Baking a souffle can sometimes be quite a taxing process. If you’re not careful, then it can become overdone, or underdone, or it falls. Maybe it just cooks strangely, and one part is overdone and the other part isn’t cooked well enough. There is a simple solution, however… crowning the souffle. Not only does it help the souffle to cook more thoroughly, but it makes for a much nicer presentation than the basic souffle.
The first thing that you need when crowning a souffle is, obviously, a souffle. Use your favorite recipe for your souffle, and prepare it to the point where it’s ready to go into the oven. Smooth over the top of the souffle mixture, and then take a teaspoon and draw a shallow circle in the souffle batter using the bowl.
Be sure to draw your circle a little way in from the sides of the dish, as putting it on the very edge won’t be overly effective. Once you’ve drawn your circle, go ahead and put the souffle into the oven for the recipe’s recommended cooking time.
As the souffle bakes, the circle that you drew will be a weak point in the top crust. The souffle will begin to rise in the center first, and the crust will break at the circle. This will cause the center of the souffle to rise more than the edges, creating the “crown” effect. Of course, since the souffle will be able to rise more without the edge binding it down to the pan, the battery won’t be as thick in the center as it normally would be and the heat of the oven will be able to be distributed more thoroughly. The sides of the crown will begin baking as it rises as well, giving the souffle more stability and reducing the chances of falling.
Should you want to create an even more interesting effect, a small amount of food coloring can be added to the souffle in the circle that you draw to create the crown. As this is where the crust will break, the food coloring will be able to seep in slightly and color the sides of the crown (as well as the edges of the top and bottom.) This can result in a drastic difference between the standard crust of the souffle and the sides of the crown, creating an interesting effect that really sets off the crown. (Of course, the taste will be the same… but it’s all about the presentation.)
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to take your baking that extra step. Crowning your souffle adds a professional touch, and is just the beginning of what you can do. Once you’ve pulled your souffle from the oven, you might garnish it in different ways along with the crown, or you might try using a slightly larger spoon when creating the crown’s circle so that there will be a slight dip around the crown as well.
Try different things, and see what works for you… a culinary masterpiece might just be an experiment or two away, and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.