Sunday, November 14, 2010
Daring Cooks Nov 2010 Soufflé
This month's challenge is soufflé yeah and this was a fabulous challenge.
Blog-checking lines: Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
Gorgonzola, Watercress, Oyster Sauce and Garlic Soufflé
I never have made soufflés before so I thought this challenge was going to be fun and very educational for me. And the challenge was announced 17:30 Sydney local time so plenty of time to make it before the light fails.
I just had to make the watercress soufflé but I thought that I would make some changes to make the flavour profile very strong and tasty. I added one tablespoon of oyster sauce (I used one tablespoon less milk) and I substituted the parmesan cheese for gorgonzola cheese (a type of very tangy blue cheese). I also coated the soufflé dishes with oil spray and garlic powder which worked out really well.
The egg whites I strengthened with cream of tartar and powdered egg whites – the same method I use to stabilise egg whites for macarons.
The procedure was simple so long as you are organised and have everything ready to go. I was fairly rough and ready with whipping the yolks and egg whites but still the soufflé rose very well.
I experimented with two methods of cleaning the unbaked mixture from the baking dishes. See below for the results.
These soufflés are perfect for appetisers, they are very light, moist and bursting with flavour if anything they are too light I needed two to feel as if I was getting the correct amount to appreciate the dish. I was very surprised that the side and tops of the soufflé were crisp and thin this was a delightful contrast to the sort moist interiors.
I got six 1 cup soufflés from the recipe.
Oil spray the soufflé dish and use some garlic powder to line them, this produced a wondrously brown and thin crisp crust on the soufflé sides. I didn't refrigerate them neither I was lazy.
All of the soufflé ingredients folded together notice some small lumps of stiff egg whites, there is no need to fold everything totally together.
Straight out of the oven. I preheated the oven to hot 220°C (430°F) and used a baking tray and when I placed the unbaked soufflé I lowered the temperature to 180°C (350°F) the initial high temperature and the heated baking tray really gives that extra lift to the soufflé and sets the crust on top so that the soufflé will have the maximum height.
The feather-light and moist interior.
Notice how brown, thin and crisp the sides of the baked soufflé are; the oil spray and garlic powder really worked out well.
Comparison of two methods of cleaning the soufflé dish of the unbaked mixture. On the left hand side I just levelled off the unbaked mixture and on the right hand side I cleaned the insides of the soufflé dish above the spooned out mixture of the oil and garlic powder. As you can see the right hand side raised as one whole mass so leading to a better top that was continuous, while the non-cleaned side had a more rustic look.
What happens to the soufflé after 5 minutes, they collapse but are still good.
Gorgonzola, Watercress and Oyster sauce Soufflé
Adapted from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen Watercress Soufflé recipe
White Roux Sauce
2 tablespoons 1 oz/30g butter
3½ tablespoons (55 ml) 1 oz/30g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup less 1 tablespoon (225ml) milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce
½ cup (120 ml) 2 oz/60g gorgonzola cheese, lightly mashed
1 cup (250ml) 2 oz/60g finely chopped de-stemmed watercress – about 1 bunch
Pepper to taste
Eggs for the soufflé
4 eggs, separated (large)
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) powdered egg whites
Soufflé dish lining ingredients
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1. Oil spray the soufflé dish(es) thoroughly, then sprinkle a small amount of garlic powder in each dish and tap so that the sides are evenly coated with the powder.
2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350˚F/180˚C/gas mark 4
3. Wash, de-stem and chop the watercress leaves. (The 2 oz (60 gm) weight is after de-stemming.)
4. Lightly mash the gorgonzola cheese
5. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook 1 minute, then add the milk, a little at a time, and stir until just thickened, about 1 minute. Add the oyster sauce then add the cheese and stir until it’s just melted. Remove from heat then add the watercress. Add pepper to taste.
6. In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes. (I held the bowl just above the simmering water to be sure I didn’t cook the eggs)
7. Mix the egg yolks into the watercress sauce.
8. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and powdered egg whites until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.
9. Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed, but you don’t lose too much volume.
