When it comes to making desserts, I fall squarely (and with a ample assed thump) in the homey, fruit pie, cobbler and crisp camp of earthly delights. This results in two reactions....1) It pisses off the gooey chocolate dessert lover fans (why don't you make more chocolate things???) and 2) I don't get around to making the more delicate airy desserts. Virginia Willis challenged the readers on her blog to Rise Up and tackle the delicate soufflé as this weekend's cooking assignment. Actually soufflé was already on my cooking to do list but Virgina naturally assumes there's an audience for the test kitchen soufflés you're about to make. For my kitchen, (which in all honesty, is a food photography blog kitchen) this posed a bit of a problem. Soufflés, once out of the oven, need to eaten immediately. IMMEDIATELY!!! So making six soufflés for just myself is overkill on the egg white consumption. But that's ok because the soufflé I was planning to make before Virginia threw down the Georgia Peach Soufflé gauntlet was a savory Cheese Soufflé from Judith Jones excellent cookbook, The Pleasures of Cooking For One. I've been thinking about making this version ever since I got hooked on Iowa Prairie Breeze Cheddar. I have to say it was fascinating comparing the styles and methods of these two chefs while preparing soufflés from their cookbooks.
Now if you've never made a soufflé before (like me) you might be a little hesitant. I think the general perception is that soufflés are difficult to make. That might have been true back in the day of hand whisking whipped cream or meringue but in the age of the mighty Kitchen Aid stand mixer and the efficient food processor? Not a problem. What is a hurdle is timing. If you plan to make a soufflé for others, say at a dinner party, serving the soufflés at their peak height is a tricky thing. The photo above was taken seconds after emerging from the oven and still you can see the center has started to sink. That's not to say it's not supposed to inevitably sink some but if you haven't whipped your egg whites to the right consistency your soufflé won't rise enough to sink any. The recipe for Judith's cheese soufflé can be found over at Martha's conglomo website. NOT to be confused with Oprah's conglomo website.....where the recipe can also be found. Someday soon they will just merge into the World Dominatrix website Marthoprah and there will be no escaping either one of them....but I digress. Judith's instructions includes adding shredded cheese your buttered soufflé dish but not leveling off the top of the soufflé before it goes into the even, giving you a more rustic looking top. This is a great dish when you've got not much else in the fridge. An egg, some cheese, butter and milk and you can whip up something elegant and delicious in no time.
And then we have Virgina and her peaches. You know she's a good ole Georgia girl when she doesn't have one chocolate souffle in her cookbook but she does have a Georgia Peach soufflé. Sadly there were no Georgia peaches to be found anywhere in the greater Kansas City area so I had to settle for fresh Missouri peaches that I found at the farmer's market. A sacrifice, I know but what can you do? Now, Miss Virginia's recipe serves six so I sorta riffed off of Judith's proportions for Virginia's recipe so I didn't have to make and eat six mini soufflés all my myself.
That's not to say they weren't so wonderfully delicious that I couldn't. Oh no, I could. However I was too busy trying to be all "Karmic Kitchen Artistic", getting just the right shot with a dish that just wasn't destined to cooperate. Seriously, look at the badly out of focus and poorly lit reject photo below....
...to see just how much taller it is from the previous picture. They were taken seconds apart. Seriously this is why cookbook photo shoots have tons of assistants and stylists. To get the perfect soufflé shot at the peak of the rise. Not that it mattered in the end.
Because it was like eating a fluffy peach cloud. It even got a thumbs up from my good buddy Craig who stopped by to drag me away to go a quest for nesting Pyrex bowls. Virginia's recipe is in her cookbook but you really should go to her website for the more detailed lessons on creating the perfect soufflé and some beautiful bonus pictures of Paris. Don't be afraid to making your own soufflés, it anything is will amuse the children watching the incredible shrinking dish collapse right before their eyes.