Cheddar Bacon And Scallion Soufflé
Soufflé is a lightly baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”—an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.
Every soufflé is made from two basic components:
- a French crème pâtissière base/flavored cream sauce or purée
- egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue
The base provides the flavor and the whites provide the “lift”. Foods commonly used for the base in a soufflé include cheese, jam, fruits, berries, chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a large amount of sugar).
When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and it will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).
Many choose to puncture the top of the souffle, and pour various types of liquid sauces (ex. chocolate, vanilla).
Soufflés can be made in containers of all shapes and sizes but it is traditional to make soufflé in ramekins. These containers vary greatly in size, but are typically glazed white, flat-bottomed, round porcelain containers with unglazed bottoms and fluted exterior borders. Due to soufflés’ tendency to collapse quickly upon removal from the oven, they are frequently depicted in cartoons, comedies and children’s programs as a source of humor. Often the gag involves a loud noise or poke causing the soufflé to collapse like a popped balloon, evoking the dejection of the character being served the anticipated dessert
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 slices lean bacon – cooked, drained, crumbled
reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups milk
cayenne to taste
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Cheddar – (about 6 ounces)
4 large eggs – separated
In a small heavy saucepan cook the scallion in the butter and the reserved bacon fat over moderately low heat, stirring, until the scallion is softened, stir in the flour, and cook the roux stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, and boil the mixture, whisking, for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cayenne, the Cheddar, and salt and pepper to taste, whisking until the cheese is melted. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition, and whisk in the bacon.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, whisk about one fourth of them into the cheese mixture, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a buttered 1 1/2-quart souffle dish and bake the souffle in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden. Serve the soufflé immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Serving Suggestion: With roasted Brussels Sprouts