Don't Fear the Soufflé -- It's Easier Than You Think

After watching MasterChef's Whitney effortlessly turn out soufflés last season en route to victory, I decided it was time to tackle this long-feared dessert myself for the first time. And, in so doing, I learned a powerful lesson: Soufflés are not actually all that hard to make.

Don't believe me? Well, it's true.

Even though they have a reputation for being highly temperamental, you too can wow friends and family with flawless soufflés simply by keeping these tips in mind:

  1. Make sure your ramekin is the right size for the recipe and that you have enough ramekins on hand to match the recipe yield. The ones I picked up from Bed, Bath & Beyond were SLIGHTLY too small and I ended up with so much batter that they overflowed more than they should have and they cracked slightly. (Ramekins generally come in 6- and 7-ounce sizes.)
  2. Think of making a soufflé as three distinct steps: Melting chocolate and butter; mixing egg yolks and sugar; and beating egg whites and cream of tartar. That's not so bad, is it? And after you've tackled those three steps, the only thing left to do is fold together and bake. Easy!
  3. Make sure your mixing bowl is CLEAN. Trust me -- stiff peaks will NEVER form if there's even a hint of residue in the bowl in which you're beating the egg whites. You can beat until the proverbial cows come home and they will never appear. It's an exercise in futility. So, take it from me -- you'll save yourself a lot of heartache if you simply make sure the bowl is clean from the get-go.
  4. Choose a soufflé recipe that yields more than one. This way, if one falls or is otherwise imperfect, you'll have a spare (or two).
  5. Serve promptly! While I don't think they necessarily deserve their reputation as impossible to make, they WILL inevitably fall. So don't waste any time serving them. Or, if you'd like to make them ahead of time, consult a book like the New Best Recipe cookbook that has make-ahead options.

Have you ever made a soufflé before? How did it go?

Image via The Marmot/Flickr

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