Let chef Ludo Lefebvre help you get over your fear of making soufflé. 

By Bridget Hallinan
September 04, 2019

There’s something so indulgent about soufflés—they’re rich, yet airy, and best served right out of the oven. The classic French dish can be prepared as sweet (think warm chocolate), or savory, loaded with melty cheese and béchamel sauce. In this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison, Ludo Lefebvre opts for the latter, bringing on his friend, The Walking Dead actress Alanna Masterson, to prepare the soufflés. Although people are often scared to make soufflé, he says, it’s actually not that complicated and comes together pretty quickly (45 minutes). And, with multiple layers of flavor brought on by freshly grated nutmeg, tangy goat cheese, cayenne pepper, and thyme, it’s the perfect dish for fall. Read on for Lefebvre’s key tips for making the dish.

Here’s the difference between béchamel and mornay

This dish has a béchamel base—one of France’s mother sauces—made with flour, butter, heavy cream, and half and half. Once you add cheese, Lefebvre explains, it becomes a mornay sauce. He and Masterson slowly whisk it until it thickens.

Seriously, be prepared to whisk

As Masterson quickly finds out, making béchamel involves a lot of constant whisking, and she gets tired. So keep that in mind before you make the recipe. 

Separating egg yolks doesn’t have to be hard

When Lefebvre tasks Masterson with separating the egg whites and egg yolks, he shows her an easy hack. You crack the eggs into one bowl, and then pick up and move the egg yolks into a separate bowl, careful to let the white drain through your fingers before you add them. Said yolks are then whisked into the béchamel, along with the goat cheese and seasonings. 

Don’t worry if you burn your sauce

While he and Masterson cook the béchamel, Lefebvre notices that it’s burned a little, pointing out black specks at the bottom of the pot. If this happens to you, don’t panic, as he says it’s fairly common. To save the sauce, you can pass it through a mesh strainer to remove the burned bits, and it’s good as new. To avoid burning all together, make sure you control the heat and really keep an eye on the sauce. 

Butter the ramekins

In order for the soufflés to come out of the ramekins smoothly, you need to butter them. Just take sure you don’t use melted butter—Lefebvre tells Masterson it won’t stick to the sides of the mold. 

Flip the egg whites

After about four minutes of whipping the egg whites in the stand mixer, flip the bowl upside down to check if they’re done. If they stay in the bowl and have formed stiff peaks, you’re all set to (slowly) fold them into the cheese mixture. 

Pop them in the oven

The soufflés need to cook for 10 to 12 minutes. This is the most tense stage of the recipe—Lefebvre says one little thing can happen and ruin the soufflés, such as them failing to rise or rising too much. When Masterson asks what happens if the soufflés don’t rise, Lefebvre says you’d have to start all over again. 

Eat them right away

When the soufflés are done cooking, Lefebvre and Masterson take them out of the oven and eat them right away, finishing them off with a light sprinkle of salt. The end result is light and savory, and Masterson gives it a big thumbs-up.

Get the recipe here.

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