Julia Child’s

The Way to Cook

© 1989 by Julia Child (A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)

“Soufflé for dessert – it invariably brings excitement and always pleasure. You can make a dessert soufflé using the usual béchamel white-sauce base, of a pastry cream crème pâtissière base, but I prefer the following bouillie, which I think makes a lighter soufflé.”

 Master Recipe

Vanilla Soufflé

“Like vanilla ice cream, vanilla soufflé is always attractive since, good as it is by itself, you can add to your pleasure by accompanying it with fruits or a marvelous sauce…”

For a 6-cup dish, serving 4

  • A little soft butter and granulated sugar for the dish
  • The bouillie sauce base
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter, optional
  • 5 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar in a fine-meshed sieve

Special Equipment Suggested:

A 6-cup baking dish such as a charlotte mold 3 1/2 inches deep; aluminum foil; a 2 1/2-quart stainless saucepan; a whisk, a wooden spoon, and a rubber spatula; egg-white beating equipment

Preliminaries: Butter the baking dish, roll the sugar around in it to cover the bottom and sides, and pin on an aluminum foil collar [see master soufflé recipe]. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and set the rack in the lower third level. Measure out all the ingredients listed [mise en place!].

The bouillie sauce base. Whisk the flour and half of the milk in the sauce-pan to blend; beat in the rest of the milk and the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon over moderately high heat until the sauce thickens, then whisk as the sauce comes to the boil; continue boiling and whisking for 30 seconds. The sauce will be very thick; let cool for a moment, then beat the egg yolks one by one into the warm sauce. Beat in the optional butter.

The egg whites. In a clean separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until foaming; add the salt and beat to soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar, and beat to stiff shining peaks as described [master soufflé recipe].

Finishing the soufflé. Whisk the vanilla into the sauce base, and stir in a quarter of the egg whites to lighten it. Delicately and rapidly fold in the rest of the egg whites and turn the soufflé into the prepared mold.

Ahead-of-time note: The soufflé may be completed to this point 1/2 hour or more ahead; cover loosely with a sheet of foil and set away from drafts.  Baking – 30 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees F and 375 degrees F. Set in the lower third of the preheated oven, turn the thermostat down to 375 degrees F, and bake until the soufflé has begun to puff and brown – about 20 minutes.

The confectioners sugar, and finish. Slide the rack out gently; quickly dust the top of the soufflé with sifted confectioners sugar, and continue baking until the soufflé has puffed 2 to 3 inches over the rim of the baking dish into the collar, and the top has browned nicely under the sugar coating – see “When is it done?” [in the master soufflé recipe].

Serving. As soon as it is done, bring the soufflé to the table. To keep the puff standing, hold your serving spoon and fork pright and back to back; plunge them into the crust and tear it apart.

Special Note- Vanilla beans have lost their savor for me and I have sadly given them up.  However, if you are lucky enough to find good ones, you can, for instance, slit 2 of them in half and bury them several days in a jar with a pound of granulated sugar, or warm a whole bean for 20 minutes in a covered sauce-pan with the milk you are using for the soufflé.

 Orange Soufflé Grand Marnier

Follow the directions for the master recipe but make a fresh orange flavoring by puréeing in a blender or food processor the zest (orange part of the peel) of 1 large orange with the sugar called for in the sauce base. After completing the sauce base, beat in 3 tablespoons of orange liqueur but only 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Proceed with the recipe. You might accompany the soufflé with prettily prepared and arrange fresh skinless orange segments flavored with a little sugar and orange liqueur.

Fresh strawberry or raspberry sauce is attractive with the soufflé, or fresh berries, or sliced fruits such as mangoes or peaches tossed with sugar and lemon. Chocolate sauce, Zabaione sauce, and caramel sauce are other ideas. [Julia’s sauce recipes are included in the cookbook.]

 Chocolate Soufflé

“This is the best formula for chocolate soufflé I have run into so far – it has a fine chocolate flavor, a subtle texture, and it holds up well for serving.  The secret is in the egg whites, which are beaten into a meringue – 6 egg whites held up with 1/2 cup of sugar. The formula is slightly different from the preceding master recipe, but the technique is the same.”

For a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish, 7 1/2 to 8 inches in diameter, serving 8

7 ounces sweet baking chocolate smoothly melted with

1/3 cup strong coffee [method below]

 The sauce base

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons butter, optional

A big pinch of salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 egg yolks

6 egg whites (3/4 cup)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Confectioners sugar in a fine-meshed sieve

Optional accompaniment: lightly whipped cream flavored with confectioners sugar and pure vanilla extract

Preliminaries. Melt the chocolate, measure out all the other ingredients listed, butter the soufflé dish, surround it with a foil collar [see master recipe], and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

The soufflé base. Following directions in the master [dessert] recipe, whisk the flour and milk together and boil slowly, this time for 2 minutes, whisking. Off heat, whisk in the optional butter, the salt, and the vanilla, then the egg yolks, and finally the smoothly melted chocolate.

The egg whites. In a clean separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, gradually sprinkle in the 1/2 cup sugar, and beat to stiff shining peaks, as described [in the master recipe].

Combining ingredients. Ladle the chocolate sauce base down the side of the egg-white bowl, rapidly fold the two mixtures together, and turn the soufflé into the prepared baking dish.  Baking – 50 to 60 minutes at 425 degrees F and 375 degrees F. Set the soufflé in the lower level of the preheated oven and turn the thermostat down to 375 degrees F.

Confectioners sugar, finishing, and serving. In 35 to 40 minutes the soufflé will have puffed and risen an inch or so over the rim of the dish. Following directions in the preceding master recipe, rapidly sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar, then finish the baking, and serve as directed; pass the optional whipped cream separately.

To Melt Chocolate

“Chocolate can be a complicated subject when you are making candies or chocolate coverings that must be utterly professional, clear, and shining. Fortunately we are not going into such mysteries here – the main concern is that the chocolate be smoothly melted, and that means not overheating it. Overheating will cause it to seize, to turn hard and grainy; it will melt smoothly at around 100 degrees F. I know that some cooks swear by the microwave, but I prefer the following simple and straightforward system, where I am in complete control.”

To Melt Chocolate with Liquid Flavoring

Most of the recipes in this book call for chocolate melted in a small amount of liquid flavoring, such as coffee or rum. The minimum amount of liquid is 1 tablespoon per 2 ounces of chocolate – you can add more but not less or the chocolate will stiffen.

Special Equipment Suggested: A 2-cup moderately heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid; a larger saucepan or frying pan to hold it

Break up the chocolate into the 2-cup pan and add the rum or coffee.

Pour 2 to 3 inches of water into the larger pan and bring it to the simmer. Remove from the heat, let cool 15 seconds, cover the chocolate pan tightly, and set it in the hot water. In 5 minutes the chocolate should be smoothly melted – if not, reheat the water in the larger pan to below the simmer, remove from the heat, return the chocolate pan to it, and stir until the chocolate is smooth and glistening.