Saturday, May 4, 2013
You hear the word and the image of a delicate dessert set in a cute French bakery on a light Spring day crosses your mind. After the pleasant image plays to the end of its reel, another takes it place. Cartoon characters rush into a kitchen just as you pull the souffle from the oven, excited to see its risen cylindrical golden top.
The characters crash into pots and pans and yell in surprise.
The souffle exhales a big fat POOT! and crumples into itself. The expression on your face is that of priceless horror and sadness.
Oh, souffle, oh souffle.
You put the ramekins down and chase those cartoon characters into the horizon as cartoon-y music plays in the background. Th-th-th-that's all folks!
Is that what you imagine when you hear about souffles and thinking about making them? There may be a misconception that souffles are hard to make and that they deflate if there is a large sound. Quite the contrary. Souffles are very simple to make and the deflation is a matter of time not audio agitation. Because souffles deflate so quickly, they must be served right away and I think this contributes to its perception as a difficult dessert to make. It is only difficult because it must be made and served at the right time.
As an aspiring baker, I believe you have to make a souffle at least once. It's like a requirement to call yourself a baker. Muffins, brownies, cookies. Yeah, yeah, we can all make those. But when I imagine a true European baker, I imagine the careful creation of decorated cakes, tartlets, croissants, and souffles. My goals to becoming a better baker include making these items at least once in my life, and eventually coming back to perfect them.
You have already seen the labor-intensive devil's food chocolate cake that I made for my sister's graduation. (which I realize I never posted about. Whoops. Typical me. And I can't find all my photos from my sister's graduation...there were so many good pictures T_T ... That cake was so awesome and I put so much work into it)
I made a healthy fruit tart that was tasty enough but could use some work with the crust.
And I made whole wheat croissants before that took so much butter and so much rolling. The whole wheat croissants were tasty (despite a little more time spent in the oven than I had wanted) but it is definitely something you have to have a lot of free time and energy for. (Again, I cannot find the pictures. And I totally thought I had posted about them or at least the pictures before, but I went through all my posts and see nothing! Oh sadness)
My grandma would agree; she recently made croissants too and said she would probably not try and make them again. Costco croissants are fine and dandy, thank you very much.
I decided to make a classic vanilla souffle. My decision was prompted by this new YouTube baker I randomly found one day. Eugenie Kitchen is such a pristine cooking blog and series of cooking videos. Eugenie is this adorable Korean lady who talks eloquently, speaks French, and teaches each recipe through straightforward, well-explained steps. She even has every ingredient placed in such cute bowls and plates. I watched her video for vanilla souffle and was impressed by how easy it seemed. When I came home for winter break, I was excited to try it because my sister bought ramekins (she had bought them to make creme brulee, but I don't think that has happened yet).
I followed her recipe to the dot and my 4 ramekins full of souffle came out so perfect and amazing! With a light dusting of powdered sugar, they were the perfect degree of sweetness. It was like an eggy, airy pancake. It was still warm inside. You pierce the top with a spoon and then it sinks through the moist spongy interior. You put it in your mouth and the flavor of vanilla and custard hits your tastebuds while the warmth enhances the experiences.
Souffles are such an awesome dessert. I would like to make them more often, but it is sad they only last around 10 minutes. They start deflating around 5 minutes, so you really have to eat them fast. Even after deflating, they are still edible and still have the same flavor, just not all of the awesome flavor of fresh.
I would highly recommend trying out this recipe at least once in your baking career. It is little effort with big reward.
For the recipe, hop on over to Eugenie Kitchen!