Moving on to the next country on my “trip”! France!
I’ve been intimidated by the thought of baking something from France since I started researching each country way back in the beginning stages of this idea. Why? Because there are quite literally hundreds of French pastries/breads/baked goods I could have made. Like how was I even supposed to narrow it down?? I can’t read or speak French either, except for your stereotypical “Bonjour,” “oui,” “je m’appelle ______” and “voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir” (LOL thank you “Lady Marmalade”), so knowing authentic recipes or origins when I saw them was out of the question, and I had to hope recipes I found had some sort of credible source, or articles or something in English that would pop up when I searched the food name so I could read about it.
In the end I had it narrowed down to the Gateau Basque and a Soufflé. And I settled on a cheese Soufflé, since I heard it was hard to make successfully without it falling. I once heard a chef on tv say something to the effect of “You could be baking a soufflé, and someone could sneeze in China, and your souffle will fall.” So of course, BRING ON THE CHALLENGES!!! (Ya know, cuz French cuisine is SO easy and anything else I would have tried would have been a sinch, right???) (please pick up my sarcasm.)
I sort of feel like making a Soufflé is kind of a cop out, since its such a stereotypical and basic French dish, BUT WHATEVER. First time for everything!! Here are some Soufflé facts for you (that I found on the internet!) 1. A traditional cheese Soufflé is typically made with Gruyère or Comte cheese. 2. A Soufflé is an egg based dish, and can be either savory or sweet. 3. The Soufflé was first created somewhere in the early 18th century in France, but wasn’t popularized until the early 19th century.
Since I wanted to make a cheese Soufflé, I went to my local Mariano’s and explored their fancy cheese section, and found both Gruyere and Comté, made in France and Switzerland, so I splurged and got some of both! (Only used the Gruyere though. Oh darn, guess I now have to eat this other fancy French cheese!)
I was originally going to make Alton Brown’s Cheese Soufflé recipe, cuz Alton Brown is a master and he explains why you should prepare things a certain way, and gives explanations AND there’s a video of his Soufflé episode of Good Eats!! (… I’m a visual learner and I like videos okay, don’t judge me!) Buuuuuut then I read that traditional Soufflés are not made with cheddar (like Alton Brown’s recipe did), so I ended up finding an apparently more traditional recipe, but still followed some of the techniques I learned from Mr. Brown to execute it.
Here are some shots of my process~
I’m pretty sure my Soufflé dish was a little smaller than your standard size, because I ended up only fitting about half of the recipe in the dish…
So my Soufflé did flop at the end, maybe 5-10 minutes after I took it out of the oven and cut into it but…I dont know if that’s normal?? But alas, it tasted good, and none of my roommates were home when I made this so I was the only one who got to taste its fresh cheesy glory!
You can find the recipe I used at [this lil link right here] (I’ll also paste it below)
And if you are an Alton Brown fan like me, and don’t want to splurge on fancy French cheeses, [here is his cheddar souffle recipe].
Gruyere Cheese Souffle
Prep time: 15 min, Cook time: 30 min
- 4 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Scant 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 8 ounces grated Comte or Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar