Fresh autumn herbs lend subtle nuances to this beautiful beginner egg soufflé, ready from oven to table in just under an hour.
This Recipe Modified From The Pleasures Of Cooking For One to yield additional servings.
In memory of Judith Jones who the world lost in August of 2017, and who presented the limitless possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation when cooking only for ourselves.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Air is what enables us to achieve that iconic "puffy" soufflé. Well, air and the proteins in the egg whites which are the basis of every soufflé. This method is easy enough for the beginner home chef, a lesson in turning something as simple as an egg into something as magnificent as the soufflé.
It is beaten eggs that give the structure and puff or leavening to any soufflé recipe. The motion of beating egg whites traps air into the mix. When baked, air bubbles in the egg whites expand. This expansion puffs the soufflé up over the top of the dish.
Too many novice home chefs fear the soufflé. I am here to tell you that they aren't half as difficult as they are made out to be.
Soufflés have two main components, a base that will become the flavor profile and silky beaten egg whites. The method for almost all soufflés is that you make a base, fold in whipped egg whites, and bake.
If you’re preparing a sweet dessert soufflé, maybe your base is caramel or chocolate. If you’re assembling a savory soufflé, maybe it is a cheese or herb base. In either case, the technique for almost all soufflé recipes is the largely the same.
This savory (or sweet!) baked egg-based dish originating in France relies on the correct consistency of its base, stiff egg whites and the careful folding of the base and the beaten whites together JUST prior to the bake. The egg whites are, by far, the most important ingredient in a soufflé. So, it's important to get the whites correct.
BUT, it's also important to get everything else in the method completed BEFORE you begin whipping your whites. This is so that once those whites are ready, the base can immediately be combined, no waiting!
Do You Have What's Needed For This Egg Soufflé Recipe With Autumn Herbs? Check The List!
butter, salted or unsalted
grated Parmesan cheese; use FRESH - NOT the the green can!
all purpose flour
fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, or chives
How This Recipe Came About…
My dear friend Moe gifted me what has become one of my most used cookbooks to date. The Pleasures Of Cooking For One by the late Judith Jones explores the primitive art, preparation, and pure enjoyment of food. It also explores the human mind.
Judith's knack for focusing on self care and emotional preservation through the art and assembly of straightforward classical dishes is fascinating. Her opinion? Cooking for yourself is an exercise in spiritual upholding.
Food preparation is treating yourself. It's giving yourself permission to be bold and go great. Create something that you will love and that will love you back. Food is your great gift to yourself, so relish the process of creating beautiful dishes for yourself as much as you will surely relish the end result.
Judith's Cheese Soufflé was among the first recipes I attempted from the book. This was WAY BEFORE I even knew I enjoyed cooking. This cookbook is part of my journey to where I am today with Not Entirely Average.
I have thought A LOT about Judith Jones over the years. Both a writer and editor, she is best known for having rescued The Diary of Anne Frank from the reject pile. She also championed Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And if those two MONUMENTAL achievements are not enough, she is a twice James Beard Foundation award recipient.
Judith's Cheese Soufflé is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. Paired with a table wine and a basic salad, dinner is on my table in under 30 minutes. I have reimagined her original method for a larger yield. The recipe I share today is adapted from Judith's original, but serves 4 to 6 as a main dish and boasts the addition of fresh herbs and fresh nutmeg.
What Is A Substitute For Freshly Grated Parmesan Or Cheddar In This Recipe?
To be clear here, we are talking about 2to 3 tablespoons of cheese to "flour" the buttered soufflé dish, and a wee handful more to compliment the herbs in flavoring the egg base. So when considering what to purchase, you do not need very much.
Also, keep in mind that when we talk about Parmesan cheese ANYWHERE on Not Entirely Average, we are discussing real cheese. We are never discussing anything shaken from a can. No processed cheese food either. ONLY REAL CHEESE.
That said, there are many possibilities for subbing out the Parmesan and/or the cheddar. I absolutely do this very often because there are so many hard cheeses out there that I like better than Parmesan. I will confess however, that I LOVE the cheddar in this soufflé.
If using an alternate hard cheese in lieu of Parmesan or Cheddar, be creative and consider the selections available to you with the help of your cheese monger.
You may use one type of cheese for throughout the entire recipe, or use two as I have noted in the recipe card.
