Recipe: The Secrets of Chef Michael’s Souffles

Souffles have become my signature dessert at the Inn and guests always ask me for the recipe or a cooking lesson. Making them can be tricky, so follow the instructions carefully. Whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks is also another key to getting the proper “rise”. When egg whites are over whipped, they become dry and almost granular. The goal is to get them stiff, keep them moist and soft. It is better to under-whip than over-whip. Timing is the key to successful souffle serving, as they wait for no one. When they are ready to be served, they must be hastily escorted to the table and consumed immediately or they will become, as Mary Jo puts it, “flat tires.”

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • flavored Creme Anglaise

Directions

  1. Heat the milk, over medium heat, in a 2-quart saucepan. In another 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour and mix until combined well. Reduce heat to low, and stir frequently.
  2. When the milk comes to a simmer, stir in the sugar. Continue to stir, dissolving the sugar for 2 minutes. Pour the milk mixture into the butter mixture and stir with a whisk to combine, cooking over medium heat until a ball forms and the mixture releases from the sides of the pan.
  3. Immediately place the mixture in a mixing bowl and stir (using the flat paddle) on medium- low speed with an electric mixer for 10 minutes.
  4. One by one, stir in the egg yolks, allowing each to be completely incorporated before adding the next. When all of the egg yolks are incorporated, set the mixture (souffle? base) aside and allow it to cool. This base will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  5. Generously butter ten 1 1/2 cup souffle? dishes, covering the entire surface area on the inside of the cups, including the rim. Coat the buttered cups with granulated sugar, rotating the cups to coat them evenly. Tap out any excess sugar. Set the prepared cups aside.
  6. Choose from the souffle flavors below, and stir the ingredients into the base, mixing well.
    Grand Marnier: 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
    Chocolate-Amaretto: 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup Amaretto and 2 Tablespoonsfinely ground almonds
    Raspberry-Chambord: 1/2 cup fresh or individually quick frozen (IQF) raspberriesand 1/4 cup Chambord
    Cappuccino: 2 Tablespoons strong coffee or espresso and 1/4 cup Kahlua
    Blueberry-Hazelnut: 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) and 2 Tablespoons finely ground hazelnuts
    Pistachio: 1/4 cup finely ground pistachios and 2 Tablespoons Amaretto
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiffpeaks. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold half of the egg whites into the base. Continue folding in the remaining egg whites. Gently pour the batter into the prepared souffle dishes, filling them 4/5 of the way full. Be careful not to drip the batter on the rims, or the souffles may not rise evenly.
  9. Bake in the center of a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven, place on a small serving plate and dust with powdered sugar. Hurry the souffles to the table. The souffles can be further garnished with the ingredients used to flavor the base (chopped nuts, cocoa powder, chocolate-covered coffee beans, etc.). Serve the souffles with a side of Creme Anglaise, flavored to accompany your souffle. Pour the Creme Anglaise into a hole you poke in the top of the souffle at the table. Eat immediately.