Secrets for Successful Souffles

Souffles are made from an egg yolk-based custard that is lightened with beaten egg whites. This mixture bakes up into a light airy creation that makes an impressive dessert.

The following guidelines help ensure success when baking a souffle:

Separate eggs when they are old. Let the separated eggs or egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating.

Make sure there are no specks of egg yolk in the white.

Before beating egg whites, removing all fat residue from you mixing bowl and beaters by washing them thoroughly in hot soapy water and drying with a clean kitchen towel. Use metal or glass mixing bowl. Plastic bowls, even freshly washed and dried ones, may have an oily film on them.

To lighten the batter, fold about a third of the beaten egg whites into the custard base. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Spoon or pour custard into baking dish. Souffles rise two to three times the volume of the batter. A four-egg souffle should be baked in a 1-1/2- to 2-qt. dish.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated oven according to recipe directions.

A souffle is done when the top feels firm and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

A souffle will fall slightly one it's removed from the oven. For best results, serve the souffle immediately.

An unbaked souffle may be refrigerated up to two hours before baking or frozen for 3 weeks. Thaw a frozen souffle in the refrigerator before baking. A frozen souffle will not bake up as high as a freshly prepared souffle.