I spent yesterday with my mother and my nieces, baking and cooking all day long. We started with next week’s chocolate sablés, moved on to two sorts of Irish soda bread (which you’ll be able to read about here on Tuesday), then chicken stew, and finished with this week’s French Fridays recipe, cheese soufflé.
Soufflés make a meal into a command performance. No one bakes one without requiring everyone to be at the table and ready to witness its brief apotheosis. It comes back to Earth too quickly. It’s also usually the centrepiece of a meal, or at least a course. Yesterday, I flouted that a bit. We had a sort of Franco-Irish mash-up of a meal, with Irish-style chicken stew that had been made with the leftovers of Cognac chicken (a French Fridays catch up that I’ll post about some time soon), two sorts of Irish soda bread, and this soufflé. I used aged Irish cheddar (Cahill’s Irish Monastic) in place of Gruyère or Emmenthal, in consideration of the rest of the menu. It fit right in. We ended the meal with the sablés. I have to say it was one of the best takes on both sides of my heritage that my family’s ever attemped.
I’m also happy to finally be in on the secret of soufflés. They’re dead easy. As long as you are scrupulous about following the steps of the recipe, only the weather or a slammed oven door can let you (or it) down. Just make sure you have witnesses. They’ll love how it tastes, but it’s important that they’re awed by its height, too.
My nieces want to try a soufflé now. Of course, they’d like to make a chocolate one. I’m going to suggest this. A meeting between chocolate and tea sounds like another great combination.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Cheese Soufflé