Home from college these past few months, I’ve had a little extra time on my hands and as a result, I got caught up in the drama of the summer. No, not Taylor and Kanye, not the Olympics –the Great British Baking Show. For those of you who didn’t watch (though really, what else have you been doing?) this PBS show aired weekly and offered 3 baking challenges per episode to a dwindling number of contestants.
My family and I got hooked as we got to know the individual characters and their stories, and we found that even the most scathing of judges’ criticisms sounded worlds politer than any American competition show we’d seen.
Though I’m not sure I’d be interested in replicating all of the recipes featured on the show (looking at you, Game Pie) many of them were beautiful. The Great British Baking Show became mandatory viewing for my family on Sunday nights and inspired me to dust off my electric mixer and do some baking myself. I love to experiment with food, which does not always bode well for the careful chemistry that is baking. As a result, I’m not the most confident baker, but nonetheless, I decided to try my hand at a soufflé.
On the show I learned the dangers of over-mixing, under-mixing, and otherwise manhandling a soufflé. In an attempt to avoid these downfalls, I found myself parked in front my oven on a stool watching the baking like my life depended on it. Whether or not this last step was essential to the process is still up for debate, and truthfully I had hoped for a bit more rise (stay tuned for future tweaking), but the texture was nothing short of the light airiness that soufflés are known for.
The tang of the earl grey tea goes a long way to balance the sweetness of the honey, and all together it’s a rather quick bake so you should have plenty of time to queue up The Great British Baking Show on your Netflix. Enjoy!
Honey & Earl Grey Soufflé
Author: Claire Crane
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup honey
- ½ tbsp. earl grey tea
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325°F (at convection bake if your oven can do it)
- Separate eggs—whites in a large bowl and yolks in a medium-sized bowl
- Grind the earl grey tea into a fine powder over a sieve, to ensure that no large & unseemly tea leaves make their way into the soufflé
- Whisk the honey and earl grey tea in with the eggs until evenly combined
- Coat the inside of 4 single-serve ramekins with butter
- Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until it thickens into stiff peaks (if you’re unsure of your peak-age judging skills, I recommend beating it for about 10 minutes to ensure a light and airy meringue. The cream of tartar will help with this too)
- GENTLY fold the honey/yolk blend in with the meringue—just enough so that you can’t differentiate meringue from yolk in the mixture, but not too much that you end up flattening the meringue
- Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, stopping ½ inch before the rim to leave space for that famous soufflé rise
- Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, watching carefully WITHOUT opening the oven. I recommend placing the ramekins on a single baking sheet beforehand for ease of taking them in and out of the oven
- Even the best soufflés tend to deflate after 2-3 minutes, so grab your camera (pics or it didn’t happen?) and serve warm!
- As Chef Gui Alinat wrote in the Tampa Bay Times, “guests should wait for the soufflé, not the soufflé for the guests”. Due to their eggy nature, soufflés and soufflé batter do not improve with time and should be made and served immediately before and after cooking.
- I’ve recently been experimenting with a vegan meringue made from Aquafaba (also known the water left over from cooking or canning beans that miraculously whips into a beautiful meringue) so I hope to convert that into a vegan soufflé soon!