A soufflé is a light and airy egg-based dish.
It can be served as a sweet dessert, or a savory meal.
A souffle is made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients.
The word “soufflé” is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow”, “to breathe”, “to inflate” or “to puff”.
The very first time a recipe for soufflé appeared in print was in Le Cuisine Modern by French master cook Vincent La Chapelle in the early 18th century.
In 1783, Antoine Beauvilliers establishes the first high-end Parisian restaurant, the Grande Taverne de Londres. With several soufflés on his menu, the French chef is often credited as the “inventor of soufflé.”
It was perfected in the mid-1800s by Antonin Carâme who, in cooking for the newly rich in Paris, was aided by updated ovens that were heated by air drafts rather than coal. This change was key to the rise of the soufflé.
Antonin Carâme created the Soufflé Rothschild, which originally contained real gold and was aptly named by its creator in honor of his employer, at the time the richest man in France.
As the soufflé evolved, the number of variations grew. By the time Auguste Escoffier published “Le Guide Culinaire” in 1903, which codified the classic recipes of French cuisine, more than 60 soufflé variations were in common use.
In “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” their profoundly influential 1961 cookbook, Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle describe the soufflé as the “epitome and triumph of the art of French cooking.”
Today, Soufflés are found all over France, with each region applying its own spin.
This wildly popular French dessert is beloved all over the world.
Soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components:
• the base – which includes the yolks
• the soft peak – from beaten egg whites
The base provides the flavor and the egg whites provide the “lift”, or puffiness to the dish. Foods commonly used to flavor the base include herbs, cheese and vegetables for savory soufflés and jam, fruits, berries, chocolate, banana and lemon for dessert soufflés.
Soufflés are generally baked in individual ramekins (a small glazed ceramic, plastic, stainless steel or glass bowl).
After being cooked, a soufflé is puffed up and fluffy, and it will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes.
It may be served with a sauce atop the soufflé, such as a sweet dessert sauce, or with a sorbet or ice cream on the side. When served, the top of a soufflé may be punctured with serving utensils toseparate it into individual servings. This can also enable a sauce to integrate into the dish.
Frugal recipes sometimes emphasize the possibilities for making soufflés from leftovers.
The most expensive soufflé is sold for US $2,500 and is prepared by Executive Chef Richard Farnabe and Alexandre Petrossian (both USA) at Petrossian in New York, New York, USA, as of 16 September 2016. An egg souffle filled with quail eggs, royal reserve caviar, topped with gold leaf and flambé Hennessey Richard.
National Chocolate Souffle Day in the United States is on February 28.
National Cheese Souffle Day in the United States is on May 18.