Today would have been Julia’s 100th birthday.
Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California. She moved to France in 1948 where she fell in love with French cooking. When I think of Julia, I think of her two-volume cookbook called Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was considered groundbreaking because it brought sophisticated French cooking to mainstream Americans.
My paperback copy of Volume 1 fell apart years ago, I used it so often. But even though I also have the hard copies of Volumes 1 and 2, I only used the paperback copy, which is still on my bookshelves.
During the years when she became a television icon with her popular cooking show, The French Chef, I was glued to the TV. You may also remember the time she dropped the Thanksgiving turkey on the kitchen floor. She shrugged and picked it up and said to the camera something like, “I won’t tell if you won’t.” I guess this was the start of the 10-second rule.
This basic Cheese Soufflé recipe is one of my favorites. It never ceases to impress guests and really, it isn’t hard to make.
I’ve copied the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, Julia Child, page 184.
“ This recipe is intended as a detailed guide to those that follow. All main-course soufflés follow this general pattern:
For 4 people
THE SOUFFLE SAUCE BASE
A 2 ½–pint soufflé mould, page 182
Preheat oven to 400 ℉., Mark 6
1 tsp butter 1 TBL grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
Measure out all your ingredients. Butter inside of soufflé mould and sprinkle with cheese.
2 oz. butter
A 4-pt saucepan
1 ½ oz flour
A wooden spatula or spoon
½ pint boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Melt the butter in the saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire whisk until blended. Beat in the seasonings. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whisk, for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick.
4 egg yolks
Remove from heat; Immediately start to separate the eggs. Drop the white into the egg-white bowl, and the yolk into the centre of the hot sauce. Beat the yolks into the sauce with the wire whisk. Continue in the same manner with the rest of the eggs. Correct the seasoning.
*May be prepared ahead to this point. Dot top of sauce with butter. Heat to tepid before continuing.
THE EGG WHITES AND THE CHEESE
5 egg whites
A pinch of salt
3 ounces coarsely grated Swiss or Swiss and Parmesan cheese.
Add an extra egg white to the ones in the bowl and beat with the salt until stiff, as described and illustrated, page 179. Stir a large spoonful (about one-quarter of the egg white) into the sauce. Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cheese. Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites.
BAKING. Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mould, which should be almost three-quarters full. Tap bottom of mould lightly on the table, and smooth the surface of the soufflé with the flat of a knife. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Place on a rack in the middle of a preheated 400 ℉., Mark 6 oven and immediately turn down to 375 ℉., Mark 5 (Do not open the door for 20 minutes.) In 25 to 30 minutes the soufflé will have puffed about 2 inches over the rim of the mould, and the top will be nicely browned. Bake 4 to 5 minutes more to firm it up, then serve at once.”