Cheese and Chive Egg Pots (a.k.a the Souffle that wasn’t)
The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you are afraid of it.”
– James Beard
I have been dreading sharing this post. And stalled with it for a few days.
We’ve established that I am no chef, no butcher- expertgardener-pattisseriemaker.
I attempted, what should have been my first soufflé, with determination in my actions and a concerted effort to keep the fear (and panic) out of my heart.
“The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you are afraid of it.” – James Beard
I kept repeating that over and over. And over.
My cheese and chive (lovingly gathered from our garden) soufflés did not brown as they should have. But more devastating, they did not rise. Cracks and sloping sides are all tolerable. But not rising is to a soufflé what a Knock Out is to boxing!
I could, in all honesty, have pulled an Elizabeth Gilbert and slumped to the kitchen floor, weeping.
I held my disappointment in one hand, stared blankly at the sorry excuses for soufflés and aimed……and I took their picture. Which loving mother wouldn’t?
And then I prodded them with a spoon, to discover a gorgeous mousse-like texture. When spoon slid into mouth, I was more than a little surprised. They tasted heavenly. And they should have, because I researched many recipes before concocting this one.
But alas, I should have consulted Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her books take pride of place in my cook book corner.
So, as I spooned the cheese and chive mousse (one must dust one’s self off, and regain the will to live ey) into my sad mouth, and poured over Julia’s very detailed instructions, my sad heart started to warm. Some hope started to filter through.
So, I didn’t quite beat the egg yolk mixture enough. The beurre manie is indeed a very thick roux (I was alarmed at this), the parmesan should have covered the sides of the ramekins too, not just the bottoms, and something about an upward stroke when buttering the vessels (by now, you’d know: I Spray n Cook, I don’t butter bases), there should have been two oven temperatures. I baked the little naughties in a bain marie, which isn’t necessary.
So many little reasons for these little creatures to flop.
And, like cold water in the face, it hit me, my little Le Crueset ramekins have a lip that veers out. No wonder the poor darlings had a rough time climbing up and rising.
Julia speaks of an Unmoulded Souffle, also made in a pan of water, which doesn’t rise as much as the moulded ones. I acknowledge that mine were not unmoulded soufflés, but reading this made me feel a tad less hopeless.
There’s no point sharing the recipe here, at this time. But, here are some of the pics.
Souffles going in:
Cheese and Chive Egg Pots, coming out:
My, how the mighty have fallen!
You know I was disappointed. Despite the fact that they did not morph into souffles as I’d hoped, I think they make a fantastic brunch dish. The combination of cheese (parmesan, gruyere and mature cheddar), chives and eggs is Sunday brunch in a ramekin.
What happens next? You’re going to have to keep an egg peeled!
The bottom line is we’re learning and having fun, even if we can’t have our souffle and eat it too!
* I acknowledge that my use of the accented e has been erratic, to say the least. Will put in more effort. Promise! *
Love to hear your thoughts!
Hey, Ishay, good effort!
From looking at the pictures I would say three things: they did rise, and take on some colour, so all is not lost!
The lip on the pots won't have made a difference – by the time they get to that height they would carry on regardless.
My thoughts are that you didn't fill the ramekins enough … they are rather large vessels (and because eggs sizes are not consistent the volume of the mix can vary).
Buttering ramekins is definitely advisable (we were taught to do it TWICE) but if you've parmesanned (or breadcrumbed) the sides after S&C (I am also a fan) you should be fine as it uses the crumb to 'climb' up the ramekin.
So I think you should give it another go, either add another egg or use the same mix to make fewer.
Preheat the oven AND the baking sheet, to give them a head start.
Finally, let me share with you my souffle failure story! It was one of my first professional cooking jobs and I was working for a dowager countess in a castle in Scotland, who had her barrister(QC)over for dinner. No pressure there, then. She was absolutely rigid on timing – she told you ahead of time when dinner would be and she rang a bell at the appointed time. There was no leeway.
She insisted I use her recipe, rather than the one I was familiar with, and needless to say … it was a disaster.
I served a gloopy, sloppy mess that they mopped up with toast(!), but being very well mannered they both insisted it was delicious.
I was mortified.
But I've not been scared of souffles since. 🙂
no worries, girl, they still look lovely!!
i've had my share of souffle sadness (i just told my parents they were quiches), but they just made the first successful ones even more precious 🙂
Dear Ms Daffodil
Thanks so much for the feedback and sharing your stories. I for one, can not wait to read more about Old Lady Dowager…
As for the souffle: I am looking forward to giving it another go, very soon.
Julia Child said she made 28 strawberry souffles that weren't there, before she got it right.
Who am I to give up?
Dear K: you clever girl. The quiche would have been a nice calling name. Alas, big mouth over here announced to all in the house "Souffles in the oven!" 🙂