“The soufflé does not wait for the guest, the guest waits for the soufflé,” the old French chefs of yore used to say. You see, serving souffles can be quite a challenge. These small yet intimidating desserts take about an hour to prepare for the average pastry chef, and they must be consumed within five to 10 minutes of leaving the oven, or the whole thing will collapse!
Souffle is a French term, which literally means “to puff up.” There are basically two components in this dish, namely, the base puree and the egg whites beaten to soft peaks. The former flavors the dish, while the beaten egg whites fluff up the mixture. There are two types of soufflé: sweet soufflé (ex. chocolate) and savory soufflé (ex. cheese).
Be very careful when baking soufflés because they are temperature-sensitive. These delicious little monsters require your full attention during preparation and serving, which is why they are always prepared a la minute. There are two key factors when making the perfect souffle—timing and folding.
TIMING. Your oven’s temperature must be hot enough to cook the eggs, but not too hot to burn your souffle. It must also be consistent.
FOLDING. Just like in sponge cakes, carefully folding whipped egg whites into another mixture is needed. Always remember that the beaten egg whites are always lighter. When incorporating them into a heavier mixture, you must be very careful not to over-mix them, or you will end up with a flat souffle.
Lastly, when making soufflés, focus on your main goal: to give that soufflé a light but flavorful texture.
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