Cheese Souffle!

I buy all my meat from a local farm with a CSA program.  Every month, a cooler full of beef, chicken, and pork shows up on my doorstep.  There’s everything from all-pork hot dogs and sausage to steaks, whole chickens, and roasts.

But I was particularly excited this month, when I got an email telling me they were adding eggs.  There was only one thing to do with fresh eggs – make a soufflé!

I’d never tried one before.  I had a Corning Ware dish that was the right size and shape, and I’d seen a Good Eats episode on them a while ago.  Oh, and everyone said they were really hard to get right.

It turns out they’re not hard at all to get right.  I cheated and buttered the pan with Pam, and then dusted it with grated Parmesan cheese.  I made a roux with the butter, flour, some dry mustard and garlic powder.  I didn’t think the garlic powder added much, but mine may have been old. I’d probably recommend either adding more or leaving it out entirely. 

Once the roux comes together, add milk and let it thicken.  In the meantime, beat some egg yolks, and carefully temper them into the hot milk sauce – the idea is to raise the temperature of the eggs slowly so they don’t end up scrambled.  I added the milk to the eggs one spoonful at a time until they were close to the temperature of the milk, then added them to the pot. 

Then stir in the cheese. I used a good aged cheddar, but I don’t know why you couldn’t use any cheese you like.

I used a stand mixer to beat the egg whites until they got to the “stiff peak” stage.  Then, very, very carefully, you fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese sauce, one third at a time.  If you don’t fold carefully, you’ll deflate them, and the soufflé will be flat.  But if you don’t mix them thoroughly, the cheese won’t be evenly distributed.

After three rounds of folding, it was ready for the oven.  I poured it carefully into the pan, and baked it for 35 minutes.  

I worried about it deflating, but it held it’s shape well.  It didn’t even deflate when I cut into it to dish it out. 

It was probably too much egg and cheese to have as a main course – next time I’ll make it as a side dish for more people – but it was really good.  Light, fluffy, and cheesy, all at the same time.

There are still a few eggs left, which I’m going to poach and turn into Eggs Benedict.  But next month, when I get another fresh batch, I’m making another soufflé!  Maybe this blue cheese version

( see the recipe )

Pineapple Flan

I had my wisdom teeth removed last week.  I haven’t had much enthusiasm for eating, and even less enthusiasm for baking.  But last night I wanted dessert.

I had a few requirements – it couldn’t be crunchy or chewy, and it had to be made with things I already had at home.

I had two cans of pineapple, so that seemed like a good start.  I had plenty of eggs, and my CSA had sent me email telling me I was getting fresh eggs in my next delivery, so they needed to be used up.

So I went looking for a pineapple flan recipe.   This one caught my eye because everything went into the blender, so I knew it would come out smooth, and I had a can of Eagle Brand in the panty.

My first attempt at the caramel didn’t work – it crystallized instead of turning into caramel.  So did the second.  For the third try, I added some corn syrup, and it worked much better.  I should have let it get a little bit darker – I thought it would darken more in the oven then it did.

It made a full 48 ounces of filling, and I don’t have 48 ounces of ramekins, so I used 2 16-ounce Corning Ware baking dishes, one Pyrex baking dish, and the rest went into ramekins.  I put a dish towel in the bottom of my 13×9 pan, placed the bowls, put in the caramel, then topped them off with flan. 

Then move the baking dish to the shelf of the (preheated!) oven, and pour hot water into the 13×9 until it’s halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  The towel on the bottom keeps the bottom of the flan from being exposed to direct heat, and the water on the sides makes them bake evenly.

I checked on them every half hour to make sure the water level stayed constant.

When they’re done, let them sit on the counter for half an hour.  At that point, you can serve them warm, or put them in the fridge, covered, and serve them cold.

Pineapple Flan

The pineapple really jumps out.  For company, I’d turn them out onto slices of fresh pineapple, but for a midnight snack, they were perfect just the way they were.

( see the recipe )