If you were to ask me which dish is the most difficult to shoot , I would tell you it is Soufflé! Wikipedia: 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 savoury 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 custardand egg whites.
I like how soufflé looks - very cute, fluffy, and pretty! The most important thing to make a good soufflé is to beat egg whites to a soft peak meringue. It’s not that difficult to achieve this nowadays if you have electric whisk or your Kitchen Aids stand mixer. As soon as you master the base, you can basically create as many flavours as you want, savoury to sweet - not a problem!! When you attempt to make a soufflé, there’s only one objective: it’s like you want to make a pretty hat for your ramekin!
Now, why is it so difficult to shoot soufflé particularly? Well, they get puffed up in the oven after about 15-20 minutes, so gorgeous! Once you get then out of the oven, you have probably 5-7 minutes to shoot your beautiful soufflé before it falls or ‘deflated’!!
My experience is:
1. Get your background/setting ready before cooking. Try to have a simple setting, as the ’star’ is the soufflé.
2. Think of colour and size of the ramekin that you want to use to match your setting.
3. If you are using tripod, set it up and try a few shots with empty ramekin(s) to get your lighting right. Also, try on different angles and settle for the one that you like most.
4. Have the props that you want to use near to your setting. If you want to add a spoon/fork/saucer/napkin/glass….etc, make sure they can be reached easily as time is precious!
5. Shooting tethered and using a remote - this helps you to concentrate and will also help you to determine if you have achieved what you wanted in a bigger screen. Thus, allowing you to take more shots if needed (while the soufflé is still puffy!!).
6. Try to stay calm all the time and don’t think of the time constraint you have.
So, you want to try this gorgeous and yummy soufflé, below is the recipe that I used.
Recipe: Cheese Soufflé (Soufflé au Fromage) by Michel Roux
Softened butter, to grease dishes, 50g
Gruyère, grated, to coat dishes, 50g
Plain flour, 20g
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Medium egg yolks, 6
Medium egg whites, 10
Gruyère or Comté, finely grated, 240g
1. Generously grease the insides of 8 standard 8cm ramekins (or four 10cm soufflé dishes) with the softened butter. Put about 50g grated Gruyère into one dish, rotate it to coat the inside, then tip the excess into another ramekin. Repeat to coat them all.
2. To make the béchamel, melt the 20g butter in a pan. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk, to make a roux. Still stirring, add the cold milk and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Let bubble for a minute or two, then pour the béchamel into a bowl. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and cayenne, then whisk in the egg yolks. Cover the bowl with cling film and let cool slightly.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Immediately mix one-third of the egg whites into the warm soufflé mixture with a whisk, then, using a large spoon, fold in the rest with one hand while showering in the grated Gruyère with the other. Stop as soon as the mixture is amalgamated.
4. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins to come 5mm above the rim. Smooth the surface with a palette knife, then use a knife tip to ease the mixture away from the side of each ramekins to help it rise.
5. Stand the ramekins in a deep ovenproof dish lined with a sheet of greaseproof paper and pour in enough almost-boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Bake the soufflés for 4 minutes (or 6 minutes for the 10cm dishes). Put the cooked soufflés on individual plates and serve at once ? they won?t wait!