Posts Tagged With: Soufflé

138/365: National Cheese Souffle Day

There’s no need to feel deflated today, not when you’ve got the perfect excuse to enjoy a puffy, flaky, cheesy treat. May 18 is National Cheese Souffle Day!

Back in February, we celebrated National Chocolate Souffle Day by having a friendly little bake-0ff. In front of a live audience. It was our first (and only) interactive food challenge, and we had a blast. It doesn’t matter who won – the point is that we had fun! (Which, of course, means Tara won. Whatever). We were looking forward to repeating the challenge when cheese souffle day rolled around, only minus the streaming video feed this time. The camera was simply too distracting to me. We would, instead, rely on real-time Facebook posts charting our progress. Either way, I wanted an opportunity to avenge my initial souffle misdeeds and earn the title of Souffle King, which has (through a very odd childhood quirk) been a lifelong dream of mine.

And then, we learned that we would be in Seattle the day of the challenge. In an unfamiliar kitchen, with unfamiliar utensils and an unfamiliar oven. And busy as hell, to boot. So another interactive challenge seemed like too much trouble. It would be tricky enough just finding the time to make a cheese souffle in the first place. But persevere we must, regardless of the circumstances! So it was full speed ahead, strange kitchen or not. I was much more focused on my souffle this time. We mixed, we whipped, we stirred, and we baked. And in the end? Well, let’s take a look at some photos first.

Whisking action.

Whisking action.

Tara's recipe.

Tara’s recipe.

Waiting anxiously for some rising action.

Waiting anxiously for some rising action.

Mark's souffle doesn't look half bad!

Mark’s souffle doesn’t look half bad!

Souffle

Tara’s souffle is pretty impressive, too.

But in the end, there can be only one winner. And though the results were close – both souffles were delicious – in the end, the victory went to…surprisingly and shockingly, I’ll be the first to admit…Mark! So, HA! Redemption is mine. Mine, all mine. Tara’s sharp cheddar and garlic rose impressively and tasted great, but my gruyere and parmesan had a slight edge. Even according to Tara. Yes!!

Truthfully though, this was a lot of fun, and souffles are so technically challenging I’m just proud that both of us could make a souffle that rose impressively and tasted great. Good job, babe!

Categories: Pastry | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

59/365: National Chocolate Souffle Day

We rose to the occasion today in order to celebrate National Chocolate Souffle Day: Tara and I decided to have a chocolate souffle bake-off. Keep in mind, neither of us had ever made a souffle of any kind. We’ve watched enough cooking shows over the years to know that souffles have tripped up many a good chef before, so I’ll admit it: I was apprehensive going into the challenge. How’d we fare? Read on!

Souffle is French for “gonna collapse on your ass.” They can be either savory or sweet, and are traditionally baked in ramekins. European cooks during the Renaissance often used whisked egg whites in desserts, but it wasn’t until the invention of meringue that the souffle was perfected. The secret to a good meringue is to whip it. Whip it good. Famed French chef Antoine Beauvilliers (once the personal chef of none other than Louis C.K. – oops, got that wrong, King Louis XIV) – is believed to have served the first souffles at his restaurant, La Grande Tavern, in the late 18th century; he later published a cookbook, L’Art du Cuisinier, that featured souffle recipes. Another cookbook published in 1841, Patissier Royal Parisien, devoted so much attention to proper souffle technique that it’s obvious chefs for centuries have had problems with souffles collapsing on them.

Needless to say, none of this instilled confidence in my own souffle-making skills, but (understatement alert!!) Tara and I tend to be a tad competitive, so without further ado it was game on.

It was game on in front of a live audience, by the way.

Earlier in the day, a couple of our Facebook followers urged us to stream the competition online using a service called UStream. I had never heard of UStream before, but decided to swallow my pride and give it a go. So there we were, whipping up our souffles in the kitchen while simultaneously chatting live with a few viewers. It was a nerve-wracking and humbling experience, at least for me. And might have affected my cooking abilities. I’m not sure…maybe that’s just an excuse, because the winner of the challenge was…drumroll, please….

TARA!

By a country mile. Her souffle turned out light and airy. It rose perfectly and did not collapse. And most importantly of all, it was DELICIOUS! Mine, on the other hand? Well, it was darker. So there’s that.

Either way, we had a blast!

Chocolate Souffle

Tara’s winning souffles!

Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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