10. Spoon the mix into the soufflé dish. Use a spatula to even the tops of the soufflés and wipe off any spills.
11. Bake 25 minutes for small dishes or 40 minutes if using a large soufflé dish, then serve immediately.
Gorgonzola, Watercress, Oyster Sauce and Garlic Soufflé again
I have been reading a lot of scientific articles on how and why soufflés rise, and after 20 (long and highly technical) articles I thought I would use this new-found knowledge to redo the savoury gorgonzola, watercress, oyster sauce and garlic soufflé I did in posting #1.
Some important points to get maximum lift to your soufflé
1. Whip the eggs whites to firm peaks this produces the smallest bubbles in the foam, these bubbles during cooking generate steam and the air in the foam expands causing the soufflé to rise. The smallest bubbles produce the biggest expansion so it is important to have stiff peaks.
2. Grease the soufflé dish since the egg whites will stick to the sides of the dish.
3. It is important to put soufflés into a hot oven so that they start cooking quickly.
4. When choosing the ingredients for the soufflé flavouring avoid using fats as far as possible since fats will collapse the small bubbles in the egg whites so causing less lift. That is avoiding fats is important since they tend to make the egg white foam collapse. We are all familiar with the foams made by soaps in, for example, washing up liquids or bubble baths. We also know that adding oils (or fats) causes the bubbles to disappear. When you beat egg whites you denature, or alter the structure of, the protein molecules so that they act in a way directly analogous to soaps. The bubbles formed by these denatured proteins when egg whites are beaten are similarly burst by any added oils or fats. Since foams are destroyed by the addition of fats or oils, an important item to look for in a list of ingredients for a soufflé is anything that contains fat. Avoiding fats is the simplest way to ensure a perfect soufflé. This includes the fats that are contained in the egg yolk; that is why, contrary to nearly all recipes I have seen in cookery books, it is not recommend adding the egg yolks back into the soufflé. If you do add the raw and beaten egg yolks they will start to collapse the foam, so that the soufflé will not rise as well, or may not rise at all. If using fats it is important that they are encapsulated (for example using a roux, cooking the yolks like a sabayon, techniques used in the challenge recipes) so the fat is not in direct contact with the egg white until they are set. Encapsulation of fats can be achieved by several means. The easiest way is to use a very stiff, almost solid, starch thickened sauce to surround the fat. A mixture of cocoa powder and cornflour is very suitable for chocolate, while cornflour on its own is acceptable for cheeses. Or add the fat in grated form into the mixture which ensures that the egg whites are set before the grated fat melts. That is two methods can be employed, either add the solid fatty ingredient in a finely grated form to a nearly set sauce (like chocolate), or add the fatty food and corn-flour to the hot sauce and beat really hard while the sauce cools to divide the fat into fine droplets that solidify and are coated by the sauce. So it best to use cornstarch to thicken purées try to avoid rouxs since the butter can escape if not cooked enough.
One interesting point is that the amount of flavouring can be increased to almost three times the amount of egg whites (by weight), since the lifting power of the egg whites isn't compromised by fat.
Therefore the lightest soufflés with the maximum lift will be those that are basically beaten egg whites with sugar and a stiff purée (of fruit or vegetable) thickened with cornflour and skim milk, notice there is no fat in any of the ingredients. (For an example see recipe above this post message #20 by sarahj, non-fat pumpkin soufflé superb lift and so light looking. Notice we use only 5 egg whites to 6 tablespoons of pumpkin purée, the lifting power of egg whites without fats is stunning! )
So in our savoury soufflé example the best way to encapsulated cheese is to melt about 200 g cheese with 2 tablespoons/30 ml water (or skim milk), once it is all melted add 20 g/3 heaped tablespoons cornflour, sifted made into a paste with a little cold water. I added some more skim milk since it looked so stiff. Beat vigorously and continue to heat until the mixture thickens (and starts to bubble). Remove from the heat and keep beating (in a food processor or with a power whisk if available) until the mixture is cool and the fat has set. Fold this mixture into the beaten six egg whites and cook in the usual way. In a fat encapsulated soufflé, the egg whites will cook before any fats are released so producing an impressive cheese soufflé.