Beaufort cheese is an Alpine cheese produced in Beaufortain, Tarentaise Valley and Maurienne in the French Alps. It is a firm, raw cows milk cheese associated with the gruyere family. Run over the blade of a micro plane, this cheese has distinctive buttery, nutty, and mildly salty nuances. There is nothing about Beaufort cheese that is not to love.
Beemster is is a hard Dutch cow's milk cheese whose aging process is similar to other hard cheeses such as Gouda. I cannot get enough of Beemster. When I am able to find it, I purchase and keep a block in my chiller. Even the very hard rind becomes useful for flavoring soups, so nothing is ever wasted with this superior cheese. In fact, Beemster is a cheese I will almost always purchase before any other.
Comté is a French cheese produced in the Jura Massif region of Eastern France, this unpasteurized cow's milk hard mountain cheese is matured in caves where it establishes its unique taste, texture and color. I use Comté as a substitute for cheese in and on pasta dishes all of the time.
What Is The Best Way To Make A Soufflé?
Read your recipe…TWICE! Once you begin a soufflé recipe, time is precious. Speed is mildly integral. Your soufflé won't be successful if you continuously stop mid-recipe to search for or measure an ingredient.
Measure all the ingredients before you start cooking. I arrange my ingredients in the order in which I will be using them. This helps me to move seamlessly.
Ensure all your ingredients, especially the eggs, are at room temperature. Do not use cold eggs. Yes, this IS a thing. Do not use cold eggs…
A quick lesson on cracking those eggs…YES, I AM SERIOUS! Why? Because cracking eggs on any type of edge, for example, the edge of a bowl or the edge of a countertop, hosts a greater probability of you compromising that eggs yolk. So…crack the eggs by tapping them on a FLAT SURFACE such as your countertop.
Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks by allowing the egg whites to gently slip through your fingers into a bowl. Don’t let any bit of yolk into the whites which will compromise the ability of the egg whites to trap air and do their job for 'the puff.'
How To Make An Egg Soufflé?
Determine what fresh herbs you will use for your soufflé. Fall herbs are at the end of their grow cycle.
Collect the young green tips as opposed to woody bottom stems. The tender, newer leaves are going to suit much better than older, possibly bitter leaves.
Consider rosemary, thyme, chives, sage, and oregano. Selecting one herb and not a combination usually works best. And remember, leaves only. No stems.
A baked egg souffle does require another key step to ensure its success: MUST PREHEAT OVEN! Now that you've done all of the work to ensure a perfect and fluffy egg soufflé, do not skip ahead by popping the casserole dish with the fragile egg mixture into a cold or luke warm oven.
If fresh herbs are unavailable, dried herbs may be used per a 3:1 ratio; for example, 3 teaspoons of fresh herb to 1 teaspoon dried.
The oven MUST BE PREHEATED before the baking dish is loaded in. To that end, once the soufflé is finished, pull it from the oven carefully and serve immediately.
No matter what, ALWAYS make the soufflé base first. Whether the soufflé you are perfecting is a savory or a sweet, always combine the egg yolks together with the base ingredients so they are ready to marry the whites as soon as they transform into stiff peaks.
Combining the egg mixture base with the egg whites is way beyond the capability of your fabulously bulging biceps. Trust me. For this step, bust out the electric hand mixer or your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Always beat the whites on medium speed.
This is not a fast process. You are going for fluffy here. Initially you'll get soft peaks. Keep mixing until stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are defined as pulling the mixer away and the peaks of those egg whites remain stiff and standing. If peaks form and wilt slightly or collapse, you need to beat a bit longer. NOTE: A food processor will NOT work for this.
Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three stages. Just in case today is an iffy math day for you, this means one third, one third, and one third 🙂 The peaks of the freshly-whipped egg whites will start to lose their stability immediately after you've achieved those stiff peaks. Because of this, it's critical that you begin the folding process, in stages, right away.
To the base batter, add one third of the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, run under the batter scraping the bottom of the bowl while folding the batter up and over onto the whites. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn clockwise. Repeat.
Continue after each fold, turning 1/4 turn clockwise until the whites are no longer streaky in the batter. Do this twice more using the remaining two thirds of the whites until mostly all streaks are gone.
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
Often, I will go out of my way to make an otherwise splendid soufflé not entirely average by seeking out a unique hard cheese with unique flavor for "flouring" my soufflé dish. If I find a cheese I enjoy, I add it to my recipe card in my recipe box for the next time. It is kind of like giving myself a little recipe rating with the cheese I like best.
