Souffles are one of the most challenging baked products to create. Chef Julia Child said in regard to achievement and her strawberry souffle, "The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least 28 times before I finally conquered it." Though there's no question souffles must be made in a precise manner, you must also consider the appropriate way to eat these delicate creations. The correct way to eat a souffle depends on the kind of souffle.
Eating Hot Suffles
Souffle translates as "puffed" in French. Made with a sauce or pastry cream base with flavorings and whipped egg whites added later, a good souffle expands and rises when baked. One key to eating a souffle is to start eating it before it falls. It's essential to have all condiments, sauces or accompaniments for the souffle on hand and everything ready before the souffle comes out of the oven. Have a tray with all you need on it right near the oven. That way, when the souffle comes out, it can go directly on the tray and be served immediately with all of the accompanying items.
Souffle Size Matters
How you eat a souffle depends on the size of the souffle. In a restaurant, souffles are typically served in individual ramekins. This makes eating it easier, as it's merely a matter of plunging a spoon directly into the ramekin. In Europe, desserts are typically eaten using a spoon. A fork is sometimes offered so you can push the dessert onto the spoon. With a hot dessert souffle, it's typical to forgo the fork. Even when a large souffle is spooned onto individual plates, a spoon is still the utensil of choice.
Exceptions to the Rule
The spoon guideline has a few exceptions when it comes to souffles. In a few rare cases, a fork is a more appropriate. For example, some savory souffles have a more substantial consistency and are not the typical light and airy creation that dessert souffles are known to be. Savory souffles, such as cheese or pumpkin, can even be flipped upside down onto a plate with the ramekin removed. Cold or frozen souffles can also be sturdy enough to warrant the use of a fork. When a frozen souffle is cut, it's comes out looking like a slice of cake, so eating it with a fork is acceptable.
Know how the souffle will be served. For example, if a green salad is on the side, serving the souffle on a plate with a fork makes sense. If, on the other hand, the souffle will have a sauce poured over it, using a spoon would be a better approach. In the end, no matter how the souffle is eaten, it's sure to be a mouthwatering treat.
- The New Professional Chef; Mary Deirdre Donnovan
- La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange; Madame E. Saint-Ange and Paul Aratow
Lize Brittin lives in Boulder, Colo. A writer since 2001, she is the author of the book "Training on Empty." Brittin has also written for publications such as Competitor, Active Cities, Boulder Magazine and Thrill. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University Of Colorado.