Pendergast: Soufflé Is Not Magic

Los Alamos

Does just reading that word “soufflé” fear and trepidation in your heart?

Soufflés are nothing more than little cakes and these little cakes are actually pretty darn resilient. Chef extraordinaire James  Beard shared that if you show “absolutely no fear … your soufflé will not fall”.

So with utter confidence, let’s make a soufflé.

A soufflé has a base, which should be highly seasoned to taste and a leavener (egg whites). These egg whites are instrumental as when whipped to their full capacity, provide the oomph and oomph is a great part of the allure of any soufflé … right up to that delicious first bite.

  • Bowl: use a copper bowl to make your beaten whites sturdier or add cream of tartar or a little lemon juice for the same effect.
  • Eggs: use the freshest you can find and have them at room temperature.
  • Separate: use your hands and not the egg-shells to ensure no yolks get into the egg whites.
  • Beat: the egg whites just until firm but soft peaks form. 
  • Fold: the peaks to incorporate air … stop when the incorporation seems complete … this is the trick … this is the science.

Soufflé. Courtesy photo

And finally, personal creativity comes into play as to what to add into the egg whites (herbs, spices, cheeses). Fold gently into a buttered ramekin or straight sided casserole.

Bake in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate or onto a salad and enjoy immediately.

Editor’s Note: Peggy Pendergast owns Peggy P’s Delicacies. She can be reached at


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