Soufflé in France

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Soufflé in France
Soufflé in France

A soufflé is a baked egg-based dish which originated in early eighteenth century France. It is 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. 

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Egg yolks
Egg yolks

Overview

The word souffle derives from the French word to ‘breath’ or ‘puff’, and it is an airy, baked egg dish with origins in early 18th-century France. Souffle is eaten savoury or sweet in France, and you’ve likely found chocolate souffle on desert menus worldwide. The crispy chocolate crust with an oozing, creamy chocolate centre gives this desert a sweet suprise.

The earliest mention of this food is attributed to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle, circa the early eighteenth century. The development and popularization of this food is usually traced to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early nineteenth century.

There are a number of both savory and sweet soufflé flavor variations. Savory soufflés often include cheese, and vegetables such as spinach, carrot and herbs, and may sometimes incorporate poultry, bacon, ham, or seafood for a more substantial dish. Sweet soufflés may be based on a chocolate or fruit sauce (lemon or raspberry, for example), and are often served with a dusting of powdered sugar. Frugal recipes sometimes emphasize the possibilities for making from leftovers.

Savory soufflés
Savory soufflés

Another variation is an ice cream soufflé, which combines with ice cream. Fruit or a hot dessert sauce, such as chocolate sauce, may also be used.