Saturday, June 14, 2008
Culinary Adventures: Crab Souffle
I've had some cream in my fridge that is a few days shy of going off probably, and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. Likewise, I have a new terrine dish that I got for Christmas and have wanted to play with. So, I pulled a cookbook my aunt gave me off the shelf--it's the one with fancy meal elements that might work particularly for guests, like several types of deviled eggs, a beautiful potato and leek pie with phyllo dough, a whole chapter on brunches and fork lunches...you get the idea.
My notion was that I wanted to do the egg and asparagus terrine, so I looked it up and copied out the ingredients I didn't have onto my shopping list. I'll do it as soon as I have the asparagus and fresh herbs. But, flipping around, I ran straight into crab souffles. And I think for the first time with this book I had every ingredient already in the house, including the cream and crab meat (canned).
So, this afternoon I made some souffles. I only had four ramekins rather than six, but I found two small cake tins and used those for the extra. The mixing and cooking went okay. There was quite a lot of prep involved, but not terrible. I had trouble with burning the scallions, but simply picked them out again. I don't think I put quite enough curry powder in, either. I also think I did not quite whip the egg whites up enough. I used my hand mixer since I suck at whisking eggs (and cream. I use a whisk only for things that won't matter if I don't whisk properly). I got them pretty near, but I suspect maybe not quite, and I overfolded the whites into the sauce a bit. However, it looked all right and smelled awesome.
My oven has been kind of temperamental again lately, not keeping the proper temperature, and after the eight minutes baking time, the souffle tops were not brown. I had to leave them in longer, so the souffles got a bit overdone, I'm sure. Nevertheless, I pulled them out when they were golden and poofy, and they looked exactly like the picture. I know they were overcooked because they fell faster than they ought to have done...my sources tell me that 3-5 minutes is all you can expect from a hot souffle, and I think we made it about 2, maybe 2 and a half. Anyway, the picture above is post-fall. The good news is, I had one for my lunch and it tasted very nice. Obviously you're supposed to eat souffles right away, but the rest had to go in the fridge.
All in all, it was a noble experiment and for my first time making a proper souffle, I think it went rather well. I shall need to practice, but I was pretty pleased. It's sort of like the first time I made crepes...possibly it will never go so well again, but at least I had a good go.
Tomorrow I shall probably do the terrine.