Frittatas that don't deflate???
- Jackie Apr 25, 2005 12:32 AM
First time making frittatas. I didn't use a recipe. I ssed 6 whole eggs, 6 egg whites, 1/2 minced red and yellow peppers each, 1/2 onion, and salt and pepper. Put them in a muffin pan. They rose and looked fantastic until I took them out. They were like hockey pucks! They taste great put they're not dense at all. They totally deflated.
Did I need dairy? Did I need more yolks?
Hmmm. I've made frittatas a lot, and I've never used egg whites in addition to the whole eggs, nor have a tried making them in muffin cups. At least according to Marcella Hazan, they should be flat-ish, though not like hockey pucks! I usually put in about a cup of cheese, which I imaginge adds some structure, as well as great flavor to the frittata. Did you cook the veggies first, BTW? I usually cook mine on the stove top, and when set, stick it under the broiler until lightly browned.
Good luck next time.
Thanks for everyone's replies! My boyfriend's mom brought us her Fritattas earlier in the day and hers were like a muffin...they were pretty dense. I thought mine would come out that way.
I didn't cook the vegetables before I put them in. I did drain the heck out of the peppers though as they were previously frozen.
Thanks again for everyone's responses!
I think I can answer this although I am a relatively new cook. I learned to prepare frittata a few months ago and being very anal, I decided to try two recipes: one that whip egg whites and egg yolks separately and then fold in the egg whites and the other that whips whole eggs together.
The first was the whole egg and it was flat and well set when it cam from the oven. Also the veggies were well interspersed thoughout the the frittata. I combined knowledge from Alton Brown and Pam Anderson to make this. It tasted great and was eggy, the texture was dense in a good way, definitely not tough.
I then stumbled onto another recipe that whipped eggs separately. The frittata came out of the oven all puffy and cloud-like it was amazing. But deflated very quickly after. the texture looked, felt and tasted very different from the previous frittata. Even the small amount of asonings tasted too much - the same that I had used in the previous one. It tasted wonderful and not eggy at all. The veggies settled at the bottom and so it should as this type of frittata, apparently is usually served upside down. This one was definitely my favorite after the disappointment that it did not stay risen.
A few weeks later, I decided to make a souffle and in my research realised that souffles - which beats egg whites and fold into a sauce - does deflate quickly so it must be served quickly for the dramatic effect. I think it has something to do with the leavening of the egg whites and the exposure to the air. Maybe someone who understands this nore can more eloquently explain.
So, for the frittata, the beating of the egg whites affect the texture and mouthfeel of the frittata but do not expect it to remain risen.
I hope you cna pick some sense out of what I have written.
A frittata isn't a souffle or a cake. It will not stay puffy since it contains a lot of moisture and substance from the vegetables and cheese, and doesn't contain a starch like flour or crumbs to help it keep its shape. But it should be tender enough to eat without using a knife. I don't think you did anything wrong. I just think you were expecting something that it isn't. My frittata recipe contains only 6 eggs, in addtion to about 1-1/2 cups vegetables. Plus some Parmesan to sprinkle on top before running under the broiler to brown. It will puff up slightly, but not much. And it doesn't stay puffed.
Frittatas aren't a souffle, so they will be pretty flat. If you want a more souffle-like texture, you could mimic a souffle by beating the egg whites separately and folding in the other ingredients, which is a souffle technique. But then it won't be a frittata.
The way I make mine is in a fry pan -- saute onion or shallot in olive oil, and then add the vegetable (spinach, asparagus, leeks, etc.), and saute the vegetable if it isn't already pre-cooked (great way to use up leftover vegetables from the night before). In a separate bowl beat the eggs with salt and pepper and cheese and a fresh herb, then add the egg mixture to the veggies in the pan. Cook until it's no longer runny and then move the pan to a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes or so to set it, or just run it under the broiler for a few minutes. I serve a frittata warm to room temperature, not piping hot. It's never puffy and can be very thin, depending on the size of the pan and how many eggs I used.
I was complaining about this same phenomenon to a chef friend recently, and she told me to bring the eggs to room temp before making the frittata - either naturally or by putting in a bowl surrounded by a larger bowl with hot water. I haven't tried this yet, but the advice comes from an excellent source.
One extra tip, if you are making a fritatta with whipped egg whites, try adding a 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar or a bit of lemon juice to the whites while whiping. This will stablize the egg whites and allow them retain a bit of puff.