The idea of making a souffle at the last minute is probably what frightens more people off than the supposed diffcult in creating it.
Over the years cooks have tinkered with the last-minute souffle concept to see if there were a way to have a hot souffle without the last minute flurry. Creative cooks have come up with some solutions. Though they will not produce the truly light, airy souffle from the traditional French recipe, they will do very nicely, thank you.
One recipe is for a souffle that can be put together completely three or four hours before baking. Another calls for making the souffle as much as several weeks in advance and freezing it before baking. The souffle is then baked just as it comes from the freezer. The third is called a repuffable souffle. It is baked ahead and can then be reheated.
A fourth recipe is the put-together-at-the-last-minute variety, but is included because it is ready to go into the oven in less than five minutes. This is something I concocted for dieters. It contains no flour or butter: just eggs, powdered skim milk and cheese, so there are less calories. It can be varied by the addition of cooked pureed vegetables. CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE THAT WAITS (8 servings) 5 egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar 4 drops vanilla 1 cup flour 2 cup milk 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted 3 egg whites Confectioners' sugar 1/3 pint heavy cream, whipped
Beat the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour until a paste is formed. Bring milk just to boil. Add egg mixture all at once to milk; bring to boil again and with wire whisk quickly beat until milk is completely mixed in with the paste and mixture is smooth. Continue stirring until mixture is as thick as a pastry cream. Add melted chocolate and stir until blended. Cool. Beat egg whites, gradually adding remaining 1/4 cup sugar while beating until mixture forms stiff, shiny peaks. Fold whites into batter and spoon into eight greased individual souffle dishes. Set aside, lightly covered, for up to four hours. To serve, bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until souffles are puffed. Serve immediately, topped with whipped cream. FROZEN INDIVIDUAL CHEESE SOUFFLES (4 servings) 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 4 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 1 cup hot milk 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan, etc.) 6 eggs, separated
Have ready 4 1-pint souffle dishes. Line the dishes with aluminum foil, fitting as snugly as possible and allowing for an overhang which will be used to cover the souffle tops during freezing and then act as collars during baking.
Melt butter. Blend in flour and seasonings and cook one minute.Remove from heat; slowly stir in hot milk until mixture is smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce thickens. Reduce heat; add cheese and stir until cheese is melted and blended. Cool for 5 minutes. Beat yolks well. Slowly add a little of cooled mixture to yolks, stirring vigorously. Then pour yolk mixture into cheese mixture and mix well. Beat whites until stiff but not dry. Flod whites into cheese base. Pour into souffle dishes and freeze (up to four weeks.) After mixture is frozen, remove souffle dishes and wrap souffles in foil.
To serve, return souffles to souffle dishes and make a collar out of the foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes and serve immediately. REPUFFABLE SHRIMP OR TUNA SOUFFLE (5 or 6 servings) 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 cup milk 1 cup finely chopped cooked shrimp or well-drained tuna 4 egg yolks 5 egg whites
Have ready a 2-quart buttered souffle dish. Melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and blend in cornstarch and seasonings. Slowly stir in milk until mixture is smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce boils and thickness, 5 to 6 minutes. Add shrimp or tuna. Remove from heat. Cool for 5 minutes. Beat yolks well. Slowly stir a little of cooled mixture into yolks, beat in vigorously. Return yolk mixture to shrimp mixture and mix well. Beat whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into shrimp base. Pour into souffle dish and set in shallow pan containing an inch of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.
To repuff, leave souffle in dish, set dish in shallow pan with one inch hot water.Rebeat at 350 degrees until puffed, about 25 to 30 minutes.
NOTE: Variations can be made with chicken, turkey, cooked vegetable in place of the fish. DIETER'S SOUFFLE (2 servings) 4 eggs, separated 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated cheese 2 tablespoons powered skim milk
Beat yolks lightly; stir in cheese and milk powder. Beat whites until soft peaks form. Fold into cheese mixture. Spoon into ungreased 2-cup souffle dish and bake at 425 degrees for 10 to15 minutes, until puffed and brown