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.
Andoverandoverandoverandoverandoverandover.
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:

Verdict

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!


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