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Soo-flay

At the risk of turning this blog into an M-stravaganza, I wanted to share with you the awesome souffle that he made last night.  Souffles (I haven’t worked out how to put an accent on that last e, so in my head, it’s pronounced soofle) have a reputation for being tricky and temperamental.  I don’t know if it’s true, because M has yet to produce a dud. They’re invariably fluffy, light and heavenly. I’ve never seen anything so easily constructed with such awesome, impressive results.  I meant to take photographs the whole way through, but I was busy drinking wine and being charming and witty while M was cooking.  Besides, none of these steps are particularly impressive in and of themselves, and I’m not a very good food photographer.  So!  Take it away:

Before you do anything else, separate 6 eggs, and grate 200g of gruyere. You’ll need these later and you won’t have time to separate or grate while you go. Preheat your oven, too, to 200 degrees Celsius.

Take 60g of butter and melt in a saucepan. Then add 60g of plain flour and whisk into a roux.  Cook briefly, and then start adding milk — add 2 cups in total, a little at a time, whisking thoroughly as you go to make it thick and smooth. When you’ve added all the milk, give it a little stir, and then work in your shredded gruyere.  Keep whisking while the cheese melts and it will be come a thick, creamy sauce.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, some nutmeg and some cayenne pepper and then take it off the heat. Throw in the egg yolks and whisk vigourously so that the sauce is still smooth and thick.  Let this sit (or get your resident blogger to stand and stir it) and whisk your egg whites with a pinch of salt into a frenzy of peaky froth!  Whee!

This is the special bit: you have to very carefully fold the egg whites and sauce together, not too energetically, just gently. Put a bit of the frothy egg whites into the sauce and mix it in until the whole sauce is thick and foamy.  Then grease your baking dish and pour the rest of the egg whites in, and then pour that frothy saucy mix into the baking dish as well.  Very gently fold them together and get it into the hot oven right away.

Bake Mr Souffle in the centre of your oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 180 degrees (Celsius) and give it another 25 to 30 minutes.  M says to poke it with a knife and make sure the knife comes out cleanish (but not too clean), like you would with a cake.  It will puff up impressively and go brown on top.

You need to serve Mr Cooked Souffle right away, because he will, as he cools, collapse slowly.  And besides, it’s so hot and tasty that you’re going to want to eat it right away anyway.  That, dear reader, is why I haven’t got a photo of Mr Souffle straight from the oven.  I do have this pic:

Which was taken after we had eaten half of it.  Classy, no? You can see it has already begun to sink a bit, but you can also see the awesome fluffiness of the interior.

I recommend the SBS Food Safari video of the whole process, where everything I’ve said above is basically repeated with a French accent and way more savoir-faire.  But also because it gives you a much better idea of how fluffy and browned the souffle is when it comes out of the oven.  Heavenly. Don’t be ashamed if you have to eat it right out of the souffle dish as soon as it comes out.

Although it’s not strictly authentic, you can eat the leftover souffle for breakfast the next day.  Although much flatter, it is still fluffy and delicious. Do it. I said do it!

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