Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Lemon Blue Cheese and Strawberry Souffle Overhead
Roquefort Strawberry Soufflés


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



Today's Tuesday Tutor: Fragrant Vanilla Cake

My tutor today is Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake, a marvelous blog filled with all kind of delicious desserts and creative inspirations. Amy's beautiful desserts have frequently been featured in Food Fetish Friday and Amy was even a Featured Foodie of the series - check out her interview. And recently, I've become fascinated with her exploration of raw cheesecakes - glamourous, decadent and no baking required!

But despite how tempted I was by these raw cheesecakes, I couldn't resist attempting today's recipe for Roquefort Strawberry Soufflés. I've never made a soufflé before and as I read through Amy's ingredient list, I knew I'd never seen a more surprising pairing of flavors: salty roquefort blue cheese, sweet strawberries, and tart lemon. I was so curious, how could I resist?

About the Author
  1. "I used to actually hate to cook before senior year of high school. Now of course I cannot get enough time in the kitchen!"
  2. "I would much rather receieve a boquet of fresh herbs than flowers."
  3. "I love to run as much as I love to cook/bake."
  4. "I used to make cookie sculptures for my senior art class in college because I was more interested in baking than art at that point and it was a way to combine the two."
  5. "The first layer cake I ever made when I was about 18 crumbled to pieces and we ate it as a big frosted pile of crumbs. Luckilly I have more skill now!"



Original recipe courtesy of Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Zesting Lemon
There are a lot of steps to this recipe but they're all simple to follow. Much of the work involves
eggs, but the first step is to prepare your lemon zest. Depending on the size of your lemons, you
will likely need 2-3 lemons for 2 Tablespoons of zest

Juicing Lemons
You will also need fresh lemon juice - I was using larger lemons, so I only needed about 1 1/2
lemons but if you're using smaller lemons, you may need more...

1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
Squeeze the lemon juice into a liquid measure - you will need 1/3 cup in total

Fresh Strawberries
Next, prepare your fresh strawberries

Hulled Strawberries
Hull the strawberries...

Sliced Strawberries
...and slice or dice them finely. These will be mixed into the final soufflé so I kept my pieces
fairly small. You will need about 1 cup of strawberry pieces

Goat Milk
Now to begin in the custard-like base for the soufflés - it all starts with a cup of goat milk

Goat Milk in Saucepan
Add the goat milk to a medium sauce pan

Goat Milk Heated
Bring the goat milk to a simmer, then remove from heat and set aside while you separate your eggs

6 Large Eggs
You will need 4 egg yolks and 6 egg whites, separated. I recommend using 3 bowls for to
separate your eggs: 1 bowl for yolks, 1 bowl for egg whites, and 1 bowl to separate the egg
over before adding the white to the rest of your egg whites. This 3-bowl method will ensure
that if a tiny bit of yolk gets into one of your egg whites it doesn't contaminate all the other egg
whites you have already successfully separated. Trust me - it's better than going through 12
eggs to get 6 egg whites without any yolk contamination. 

Egg Whites and Yolks Seperated
Regardless of how you get to this point, you should now have 6 egg whites and 4 egg yolks

Mixing Bowl and Wire Whip
To beat the egg yolks, I used my stand mixer and the wire whip attachment

Granulated Sugar
Add 1/2 cup sugar to your bowl...

Egg Yolks and Sugar
...add your separated egg yolks...

Yolks and Sugar in Mixer Bowl
And beat them together on medium-high speed...

Egg Yolks and Sugar at Ribbon Stage
...until they're lightened in color and form a ribbon as shown. This take about 3-5 minutes.

Corn Starch
Next comes corn starch

Corn Starch Added to Egg Yolk Ribbon
Add two tablespoons of corn starch to the yolk mixture...

Beating in Corn Starch
...and beat together until well combined. You will likely need to scrape down the sides and
bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate the corn starch.

Goat Milk Transferred to Saucemaker
Next you will add the goat milk. I found it easier to pour the goat milk into a measure before
adding to the yolk mixture because pouring a slow drizzle with a pan can be tricky

Pouring Goat Milk into Egg Yolks
With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the goat milk

Beating in Goat Milk
Mix until the goat milk is fully incorporated into the yolks

Whisking Custard Over Heat
Pour the yolks back into the pan used to heat the goat milk and whisk over medium-high heat
for 5 minutes or so until the mixture thickens

Custard Thickening
Make sure to whisk continuously or you will end up with a lumpy mess. The thickening happens
really fast, so be ready to remove the pan from heat as soon as it starts to thicken.

Custard Finished
You will end up with a thick custard-like consistency

Custard Transferred to Cooling Dish
Pour the "custard" mix into a shallow pan - this will help it to cool much more rapidly

Zest Added to Custard
Add your lemon zest and juice to the custard

Juiced and Zest Whisked into Custard
Whisk the mixture until smooth, spread out in an even layer in the pan, and let rest at room
temperature until completely cooled. If you're using a pan similar to this, it should only take
about 10-15 minutes.

