Thursday, February 11, 2016

HFF: History Detective

Cue the world's ugliest looking meal

3. History Detective (January 29 - February 11) For this challenge, you get to be the detective! Either use clues from multiple recipes to make a composite recipe, or choose a very vague recipe and investigate how it was made.

I opted to make a soufflé from Traité General de la Cuisine Maigre by August Helié (1897). Original text:
Soufflé à la Parmentier:
Beurrez un moule à Charlotte grassement, chemisez-le légèrement avec de la chapelure blonde; faites cuire des pommes de terre à la vapeur ou au four; lorsqu'elles sont cuites, les passer au tami, les beurrer en les maniant à la cuillère dans une casserole, leur adjoindre une bonne poignée de fromage de gruyère râpé trois jaunes et trois blanc fouettés; emplissez votre moule et faites-le cuire à four modéré; lorsqu'il est cuit, démoulez-le sur un plat et arrosez-le avec du beurre noisette.
My translation:
Soufflé à la Parmentier:
Butter a Charlotte mold well, cover lightly with breadcrumbs; cook the potatoes either by steaming or baking in the oven; when they're done, run them through a sieve, butter them with a fair amount of butter [E.N. direct translation is apparently "butter them with the amount wielded in a spoon in a pot" so I'm going with a cooking spoon's worth of butter], mix them with a good handle [E.N. HA!] of grated gruyère, three yolks and three whipped egg whites; place them in your mold and cook it in a moderate oven; when it's cooked, unmold it onto a plate and sprinkle with hazelnut butter.

So, for all that I own many many useless (or single use) kitchen items, I do not own a Charlotte mold, or a large-size soufflé pan. (I own mini ones!) So I'm using a round clay cooking thingamer. I buttered it really heavily, then dusted it with corn flake crumbs (don't have breadcrumbs). I baked two good-sized baking potatoes (the size I'd be overjoyed to get at a steakhouse), and rubbed them through a steel strainer with a wooden spoon. I have to say, I'm a fan of this method of making potatoes. I'm considering investing in a potato ricer, as it makes a lovely texture. I put a large blob of butter (probably 2 tablespoons at least) in with the hot potatoes, and started dealing with the difficult items. I grated the gruyère (Husband only found smoked, so smoked it is), about 1.5 oz, and added that to the potatoes. I separated my eggs, and put the yolks straight in with the potatoes. Then I started beating the eggs. I wanted them somewhere between soft and stiff peaks, and I hate using the stand mixer for something small like this. Famous last words. I DID discover that twirling the whisk between my hands is much more energy efficient than the traditional whipping motion. But halfway through, I tagged my husband in. And so while he finished beating the eggs, I mixed everything else together. When the eggs were whipped, I folded them into the potato mixture, and put it into my baking container -- evening out the top. I then put it in the still-heated-from-potatoes oven at 350F.

As I write this, it is still in the oven. I'll post an update, but I'm so excited about this I want to post early.

Amusingly, but not surprisingly, my husband both wished we could stick a whisk in the cordless drill (ha!), and said that we should get an egg beater. I've long wanted one, but have so rarely needed one... This is one of the many reasons why I love my husband. :-D

UPDATE: It is delicious! Nice and potato-y. Smells more cheesy than it tastes. The hazelnut would have gone well, as it's a little dry. But light and fluffy! I've never made soufflé, and they're rumoured to be difficult, but this was a success! Also, didn't have the huge dome of soufflé that I was expecting, but I am in no way upset with my meal. 10/10 would make and eat again.

The Challenge:
History Detective
The Recipe: Soufflé à la Parmentier
The Date/Year and Region:France, 1897
How Did You Make It: see above
Time to Complete: 75 mins for baking potatoes, 35 mins for prep time, 40 for baking soufflé Total Cost: $6.99 for Gruyère, $4.89 for eggs, everything else was in the house already
How Successful Was It?:DELICIOUS. Although it stuck to the bottom of the pan when I tried to unmold it, and my foolish decision to NOT photograph it while in the baking container means that I only have ugly pictures.
How Accurate Is It?: I'm skipping the hazelnut butter, but otherwise everything is pretty reasonable. It was also all made by hand, so achievable for the average kitchen in 1897.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good even if it looks a little odd. :-) Some of the best foods look horrible.