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The fluffiest soufflé

The fluffiest soufflé

29 Oct 2013 BY Dominique Wells

From the beautifully illustrated book 'A Little Taste of France' (Murdoch Books). Each title in this series is both a cookbook and a photographic essay of people and places. The series encapsulates the flavours of the world's most exciting and popular cuisines and explores the colourful settings in which food is sourced, cooked and enjoyed. Each book contains a selection of authentic recipes suitable for the home cook.

Soufflés are notoriously difficult to get just right, so try this fool-proof recipe.

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1½ tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
350 g (12 oz) courgettes, chopped
125 ml (½ cup) milk
30 g (1 oz) butter
30 g (¼ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
85 g (3 oz) Gruyère or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
4 eggs, separated

Brush a 1.5 litre (6-cup) soufflé dish with the melted butter, then tip the breadcrumbs into the dish. Rotate the dish to coat the side completely with the breadcrumbs. Tip out the excess breadcrumbs.

Cook the courgettes in boiling water for 8 minutes until tender. Drain, then put the courgettes in a food processor with the milk and mix until smooth. Alternatively, mash the courgettes with the milk, then press it through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes over low heat without allowing the roux to brown. Remove from the heat and add the courgette purée, stirring until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour into a bowl, add the cheese and spring onions and season well. Mix until smooth, then beat in the egg yolks until smooth again.

Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until they form soft peaks. Spoon a quarter of the egg white onto the soufflé mixture and quickly, but lightly, fold it in, to loosen the mixture. Lightly fold in the remaining egg white. Pour into the soufflé dish and run your thumb around the inside rim of the dish, about 2 cm (¾ inch) into the soufflé mixture (try not to wipe off the butter and breadcrumbs). This ridge helps the soufflé to rise without sticking.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the soufflé is well risen and wobbles slightly when tapped. Test with a skewer through a crack in the side of the soufflé. The skewer should come out clean or slightly moist. If the skewer is slightly moist, by the time the soufflé makes it to the table, it will be cooked in the centre. Serve immediately.