My first soufflé, enjoyed at Tavern on the Green in New York’s Central Park in 1977, was a masterfully prepared dessert flavored with Grand Marnier. It arrived at the table beautifully puffed and still billowing steam. When I gently dipped my spoon into it and took a bite, it was so light I felt like I was eating a cloud.
Soufflé is a French word that literally means “puffed up” or “filled with air,” but for many Americans, it carries with it the connotation of being difficult to prepare. That’s certainly what I thought until I learned how easy it is to make soufflés at home. And they aren’t just for dessert—I make savory soufflés like our Asiago, Artichoke & Spinach or Salmon, Cream Cheese & Dill for brunch or a light supper.
Our master soufflé recipe uses tried-and-true EatingWell techniques to make it healthier: we use canola oil in place of some of the butter, more egg whites and fewer yolks, low-fat dairy and whole-grain flour. Read on for our secrets for successful soufflés plus two sweet and two savory recipes. You don’t have to be a chef to make a fancy-looking soufflé, but you’ll feel like a culinary pro when you bring one out of the oven for the first time.
—Patti Cook, M.S., Ed.D., May/June 2012 EatingWell Magazine
Separate the eggs, using an egg separator if desired. Drop each white into a small bowl before adding to the mixing bowl; discard any whites with specks of yolk, wash the bowl and start over.
Soufflés rise best when they have something to “grab” on to as they bake. Coat the inside of the baking dish generously with breadcrumbs or sugar.
The perfect egg whites for soufflés are stiff, hold their shape on the beater, but don’t look overly dry or lumpy. Overbeaten whites don’t provide enough structure and result in a sunken soufflé.
Overmixing breaks the tiny air bubbles in the beaten egg whites. Without the air, the souffle won’t rise. It’s better to undermix than overmix; it’s OK if a few streaks of egg white remain.