Five 7 oz Ramekins
While the "custard" cools, you will have time to prepare your ramekins. I used five 7 oz ramekins
for this recipe and found that it worked out perfectly. Amy originally used four 8 oz mugs
for her souffles.

Organic Coconut Oil
You will need a LITTLE coconut oil for greasing the ramekins. I scooped some out of the jar
just so you can see the consistency of coconut oil at room temperature. You will need to warm
about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to melt it for greasing your ramekins. You could also use
organic shortening in place of the coconut oil. Just grease each ramekin thoroughly.

Granulated Sugar for Coating Ramekins
Next you will coat your greased ramekins with sugar. Just add a little sugar to each ramekins
and tilt the ramekins around to coat the bottom and all sides. Tap out excess sugar.

Sugar Coated Ramekins
Ramekins are now ready for the soufflés. Now is the time to preheat your oven to 375F and
to position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of your oven. This is important to ensure soufflés
puff up during baking...

Blue Cheese
Next, crumble your blue cheese. If you're not a big fan of blue cheese, you may want to cut
back from 4 oz to 1 or 2 oz of cheese...

Cooled Custard Transferred to Large Bowl
Once the "custard" is cooled, transfer to a large bowl. This will make it much easier to fold in
the whipped egg whites without deflating them...

Egg Whites in Clean Mixer Bowl
To whip the egg whites, add them to a perfectly clean metal or glass bowl (I used the stand
mixer for this part, but you could also do this with a hand held mixer). The bowl MUST best
clean and without even the slightest hint of grease, oil or fat - otherwise the egg whites will
never mount to their full potential...

Adding Salt to Egg Whites
Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to the egg whites

Whisking Egg Whites to Foamy Stage
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute

Adding Cream of Tarter to Foamy Egg Whites
Add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter. This is an acid that will help stabilize the egg whites as they
whip and help them mount to their full potential.

Whipping Egg Whites to Stiff Peaks
Whip the egg whites on high speed for about 2 minutes until...

Egg Whites Whipped to Stiff Peaks
...the egg whites form stiff peaks off the end of your whip. Just don't over-whip the egg whites
or they will become dry and the moisture will fall out of the egg whites down the sides of the
bowl. So watch the egg whites carefully towards the end of the whipping and check for peaks
frequently...

Adding 1/4 of Egg Whites to Custard
Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the "custard" and stir gently to combine and lighten the mixture

Lighted Custard
Once combined, the mixture will have doubled in volume in your bowl

Blue Cheese Crumbled into Custard
Add your crumbled roquefort

Strawberries Added to Custard
Add your strawberry pieces

Remaining Egg Whites Added to Custard
Add the remaining egg whites

Folding in Egg Whites
And fold everything together gently. Use the classic folding technique and work carefully so
you do not deflate the egg whites while combining.

Custard and Egg Whites Folded Together
As soon as the mixture is combined, STOP folding. You're ready to divide the mixture out into
the individual ramekins. I found that a bowl with pour spouts like the one shown really helps
when transferring the soufflé to the ramekins...

Souffle Mixtured Added to Ramekins
Once in the ramekins, clean the rims of each ramekin by running your thumb around the lip
of each dish. In this photo, I have cleaned the ramekin in the bottom right corner. Cleaning
the rim of each dish allows the soufflés to rise beautifully...

Ramekins Spaced Evenly on Baking Sheet
Once you have cleaned the rims of each ramekin, place gently on a baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Ramekins Puffed in Oven
Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden on top. 

Souffles Ready to Serve
Serve immediately - after staring for a few moments in awe that the soufflés came out so
perfectly, of course :)

Souffle Ready to Eat
The soufflés will start collapsing quickly, so don't waste too much time plating ;)

Bite from Souffle
Savory, salty, and sweet - and such a light yet rich flavor all in one little ramekin...


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Did you see how beautifully these soufflés puffed up? I was never so amazed when I opened the oven and saw these perfectly puffed little soufflés staring back at me. I must admit, heart did a little flip-flop of happiness - I couldn't ask for a more successful first attempt at soufflé thanks to Amy's clear and precise instructions.
     
  • If you LOVE roquefort blue cheese and would happily eat it by the spoonful, you will love these soufflés - the roquefort is the dominating flavor, intensified by the sea salt and lemon. The little sweet bits of strawberry contrast sharply against the saltiness of the cheese. However, if you're not such a big fan of roquefort, steer clear or cut back dramatically on the blue cheese. Although I enjoy roquefort in moderation, these were a bit too intense for me.
     