So I redid the savoury soufflé using these principles, the melted cheese and cornflour mixture is astoundingly stiff I thought it wouldn't it work but I was proved wrong. The soufflé does take a lot longer to bake about 30 mins but it is easy to eyeball the correct time by noting the colour of the top of the soufflé.
Comparison of the soufflés on the left-hand-side the fats used in the recipe have been totally encapsulated using a thick starch during cooking. You really need a collar if you are going to use this recipe, I guessimate I achieved a lift of three times the original height!
Gorgonzola, Watercress, Oyster Sauce and Garlic Soufflé using the starch encapsulation method
This posting is not meant to be a criticism of the challenge recipes in fact this post explains the processes that Dave and Linda used.
1. Why do we cook the egg yolks like a sabayon – this stops the yolk fats dispersing the egg white bubbles.
2. Why do use only equal weight of fat flavouring ingredients to egg whites – since we haven't encapsulated the fat (to the maximum extent) the decreased amount of flavouring ingredients ensures minimal fat infiltration into the egg whites therefore maximising lift.
3. Why do we make a roux – a combination of cooked flour and butter (a roux) helps to encapsulate the fat of the flavouring ingredients, therefore ensuring maximal lift of the egg whites.
Golden Syrup Roasted Beetroot and Chilli Chocolate Soufflé
My favourite cake is beetroot and chilli chocolate so I thought I would do that flavour profile in soufflé form. I used a minimum of fat in the recipe, and followed the principles I researched to produce the recipe below. The beetroot cannot be tasted it adds a deep base of earthy flavour to chocolate that is very sophisticated and chilli intensives chocolate so the final dish is really chocolatey with a wondrously long after-taste and using butter and brown sugar to coat the soufflé dish and high heat leads to the creation of a semi-hard caramel crust on the sides of the soufflé that is perfect with the soft interior. Most people are very surprised when they taste beetroot and chocolate cake the first time it is so different to what is expected and is so tasty. Remember carrot cake doesn't taste of carrots the carrots add moistness and a lovely depth of flavour.
I have to admit that the final soufflés worked out really well they rose high and straight with level tops, I was very pleased and the taste was superb. One funny thing is that I left out three soufflés and waited to see how they collapsed even after 10 mins the soufflé still had a good height which is an added bonus I assume this is because the exposed sides are cooked somewhat so forming stable sides and hold up the soufflé.
Well-risen soufflés with straight sides and level tops
Interior of the soufflés
Notice the semi-hard caramel sides of the soufflé a great contrast with the interior
Even after ten minutes the soufflés still had great height
Golden Syrup Roasted Beetroot and Chilli Chocolate Soufflé Recipe
makes 6 one cup soufflés
2 medium roasted beetroot (roasted in golden syrup), puréed (155 grams or 5½ ozs)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch processed, sifted
2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
3 tablespoons skim milk powder
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon chilli powder
5 egg whites (extra large)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
butter to coat the soufflé dishes
brown sugar to coat soufflé dishes
Preheat oven to hot 205°C/400°F.
Coat the soufflé dishes heavily in soften butter, chill for a short while and coat again, then coat heavily in brown sugar. (This will form a semi-hard caramel on the sides of the soufflés when baked.)
Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl set aside it should be thick, taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness and chilli heat to your palate.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy then add the vanilla sugar in several batches to the egg whites and beat to very stiff (but not dry) peaks.
Fold with a metal spoon a ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the beetroot mixture to slacken it and then fold in the remaining egg whites in two or three batches.
Spoon the mixture into the coated soufflé dishes and level the mixture use your finger to carefully remove all traces of the mixture on the rim and the sides.
Bake on a heavy tray 15-17 mins until well risen, serve immediately.
In Australia beets are called beetroots and are used in many recipes even in the common hamburger, which amazes most North Americans when they come here for the first time.
