffy. You must also fold them with your creamy mix ever so slightly, so that you don’t deflate your efforts (both figuratively and literally). Finally, you must make sure the soufflé is cooked for the precise amount of time and served immediately upon completion.

I also learned that a traditional French soufflé is much runnier than what we’re accustomed to in North America. Just like the yolks of a Parisian poached egg, the center of the soufflé must be almost uncooked so that it becomes a pseudo-sauce for each glorious bite.

Another interesting fact is that a French soufflé is also traditionally baked in larger dishes as opposed to the individual ramekins many of us are used to seeing. The soufflé is then served on the separate plates of individuals so that they can take as much or as little as they want.

 All three were absolutely unbelievable, but I have to say, I don’t think I’ll make a habit of an all-soufflé meal as I was left wanting a pinch more protein and a tad more fiber.

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