Corn Souffle (and a book review!)
These terrible pictures do not do justice to this ridiculously good souffle from Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet.
This book covers baking basics, breads, pies, turnovers, dumplings, tarts, fruit, cookies, bars, brownies, cakes, custards, puddings, cheesecakes, souffles, meringues, choux, and–my favorites–basic recipes and baking techniques to help you refine and enlighten your own recipes.
Mushet encourages you to experiment, to modify, and above all, to know.
Following sixty information-packed pages on basic techniques and equipment, Mushet includes small sections by recipes and chapters called “What the Pros Know.” Here she describes the mechanics of recipes, and gives you the knowledge to fine-tune her recipes to your liking without causing a flop. She explains how to use corn starch as a thickener, how to store and revive cookies, and a whole host of other useful snippets to help not only expand your repitorie of recipes, but your knowledge of the kitchen. This book is not about repeating recipes as they are, but a goregous guide on becoming a five-star home cook.
My only complaint about this book is that it’s too huge to read while commuting. It’s huge and super heavy. Okay, but really, who could complain about getting more from your cookbook?
Cindy Mushet’s Corn Souffle
*She serves this with a red pepper sauce, a recipe for which she includes in her book :)
**Here’s a tidbit from Mushet’s two-page primer on souffles: “When whipping egg whites, make sure that your mixing bowl and whisk or beaters are perfectly clean. Begin whipping on low to medium-low until the whites look frothy, then turn the mixer to medium and beat until the whites hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl… If you are not adding sugar, be very cautious when whipping to firm peaks because it’s easy to go too far without the added moisture and elasticity of sugar. You can save overbeaten whites by adding another egg white to the mixture and stirring it until well incorporated, but since the ratio of ingredients is now out of whack and the whites are not at their optimum volume, your souffle will have a tenser texture and will not rise as high as expected.
- 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp fine cornmeal
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) finely grated parmesean cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Make the bechamel: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and paprika. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the flour mixture, and whisk well to remove any lumps. Return to the heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat again and add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the corn kernels and continue to cook through. Remove the heat and whisk in the Parmesean, basil, and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and position an oven rack in the bottom third. Generously butter the souffle dish (71/2 cup dish), coat it with finely grated Parmesan, and tap out the excess.
- Whip the egg whites: In the very clean bowl of the stand mixer, whip the 6 egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until they form firm peaks. You may also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl. Be careful not to overbeat. With the spatula, gently stir in one-fourth of the egg whites into the bechamel to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites until there are no more streaks of whites.
- Fill the Dish and Bake: Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 18 to 22 minutes longer, until set and firm to the touch.