Cheese Soufflé

French Fridays with Dorie

Cheese Soufflé

I owe a lot to the Cheese Soufflé.

I’m pretty sure it was the dramatic allure of a Cheese Soufflé  that  coaxed my mother from the relative comfort of her mother’s recipe box towards a more exciting world full of culinary challenges and French flavors.

These were the days before All Clad.  Home cooks were happy with Revere Ware and because Julia said so, my mom went out to find a big copper bowl to whip her egg whites in.   This was when she set her sights on mastering the art of the soufflé.

My eight-year-old self would have a front row seat to watch her while she deftly conquered this tasty “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” French classic.     Eggs, milk, cheese, butter.    Who could have first imagined what sublime wonder could be spun from such ordinary ingredients?

After testing it out on my father before debuting it ‘live’ for her lucky company, the souffle quickly became her “signature dish.”   It was always timed perfectly and presented as her guests took their seats at the table.   Her guests would “ooh” and “aah” and marvel at their good fortune at having scored an invitation to her table. for invitations were beginning to be coveted.   The soufflé says you are in the hands of an accomplished home cook, that is,  if dishes can actually say such things.

My mom figured out what I think all of us who have actually cooked one knows:  the soufflé is much easier than it looks.   Its joys are open for the taking if you decide you are worth receiving them.

How is that for a metaphor for life?

Cheese Soufflé

The cheese soufflé is a definite confidence builder making it the perfect ‘first dish’ for serious learning in the kitchen.  Mom knew this from experience swhen it was my time in my life to need a little confidence in the kitchen.  When  I  needed some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of my own it was one of the first dishes she would set out to teach me.    Her experience told her that this dish could always get the job done.

Oooh and ahh your child and they are happy for a moment.   Teach them to get their own and they are happy for a lifetime.

It worked, of course, and my culinary journey was launched.

I owe a lot to the Cheese Soufflé.

The soufflé is this week’s French Fridays with Dorie assignment.  I didn’t want to miss this one as it has  been years since I actually made one.   A plain one that is although no soufflé deserves to be called “plain”.   Just recently, I’ve made spinach soufflés, leek soufflés, spinach and leek soufflés, chocolate soufflés, and even a Grand Marnier soufflé (another mom favorite); but I haven’t  made a Cheese Souffle — not since that year I set out to emulate mom’s cooking skills and score some little personal confidence.

In a rush to complete the dish while there was still daylight I had overlooked a few things.   My eggs were straight from the refrigerator and once I poured the mixture into the prepared dish I realized a bit late that the recipe was scaled for a 6 cup dish — the one size I don’t have.

It seems the soufflé still has some lessons for me:   read the recipe all the way through, always prep your ingredients before you start, and most of all, when nobody is looking, sneak in the new 6 cup soufflé dish you bought at Williams Sonoma.

Cheese Soufflé


   Cheese Soufflé
Cheese Soufflé

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. All my mother ever taught me in the kitchen was how to open a bag of potato chips. You are lucky – and you clearly learned your lessons well!

  2. Cooking was not a focal point in my house growing up – souffles certainly weren’t on the menu…
    A Grand Marnier souffle might be just the thing to sway me from my souffle ambivalence.
    P.S. Somehow I just managed to sneak in an entirely new pot & pan set over the weekend with no one being the wiser. How does anyone not notice that????

  3. Beautifully photographed! What lovely memories. Love your post, and, your souffle is perfect.

  4. Your photos are always so gorgeous!
    Spinach and leek souffle sounds like a must try.

  5. Anything that rises that proudly is definitely a confidence builder 😉 GREG

  6. Any excuse to buy a new baking dish is fine with me 🙂 Perfectly executed, Trevor…and now I’m dying to make a dessert soufflé.

  7. Fabulous!

  8. Gorgeous! Love your photos, everything looks perfect and I’m sure tasted amazing! Looking forward to your dessert souffles, chocolate, lemon?? Enjoy your weekend;-)

  9. I’m a much bigger fan of dessert souffles, methinks. Every now and then (ie, a few times a day) I stop and daydream about David Lebovitz’s Apricot Souffle.

  10. I may have to bite the bullet and purchase that 6-cup behemoth from Williams-Sonoma! Great photos and post!

  11. Your mother taught you well! Your souffle looks absolutely gorgeous! A great post with great photos! I’m still stuck on the Grand Marnier souffle…Yum!!

  12. Shhhhh…I got a new souffle mold too!
    Happy Cooking to you.

  13. Stunning & I loved the delicious Mom memories!

  14. My mom was a fantastic cook but she never attempted a souffle. When I was visiting her one time towards the end of her life she asked me to make one for her. I made a spinach souffle and she loved it! Yours has a beautiful golden brown cap!fit

  15. I loved your Mom-memory, your soufflé looks delicious and I cannot wait to finish this comment so I can read your “Thin Mint Cookie Scones” Post resipe and make some for Sunday morning’s breakfast!~ That being said, yes the cheese soufflé and what it says about Life is a perfect metaphor to live by. Nice Post. I was both a Girl Scout and a Girl Scout Leader. It’s almost un-American to not gobble down thos cookies! Mary Hirsch

  16. Amazing that one still forgets to read the recipe all the way through, isn’t it? I can’t tell you how often I’ve done that, and how often I’ve vowed, “never again.” But your souffle still turned out picture-perfect.

  17. Wonderful soufflé! And yes, it’s always a good idea to sneak something into he cart at Willaims Sonoma!

  18. I think half the fun of this cooking group is deciding when to give in to the temptation of buying new kitchen equipment.

    My mother’s a wonderful cook, but soufflé was not one of the dishes she’d ever made, so our soufflé on Thursday was a new cooking experience for all of us.

  19. Absolutely brilliant! How I miss Williams Sonoma. I’m sure I could bake a much better anything, including this soufflé if I took a wander through the store. 🙂

    These are beautiful!

  20. I have never made a souffle before, but you are correct-you have to be in the right state of mind. Ha-my mom would agree after to confessing to failures because she just was not in the “mood” to bake sometimes and she rushed through the recipes making mistakes.
    Your souffle looks like a delicious success. Also, my visit to the outlet mall landed me inside a huge William Sonoma outlet. I am ready to go back, I could spend hours there! Hope you are enjoying the weekend1

  21. Delicious looking soufflé. This was a totally new
    experience for me, but I loved making it. Speaking
    of Wm. Sonoma, Tricia and I are planning to go
    to a book signing for Giada De L. at the end of the month
    and can guarantee to find some goodies.

  22. My mom was an intrepid cook, but she never tried a souffle. Your mom rocks! And it sounds like you are quite the souffle chef. Even if you never made a “plain” one before, the other ones sound better anyway.

  23. What a great story. I love the idea of spinach and leek souffle – that sounds incredible, and so nice for spring. I’ve made both chocolate and cheese souffles, but your ideas make me want to branch out…

  24. What a fantastic post. We’ll be adding your gorgeous blog to our blog roll. Lovin’ it!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Looks beautiful!

  26. Love the metaphor on life to that of cooking a souffle. Looks delish!

  27. Great post.

  28. Love the story about your momma. I can imagine you watching her, the look in her eyes. Lovely post.

  29. Gorgeous souffle Trevor!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cheese souffle inspired me similarly but in a competitive vein: my mother made such a fuss over how hard it was, how heroic it was of her to produce one (why, it was so hard one simply had to unscrew the daily bottle of chardonnay that much earlier!), that I took it upon myself to master the technique.

    I quickly found, like you, that there was nothing to fear, here: it’s just a matter of diving in and getting on with it.

    No extra chardonnay required.