I also grab shallots for a caramelized shallot and herb combination. Sage pairs well with caramelized shallot, and incorporating these two flavors alone is a seriously savory dish enjoyed as a side to roast lamb.
For a heartier soufflé, mashed potatoes combined with a an aged cheddar cheese and rosemary leaves is altogether distinctive. If wanting to offer as both a dinner and a breakfast, an easy egg soufflé with spinach or an egg and cheese soufflé with spinach and Gruyere cheese are both great bases to consider.
Is An Egg Soufflé A Main Dish Or A Side?
The healthy egg soufflé recipe I am sharing today may be either a main dish or a side. It is a lighter version of a soufflé so it also makes a good choice for a breakfast souffle.
If serving as a main, this recipe will feed four to six. I recommend a salad along with a crusty bread and good table wine.
Breakfast souffles need no more than a fresh fruit option such as this fruit and yogurt parfait, and a myriad of home-baked breads such as a savory spinach and feta loaf, banana bread, or a subtle buttermilk loaf. Cut the breads into smaller pieces and arrange them in many baskets for a table array for eaters to select from.
With an amped up selection of sides, a breakfast soufflé can stretch to serve 10 to 12 people with slightly smaller servings. If unsure you'll have enough, or to ensure second helpings, always be sure to bake two.
How Long Does It Take To Bake An Egg Soufflé?
Plan on a 25-ish minute cook time. This bake MUST be absolutely UNDISTURBED. No opening the oven and peeking.
How Do You Know When An Egg Soufflé Is Done?
To know if your egg soufflé is done to perfection on the inside, giggle it gently. If it barely moves in the middle, it is done.
Can I Freeze An Egg Soufflé?
I know there are many out there who will say that freezing a soufflé is possible, and it is. But…freezing brings with it so many unfortunate consequences. I do not advise freezing. Chief among my reasons is that to thaw and re-heat all or a portion of a previously baked soufflé will not yield that characteristic 'puff' that soufflés are best known for. I also find the density changes and it alters the flavors going on in the bake.
How To Serve An Egg Soufflé?
Hot and straight from your oven. When serving an egg souffle for guests, have them gathered 'round the table so they can see how beautiful it is.
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like:
Fresh Asparagus Herb And Ham Frittata for A Lite Springtime Meal
Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
- 1.5 quart soufflé dish
- stand mixer with whip attachment or electric hand mixer NOTE: A food processor will NOT work for this
- rubber spatula
Ingredients for An Egg Soufflé Recipe With Autumn Herbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or other hard aged cheese; freshly grated, do not substitute canned shakable cheese or processed cheese food
- 1 cup whole milk may substitute half and half
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter may substitute salted; divided, softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- large pinch nutmeg freshly grated
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup cheddar cheese freshly grated; may substitute any aged hard cheese
- 2 teaspoons chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme, or sage fresh, chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Smear 1 tablespoon of the softened butter around the inside wall and bottom of a 1.5 quart soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and "flour" or dust the soufflé, coating bottom and sides with the cheese completely. If you find you require additional cheese for this step, grate and add more. Set aside.
- Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce heat but keep milk warm once steaming.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and use a wire whisk to incorporate. Mixture will begin to foam. Cook 3 minutes to cook out the raw taste of the flour. Mixture should be very lightly golden and smell nutty.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add the finely minced herbs and stir. Pour in warm milk, whisking vigorously until very smooth. Return pot to medium low heat to simmer for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Sauce will thicken as it is whisked. Season with salt and paprika and nutmeg.
- Add egg yolks one at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. There is no need to temper the yolks prior to adding. Remove the egg mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool to lukewarm temperature.
- Using the whip attachment of a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat the whites.
- Add 1/3 of the stiffly beaten whites into what should now be the lukewarm temperature soufflé base along with half the grated cheddar. Use a rubber spatula, run under the batter scraping the bottom of the bowl while folding the batter up and over onto the whites. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn clockwise. Repeat.
- Continue after each fold, turning 1/4 turn clockwise until the whites are no longer streaky in the batter. Do this twice more using the remaining two thirds of the whites while gradually sprinkling in the remaining grated cheddar cheese until mostly all streaks are gone. Transfer batter to the prepared buttered and coated soufflé dish.
- Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. The center should move only slightly when dish is shaken gently. Do not open oven door during first 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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