You can roast the beetroots in a moderate oven 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 covered in foil with some honey or maple syrup for about 40-50 minutes, check by piercing the beetroot with a fork they should be soft. Let cool peel off the skin then purée using a food processor or hand blender. It is better to use roasted beetroots than steamed or boiled beetroots since the purée made from the roasted beetroot is much drier and has a better flavour than the steamed or boiled version. If you wish you can use a mixture of roasted beetroot and roasted carrot which makes for a nice change.
Beetroot and chilli chocolate cake
250g (9 oz) honey roasted beetroots, puréed (about 1½ cups), about 5 medium beetroots, measure after roasting and puréeing
100g (3½ oz) dark chocolate, finely grated, 70%+ cocoa solids
240 ml (1 cup) yoghurt, natural set (Greek style), can be low-fat if you wish
3 eggs, large
200g (1 cup) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
60 ml (4 tablespoons) melted butter or vegetable oil
30 ml (2 tablespoons) very strong coffee or 15 ml (1 tablespoon) kecap manis
½ - 1 tsp chilli powder, to taste
250g (9 oz/2 cups) AP (plain) flour, sifted (or 1 cup plain flour plus 1 cup wholemeal flour)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
30g (1 oz/5 tablespoons) cocoa powder, sifted, Dutch processed
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and grease and line a tall 20cm (8 inches) cake tin.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and chilli powder into a large mixing bowl mix well. Add the dark brown sugar and grated chocolate mix well.
In another bowl add the puréed beetroot and yoghurt, add the eggs one by one blend thoroughly, add melted butter and strong coffee and blend.
Form a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients mix well. You should have a thick, glossy, deep red-brown batter. Taste small amount of batter to check the balance of sweet, chocolate and chilli heat, adjust to taste.
Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake for around 50-60 minutes. Test with a skewer or a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.
Allow to cool a little then remove from tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Common Problems with soufflés
Some more information about common problems with soufflés I got from my researching I thought it might help.
Soufflés collapse for many reasons. The most usual causes are: too much fat making the egg white foam collapse; not beating the egg whites enough to make a really stiff foam; using too runny a filling so that it cannot reinforce the egg foam; not cooking the soufflé long enough.
Soufflés, even when they have risen properly can sometimes have a rough appearance. The usual cause is that the top of the soufflé was not smoothed off well enough before it was put in the oven.
Often soufflés rise more in the middle than at the edges and the tops break open. This
happens when the soufflé dish is not properly greased and the soufflé mixture sticks to the sides and so prevents the soufflé from rising properly.
Occasionally, a soufflé will only rise from one side which results in a lopsided finish.
There are two possible causes: some of the mixture has stuck at one place on the rim of the dish where it was not cleaned away properly before putting in the oven or the soufflé has been cooked in an oven with a heating element at the back – the more risen side would have been closer to the heat and would have risen more quickly leading to the lopsided finish.
Unfortunately there is no way to rescue most failed soufflés once they have been
cooked, so the guide below just shows you how to do better next time.
Roasted Cauliflower, gouda cheese and Iberian ham soufflé
My neighbour gave me a wonderful home-grown cauliflower yesterday I had to make a soufflé from it. I love roasted cauliflower it has a very strong flavour and looks delicious. I had gouda cheese and some Iberian ham in the refrigerator so I thought a cauliflower, cheese and ham soufflé would be perfect.
I roasted the cauliflower until very brown, the cauliflower reduces by about half (nearly all water) in volume after baking. I puréed the cauliflower and ham to a thick paste, added some thickened (with cornstarch) skim milk and then added the grated cheese.
Unfortunately my neighbour who I was showing how to make soufflé turned-out the soufflés from the soufflé dishes while I getting my camera. As you can see by the dish mark the soufflé raised about 2 ½ times in height. There were so delicious and very filling one was more than enough to feel full. They really had a great cauliflower taste with a long ham and cheese after-taste.
