Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Overinflated Ego vs Cheese Souffle and the Universe

I have a kitchen-ego problem. I tend to be able to cook anything I want to, make things up as I go along, eyeball quantities, make substitutions, and mostly ignore recipes with delicious results. Sometimes I start feeling a bit kitchen-invincible. Sometimes, I notice this is happening and intentionally set myself up for a fall - because, really, if my head gets any bigger I'll have to make myself some new hats.
Hence, my epic battle with cheese souffle and the universe.
On my Ego''s side, an eggy cheesy craving on my part and my generalized kitchen luck, also, the 12th edition Fannie Farmer Cookbook. (the best cookbook ever written).
On the Universe's side, lack of a souffle dish of any sort, poor quality store-bought eggs, only barely enough cheese, my inexperience with the medium, and the fact that I chose a "tricky" and "fragile" souffle recipe to start with. (What, you think I should start with the sturdy souffle recipe that follows the recipe I chose? Nonsense!)
No Souffle dish... Hmm, I'll just use a muffin tin and cut down the baking time. (Souffle is just like cake, right? Right!)
Recipe wants a 1.5qt souffle dish = 6cups volume vs 12 muffin tin, each cup holds .5 cups = 6 cups volume. (Perfect!)
Everything went well white sauce was thick and creamy, added cheese which melted in beautifully, beat in the egg yolks, didn't curdle, folded in the egg whites, didn't fall. Poured 1/2 cup souffle batter into each muffin cup, filling them to the top, popped them in the oven, put the timer on, waited.
Recipe called for 35 minutes, I thought 12 would probably be plenty for the muffins. At 12 minutes, they look a little pale still, decide to give them two more minutes.
At 14 minutes, I remove them

They look Awesome, so poofy! My ego begins to do a victory dance in my head. It doesn't last long.
By the time I get them to the table, they have begun to look more pancake-like on the top.

I manage to wrestle one out of the muffin tin, but they aren't so poofy anymore.

Still, the taste is great! The edges, were it they cooked more, didn't deflate like the centers did, and even the centers were a bit fluffy still. I think, with proper equipment, I could totally make a Souffle to be proud of.

I guess my kitchen-ego hasn't learned much of a lesson after all...


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