[soo-fley, soo-fley]
A soufflé is a light, fluffy, baked dish 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 2 basic components:

  1. a French Creme patissiere base/flavored cream sauce or purée
  2. 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 jam. fruits, berries, cheese, chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a good deal of sugar). When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).

Soufflés can be made in containers of all shapes and sizes but it is traditional to make soufflé in "soufflé cups" or 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. This combines a soufflé with ice cream and either a fruit or a hot sauce.

There are many variations, but there are different kinds of "soufflés" such as the Ice Cream Soufflé. Not to be mistaken with the one above. The Ice cream soufflé AKA glace soufflé is a cold treat which is sometimes soft and fluffy and cold or others variations include a meringue covered ice cream. A simple recipe of the ice cream soufflé is made from eggs, sugar, and whipped cream and frozen overnight. It can be eaten alone or topped with syrups.

In popular culture

The soufflé, because of its tendency to fall rather quickly, has been displayed in many forms of media, especially cartoons and children's programs, as very difficult to survive outside the oven for more than a short time. Some jest that a poke or a loud noise will make a soufflé collapse.


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