  • Make sure to invite a couple of friends over to help you scarf these soufflés hot from the oven. The soufflés will immediately begin to deflate once they leave the oven, so you really do need to serve immediately for the best flavor and texture. Within 10 minutes, soufflés will have collapsed by about 1/4 of their original puffed height...
     
  • There are 3 keys to gorgeous soufflés that I learned in following Amy's recipe: oil and dust your ramekins, don't deflate the egg whites when folding them into the soufflé, and clean the rims of your ramekins. I'm still in awe of how beautifully these puffed up and I think I've finally conquered my fear of soufflé - thank you, Amy!

17 comments:

  1. Your souffles turned out beautifully! Thanks again for including me and my recipe on your blog! Have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Danny @ Boy & the RabbitJuly 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Oh wow, that batter looks truly decadent- so creamy! I love the addition of goat milk and blue cheese, never understood people who don't love some good blue cheese :) Thanks for featuring Fragrant Vanilla Cake, such an inspiring blog!

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  3. Maybe about a month ago or so I made my first souffle. It was a lot of step, but I was surprised by how "do-able" it is for a non-baker like myself. Your souffle turned out so beautifully and captured the right moment when the souffle is maximum high! You will see one day when I post my first souffle... :D It was one of the toughest photoshoot ever because I kind of forgot how quickly it collapses. Thanks for introducing a new blogger for me!

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  4. You did a wonderful job. They look perfect!

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  5. Thank you so much for being my tutor today, Amy - it was a lot of fun and I can't believe I now know how to make soufflés! Your recipe worked perfectly...

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  6. The soufflés really did come together beautifully and all the credit goes to Amy. And if you enjoy blue cheese, I'm sure you'll love these soufflés - they pack a healthy punch of flavor!

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  7. I guess soufflés really are "baked" dishes, but I feel it's really more about cooking than baking because all the magic happens outside the oven - the whipping of the egg whites, the making of the "custard", the prepping of the dishes, etc. But you're right - it was a lot of steps but none of them were difficult and the soufflés really weren't that scary after all. I can't wait to see your recipe when you post and yeah, they do deflate really fast. I was scrambling to get the photos snapped ;)

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  8. Thanks so much for the kind words - I had a very good tutor!

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  9. What to say this souffle' must be so tasty! I love the recipes of this blog. You have presented it to us very well!

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  10. The soufflé recipe was a very good one - Amy was a great tutor and I learned so much in the process. And I hope you enjoy Amy's blog - she's so creative and always makes such beautiful food...

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  11. What an awesome tutorial! That texture looks freaking amazing!

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  12. Amy was an excellent tutor and the texture of the soufflé was exactly what I would have expected - silky and quite rich from the roquefort...

    ReplyDelete
  13. mjskit @ mjskitchen.comJuly 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Your souffles certainly are gorgeous! You should be proud to serve these in a restaurant! Great job Javelin and wonderful tutorial! I too like blue cheeses in moderation, so - even though this recipe sounds and LOOKS marvelous, I would cut way back on the cheese. Gorgeous!

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  14. Thank you for the kind words, MJ - I have to give all the credit to Amy's recipe because I was an utter novice when it came to making these... And I think blue cheese is one of those flavors that you simply adore, positively hate, or eat sparingly. I tend to be in the third category because there's almost no food or flavor I positively hate.

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  15. I love the step by step pictures! Always very helpful. Thank you for sharing on Foodie Friday last week! I've featured your recipe today!

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  16. The step-by-step pictures would be nice if they didn't translate into a 25-page printout. A summarized recipe in a box that prints out on its own in one page without all of the photos would be helpful. There is just no way that I am going to store a 25 page recipe, no matter how delicious it looks. Sorry to be a pain, but this is just a rampant problem among the food blogger community and it drives me crazy. This literally printed out 25 pages. :-(

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  17. JoAnne, thank so much for your feedback - it's always appreciated and it certainly is invaluable to me. You're right - there's no way I would want (or bother) to print off 25 pages just to make a recipe (heck, I won't even print off a single page most of the time because I hate dealing with formatting and pictures and what not) - so I completely understand your frustration and I deeply regret your experience. You have my sincere apologies...


    In the case of this post, I am actually featuring another blogger's recipe (Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake) and since it is her recipe, I don't reprint it here in these Tuesday Tutor posts. These posts are meant to celebrate the creations of other bloggers but were not intended to include all the steps or ingredients for the recipe (since it's not my recipe at all). I can certainly see how this would be confusing, so after your experience I will include a statement at the beginning of future Tuesday Tutor posts instructing readers to jump over to the original author's blog for the printable and full-text recipe.


    Thank you again so much for your feedback and for your convenience, here is the link to the original recipe published by Amy without all the pictures:
    Roquefort Strawberry Soufflés (http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com/2011/07/roquefort-strawberry-souffles.html)

    ReplyDelete