Roasted cauliflower don't be afraid to really brown the cauliflower
Paste made from cauliflower and ham, this is thinned down to a purée with some thickened (with cornstarch) skim milk
Turned-out soufflé notice the height they achieved (about double the height)
Interior of the soufflé light and moist
Roasted cauliflower, gouda cheese and Iberian ham soufflé recipe
makes 6 one cup soufflés
1 medium cauliflower, cut into thick 2 cm (¾ inch) slices
½ cup 90 g/3 oz finely chopped Iberian ham
¾ cup 75 g/2½ oz shredded gouda cheese
3 tablespoons skim milk powder (or 4 tablespoons skim milk)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
4 tablespoons water (maybe more)
1 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
Pepper and salt to taste
6 egg whites (extra large)
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
butter to coat the soufflé dishes
onion and garlic powder to coat soufflé dishes
Preheat oven to moderately hot 205°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Place lightly oil-sprayed sliced cauliflower onto a lightly oil-sprayed baking dish and roast until well browned about 1 hour, turning once or twice.
Cut baked cauliflower into small pieces (I obtained approximately two cups of pieces 200 gm/7 oz). Using a hand-blender or food processor make a paste of the cauliflower pieces and the chopped ham.
In a small saucepan combine the sifted cornstarch, chilli powder, pepper, salt and skim milk powder (or skim milk) with the1 tablespoon oyster sauce and the 4 tablespoons of water make sure that the cornstarch is fully incorporated, heat gently until thickened set aside to cool. When cooled add to cauliflower/ham paste with the grated cheese and mix to form a smooth purée that has the consistency of thick apple sauce add more water if necessary. Measure out 1½ cups of the cauliflower/ham/cheese purée. (Use the remainder as a delicious spread on toast.) You can store the finished cauliflower/ham/cheese purée in the refrigerator for two days.
Coat the soufflé dishes heavily in soften (not melted) butter, chill for a short while and coat again, then coat heavily in onion and garlic powder.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy then add the tablespoon of sugar and beat to very stiff (but not dry) peaks. (The sugar helps to stabilise and strengthen the beaten egg whites.)
Fold with a metal spoon a ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the 1½ cups of the cauliflower/ham/cheese purée to slacken it and then fold in the remaining egg whites in two or three batches.
Spoon the mixture into the coated soufflé dishes and level the mixture use your finger to carefully remove all traces of the mixture on the rim and the sides.
Bake on a heavy tray 18-20 mins until well risen, serve immediately.
Three more soufflés
I had some friends over for a soufflé tasting party I thought I would wing a few variations without using any recipes, since I think I have an understanding of how to make soufflés from first principles now. My friends and I came up with three versions for the tasting.
Pistachio/saffron with vanilla/bitter orange peel soufflé
A sophisticated combination of two different layers of soufflé the bottom layer is flavoured with chopped pistachio and saffron, the top layer is vanilla and bitter orange peel, I really like the look of the two different layers excellent with coffee or tea. Bitter orange peel can be found in most Asian stores with orange it is excellent it isn't that bitter really it's just its name.
100's and 1000's soufflé or Fairy bread soufflé
In Australia all children's parties have fairy bread (see here for recipe) it is the all-time favourite at any party I loved it as a child and to be honest I love it even now, fairy bread is buttered white bread triangles sprinkled with 100's and 1000's (coloured candy sprinkles) which crackle and pop when eaten and with so many bright colours it is very appealing to children and it's easy enough for children to make for the party themselves which all kids do in Australia, so I thought I would a soufflé version. Perfect for older children's parties (since the soufflé dish is too hot for very young children) the 100's and 1000's melt and colour the soufflé. Children will love the look and sweetness of this soufflé, make sure that you top the soufflé with extra 100's and 1000's it looks like a giant cupcake. I added a dollop of dark chocolate soufflé mixture on the bottom it really adds that extra zing with the other layers. You could use smarties or M&M's if you wish instead of the 100's and 1000's.
Chocolate swirl soufflé
I wanted a swirl effect for the interior of this soufflé, dark and milk chocolate powder was used to flavour the egg whites.
The clear favourite was the Fairy bread soufflé since it brought back so many fond and happy memories for all the tasters but the pistachio one was very very good. I can't believe the chocolate came last you can't beat childhood tastes is the clear message I think.