Learn how to make the perfect French souffle – an elegant, magical and delicious dessert that delights kids and impresses adults. Made in 30 minutes and served right from the oven, it makes a fabulous dessert to finish a romantic dinner.
Today I am making a ramekin dessert – French Souffle. Sweet souffle is not a food served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It usually is served as a dessert after the main course. Moreover, it is best known to be served for special occasions such as birthdays or weddings. It is one of the best impressive desserts for two made on Valentine’s Day!
You might have heard that French souffle is one of the most stressful and difficult desserts to make. The issue is that souffle deflates quickly; it begins to flop the moment the souffle leaves the oven! If you want to nail the souffle-making, I will guide you through the making of the perfect French dessert.
Yes, some French chefs such as the owner of the restaurant Le Cigale Récamier, Gérard Idoux mastered his skills in making the perfect souffle for two decades. Yes, he knows all the tricks of this fluffy treat: his restaurant serves over 300 souffles daily! However, you can easily make this French delight by following a few simple techniques.
- What is a souffle?
- What are ramekins?
- History of a souffle
- The science behind the perfect French souffle
- How to make the perfect French souffle: tips and tricks
- How to serve a souffle
- How to make French souffle with pink praline – step by step
- Expert tips
- More delicious Valentine’s Day recipes you’ll love
- French Souffle With Pink Praline
What is a souffle?
Souffle is a French baked dish made of egg yolks and mounted egg whites. The word soufflé is derived from the French verb souffler which means
“to breathe” or “to blow”.
Souffles can be classified into savory souffles made with herbs, cheese or vegetables and dessert souffles made with bananas, chocolate, berries, etc. Souffles are usually baked in individual baking vessels – ramekins that are buttered and sprinkled with sugar before adding preparations.
What are ramekins?
Ramekins are small glazed porcelain or glass bowls that are used to make individual dishes: souffles, French onion soup, crème brûlée, appetizers, custard, pudding, etc. Ramekins are sold in different forms: classic round, geometric, square, oval, heart-shaped. They are generally sold in sets of four or six. Some of them are accompanied with lids.
History of a souffle
The first appearance of a souffle goes back to the 18th century and is attributed to French cook Vincent de la Chapelle. The dessert was not popularized in France until the 19th century when the chef Marie-Antoine Carême included the souffle recipe in one of his cookbooks. Later, in the 20th century, Julia Child introduced the souffle to the American continent.
The science behind the perfect French souffle
To make the perfect souffle, you must understand what goes on behind the scenes. Every souffle is made of egg yolk base that gives the dessert flavor and helps build the souffle structure, and beaten egg whites that provide the volume.
As per Harold McGee, the author of the book “On Food and Cooking. The Science and Lore of the Kitchen “, “if you manage to get any air into the mix, an inexorable law of nature will raise it in the oven.” Simply saying, this is the air bubbles from egg whites that expand in a hot oven and give that famous rise to the souffle. The water from the walls of the air bubbles evaporates and causes the bubbles to expand.
How to make the perfect French souffle: tips and tricks
A souffle has an egg yolk base which is a pastry cream and beaten eggs. What keeps a souffle risen is the air bubbles from the beaten egg whites that expand in the well heated oven, giving that famous rise to the souffle. So, preparing egg whites is the most important thing in order to succeed in making this dessert.
Tips to work with egg whites
- Use fresh eggs at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours before making a souffle. It helps egg whites expand quicker and easier.
- Carefully separate egg whites from egg yolks: do not let any yolk into the egg whites, otherwise it will prevent the egg whites mounting in the proper way.
- Use a clean and grease-free metal bowl. According to Jeff Potter, the author of the book “Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food “, the best bowl for whisking egg whites is a copper bowl, since the copper interacts with protein of whites and helps stabilize egg whites’ foam.
- Add ½ tsp white wine vinegar, or ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar, or ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to egg whites while beating them. This step is essential to help stabilize egg whites.
- Beat egg whites with a hand whisk ! According to Jeff Potter, “electric beaters won’t work in as much air before the foam is set.” If this step seems tiring, use an electric mixer on low-medium speed. If egg whites are mounted quickly, air bubbles will not be incorporated into the meringue.
- Keep beating egg whites until a soft peak forms (it is called bec d’oiseau in French, which means “bird beak” in English). Once you stop whisking, you must see a curve of beaten egg whites resembled a bird beak, but do not over-beat egg whites to be too thick!
Other tips for making the perfect French souffle
- Prepare all the equipment and measure ingredients before you start making a souffle.
- Butter ramekins with a silicone brush , making upward strokes, which helps the souffle surface detach from the dish easier. Then coat the sides and the bottom of ramekins with a layer of sugar, knocking out excess, which makes a nice crust while baking.
- Refrigerate the prepared dishes while making the batter.
