Making a souffle can seem like a chore but it doesn't have to. Unless one plans to make this dessert the traditional way, they can get things done much simpler with refinements. The recipe has actually come a long way and doesn't require all of the ingredients, making the process a little faster. In fact, professional bakers have discovered from experimentation that they can get away with just three ingredients.

Only three ingredients, no seriously

Traditionally, a souffle recipe requires half a dozen ingredients, depending on the variation. However, not all of these ingredients are necessary. For those who are still unfamiliar with souffle, it's basically a baked custard much like a creme brulee, though the former isn't as thick and rises much like a cake through leavening.

The formula starts with a base (dairy/chocolate/puree/cheese) simmered in a double boiler, then thickened with a sabayon (eggs+sugar+flour/cornstarch) and leavened with whipped egg whites.

For a 3-ingredient souffle, one of the thickening agents is omitted. Instead, the base will pull double duty; acting as a substitute for the one omitted. This is already a thing considering that some bases like chocolate contain their own fat and thus act as natural thickening agents. Therefore, a baker can cut back on other thickening agents for the recipe like the flour or cornstarch used in the sabayon. They could also increase the remaining thickening agents to fill the gap.

The below recipe is for a vanilla-flavored souffle.

The formula will call for half-and-half as both its base and thickener. As for flavoring, this recipe will call for vanilla-infused sugar for convenience. Remember, it's just three ingredients, though it could also use a pinch of salt for the whites o the safe side.

Additionally, the recipe can be adapted to make almost any kind of souffle regardless of base.

Further down is a list of variations to help bakers get a feeling of its flexibility.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter for greasing ramekins
  • Sugar for dusting ramekins
  • 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature and separated (2 yolks, 4 whites)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Use butter to grease the insides of 4 ramekins or a souffle dish. Cover the buttered insides with the sugar and set aside in a refrigerator.
  2. Pour the half-and-half into a double boiler and bring to a simmer. Separate the yolks from the whites in bowls and remove two of the former to be used for another recipe. Whisk the yolks and half of the vanilla sugar together until pale and smooth.
  3. Pour some of the heated half-and-half into the yolk/sugar mixture and whisk together to temper it. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue whisking everything together while it simmers until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat. This is your custard.
  4. Beat the egg whites and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining vanilla sugar to the whites while they beat. Continue beating until they form firm peaks. This is your meringue. Turn off the electric mixer.
  5. Add 1/4 of the meringue to the custard and fold together using a rubber spatula until fully combined. Fold in the remaining meringue until fully combined.
  6. Transfer the custard to the ramekins/souffle dish. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the souffle rises and is crusty on the outside but soft and springy in the center. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves: 6

Variations

  • Cinnamon - Substitute cinnamon sugar for the vanilla sugar.
  • Chocolate - Substitute melted chocolate for half-and-half.
  • Cheesecake - Substitute softened cream cheese for the half-and-half.
  • Fruit - Substitute fruit puree for the half-and-half.
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