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A chocolate soufflé
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|Egg yolks, egg whites|
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A soufflé (French: [su.fle]) is a lightly baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means "to blow up" or more loosely "puff up"—an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.
Every soufflé is made from two basic components:
- a French crème pâtissière base/flavored cream sauce or purée
- egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue
The base provides the flavor and the whites provide the "lift". Foods commonly used for the base in a soufflé include cheese, jam, fruits, berries, chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a large amount of sugar).
When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and it will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).
Many choose to puncture the top of the souffle, and pour various types of liquid sauces (ex. chocolate, vanilla).
Soufflés can be made in containers of all shapes and sizes but it is traditional to make soufflé in ramekins. These containers vary greatly in size, but are typically glazed white, flat-bottomed, round porcelain containers with unglazed bottoms and fluted exterior borders.
There are a number of variations on the soufflé theme. One is an ice cream soufflé, which combines a soufflé with ice cream and either a fruit or a hot sauce.
In popular culture
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Due to soufflés' tendency to collapse quickly upon removal from the oven, they are frequently depicted in cartoons, comedies and children's programs as a source of humor. Often the gag involves a loud noise or poke causing the soufflé to collapse like a popped balloon, evoking the dejection of the character being served the anticipated dessert. On Arthur, the episode "Arthur's Family Feud" involves a soufflé that David Read baked in the oven until it fell on the floor when Arthur and D.W. slid into each other. They wanted to remake it after Pal cleaned up the mess.
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- Cooking For Engineers: Dark Chocolate Soufflé
- Full definition from Dufflet, with cold soufflé explanation