- Make the egg yolk base first, then beat egg whites. First, it allows the base to cool down after cooking. Second, the beaten egg whites, full of lots of air bubbles, have to be incorporated as soon as they are beaten.
- Combine egg whites with the egg yolk base right away by folding egg whites in two stages. Add a third of the egg whites and mix with a rubber or wooden spatula : slide the spatula under the preparation, along the bottom of the bowl, folding up and over. Add this mixture to the rest of egg whites and mix until egg whites are incorporated. The mixture might look barely blended with streaks of whites, which is fine.
- Once you spoon the mixture into ramekins , run your thumb around the inside rim of the dish in order to create a trench to help the souffle rise upwards. Tap the ramekins well before baking.
- Preheat the oven well and bake the souffle in a very hot oven. Place ramekins on the lowest rack, where the heat expansion is at the highest level. This will rise the souffle to the max. However, it also means that the souffle will deflate quicker once it is taken out of the oven. So, hurry up with serving!
- Never open the oven while baking the souffle. Any sudden change of the oven temperature can cause the souffle to collapse.
How to serve a souffle
There is a saying that guests can wait for a souffle, but a souffle cannot wait for guests!
Mr. Idoux’s daughter, who seems to have inherited the “perfect-souffle-making” gene, says that “you have two to three minutes max to get it to the table before it slumps.” As per another pastry chef Laurent Jeannin, “it has to be made to order and then consumed immediately. That’s part of its legend.”
To maintain the souffle’s height for as long as possible, place ramekins on a plate heated in a microwave. Sprinkle top of the souffle with powdered (icing) sugar. In order to appreciate the contrast of hot and cold, serve the souffle with ice cream on top or aside.
How to make French souffle with pink praline – step by step
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, flour and half of sugar (photo 3). Pour the cream/praline mixture over the egg/sugar/flour mixture and mix (photo 4).
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, bring to a boil and stir without stopping. Once it thickens, pour into another bowl, add the remaining crushed pink praline (photo 5), mix and let cool.
In a clean and grease-free bowl, beat egg whites, using a hand whisk . Add vinegar and the remaining sugar, and continue to whisk until they are mounted (photo 6).
Take a few tablespoons of egg whites, add to the pink praline preparation and gently mix with a rubber spatula . Then add the remaining egg whites to the main preparation and gently combine. The preparation will be pink/white, not fully homogeneous which is fine (photo 7).
Pour the preparation into prepared ramekins (photo 8)…
run thumb around the inside of the dishes and tap ramekins well (photo 9). Bake on the lowest rack for 10-11 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking! Sprinkle top of the souffle with powdered (icing) sugar and serve immediately (photo 10).
- Make pink praline yourself or use store-bought pink crushed pralines .
- Crush pink praline into medium-sized pieces in order to make crunchy souffle. However, it might limit the lift of the souffle.
More delicious Valentine’s Day recipes you’ll love
- French Chocolate Ganache Tart Recipe
- Easy Blackberry Heart-Shaped Friands
- No-Bake Raspberry Oreo Cheesecake Recipe
- Browse all the Valentine’s Day Recipes
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French souffle with pink praline is an elegant and delicious dessert, a souffle lover’s dream. Light and fluffy, this beautiful pink dessert loaded with pink praline – pink candied almonds – is perfect for Valentine’s Day.
- 3.5 oz (100 g) pink praline
- 1/3 cup + 5 tsp (100 ml) heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 1/2 tsp (10 g) flour
- 3 1/2 tbsp (50 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (150 g) egg whites
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
Place pink praline in a food processor and crush until fine. Bring heavy cream and 3/4 of crushed pink praline in a saucepan over low heat and stir. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, flour and half of sugar. Pour the cream/praline mixture over the egg/sugar/flour mixture and mix. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, bring to a boil and stir without stopping. Once it thickens, pour into another bowl, add the remaining crushed pink praline, mix and let cool.
In a clean and grease-free bowl, beat egg whites, using a hand whisk . Add vinegar and the remaining sugar, and continue to whisk until they are mounted. Take a few tablespoons of egg whites, add to the pink praline preparation and gently mix with a rubber spatula . Then add the remaining egg whites to the main preparation and gently combine. The preparation will be pink/white, not fully homogeneous which is fine.
Pour the preparation into prepared ramekins , run thumb around the inside of the dishes and tap ramekins well. Bake on the lowest rack for 10-11 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking! Sprinkle top of the souffle with powdered (icing) sugar and serve immediately.
- Calories: 201
- Sugar: 18.5 g
- Sodium: 34 mg
- Fat: 10.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
- Fiber: 0.8 g
- Protein: 5.4 g
- Cholesterol: 93 mg
Keywords: French souffle, souffle recipe, how to make the perfect souffle, pink praline
The recipe was adapted from https://www.750g.com/. It was originally published on April 10, 2019. The recipe has been revised to include improved content and photos. All posted pictures are mine.