A soufflé is a baked egg-based dish originating in France in the early eighteenth century. Combined with various other ingredients it can be served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the Frenchverbsouffler which means "to blow", "to breathe", "to inflate" or "to puff"
The earliest mention of the soufflé is attributed to French master cook Vincent La Chapelle, in the early eighteenth century. The development and popularization of the soufflé is usually traced to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early nineteenth century.
Soufflés are generally baked in individual ramekins of a few ounces or soufflé dishes of a few liters: these are typically glazed, flat-bottomed, round porcelain containers with unglazed bottoms, vertical or nearly vertical sides, and fluted exterior borders. The ramekin, or other baking vessel, may be coated with a thin film of butter to prevent the soufflé from sticking. Some preparations also include adding a coating of sugar, bread crumbs, or a grated hard cheese such as parmesan inside the ramekin in addition to the butter; some cooks believe this allows the soufflé to rise more easily.
After being cooked, a soufflé is puffed up and fluffy, and it will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does). It may be served with a sauce atop the soufflé, such as a sweet dessert sauce, or with a sorbet or ice-cream on the side. When served, the top of a soufflé may be punctured with serving utensils to separate it into individual servings. This can also enable a sauce to integrate into the dish.
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