The Secrets to Souffle (Sweet & Savory)

Surely one of life’s greatest treats, a perfect soufflé should emerge from the oven puffed up like a pillow with a golden crown and luxuriously soft middle. Many a tales have been told about how tricky it is to master, but the secrets of soufflé-making is really not that hard.

Souffles are made by folding in stiffly whipped egg whites into a well seasoned egg mixture, then baked until risen and light & fluffy.  Souffles can be the star on the plate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Sweet or Savory these delightful and versatile egg dishes are a must have in your culinary repertoire.

First we must learn some key tips to perfecting your souffle….

  1. Prepare your souffle dish properly using a pastry brush (or finger) coat the bottom and sides of the ramekins with softened (not melted) butter, using upward strokes.

  2. Lightly and evenly dust the butter with sugar for a sweet souffle and salted flour for savory. Shaking out any excess, and chill the ramekins in the fridge to set. This gives the souffles something to grip on to as the batter climbs up the sides of the ramekins during the baking process.

  3. Use a very clean bowl for beating egg whites; any trace of grease hinders the formation of peaks. Room temperature whites beat faster and more easily than whites straight from the fridge. Be careful not to overbeat; otherwise the whites won’t incorporate into the chocolate base. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the base in two batches until just incorporated.

  4. Souffles wait for no one, so make sure your guests are seated when you pull yours from the oven. Be gentle as you set down and once the trapped air starts to cool,they will begin to shrink and deflate.



Serving Size 6

  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature (for ramekins)
  • 6 TBSP superfine sugar, divided plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher slat
  • 5 oz semi sweet or bitter sweet chocolate (60-65%)
  • 2 Tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 large egg whites
  • powdered sugar
  • lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter ramekins and lightly dust with fine sugar. Chill. Place milk in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and let milk steep. Discard the bean from the milk mixture. Using an electric mixer on high speed beat yolks and 3 TBSP of sugar in medium bowl until slightly thickened and pale yellow about three minutes. Beat in flour and salt. Gradually beat in half of vanilla milk. Whisk egg mixture into remaining vanilla milk in saucepan. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, over medium heat. Cook, stiring constantly until souffle base is thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer souffle base to a large bowl.

Combine chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl, set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the souffle base.

Using an electric mixture with clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy about 1 minute. With machine running, gradually add remaining three TBSP of sugar. Continue beating meringue until semi-firm, glossy peaks form about 6-7 minutes. Gently stir in ¼ of the egg white mixture into the souffle base to lighten, then gently fold in remaining meringue in 2 additions. Fill ramekins ¾ full.

Bake until centers are just set and souffles are puffed, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar, Serve immediately, with a dollop of whipped cream.


Savory Souffle

Serves 3

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Melt the butter, add flour, milk, simmer. Season . Temper the yolks into the bechamel, cool to room temp. Stir in about .5-.75 cups of shredded cheese

Whipped whites until stiff (cream of tarter helps)

Fold into the bechamel/egg mixture using 1/3 of whites at a time

Divide into buttered souffle dishes/one dish. Bake until puffed, then drop the temperature down to 375 if making one big souffle. Should take about 12-15 minutes for small individual ramekins and 30 minutes for one big souffle.

A savory souffle can vary to your individual preferences through the use of a good melting cheese like gruyere, or parmesan, or a creamy blue cheese. You can also add other ingredients to add texture and additional flavor to your dish like sauteed leeks, shallots, garlic,  crisp bacon, chives, fresh herbs, or pureed vegetables. The ratio of these ingredients should be around ¼ of your souffle mixture.

Bon Appetit!


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