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Is There an Alternative to Ramekins for Baking Souffles?

c
claritas Jan 29, 2012 10:04 AM

Hello all.

I am planning to bake my very first soufflés and I am wondering if I can bake them in something other than ramekins. I'm sure there is a very good reason why the ceramic ramekins are the standard (in my estimation they might be the best for heat distribution) but I am wondering if I can make do without them.

Can I bake them in muffin tins, for example?

I should note that the first ever chocolate souffles I had were served in little foil tins. I surmise they were baked right in these tins. These souffles didn't seem 'authentic' (in my mind) by any stretch but they tasted good. I doubt any bakery would sell their souffles in (expensive) ramekin dishes.

So do you think I can get away with making souffles without the ramekins?

(I do plan on getting ramekins in the future.)

  1. sarahjay Jan 29, 2012 10:11 AM

    The reason they are usually baked in ramekins is because they have straight sides, which allow the souffle to rise straight up. They are also easier to serve, either in the ramekin or to turn out each one at a time, which is difficult in a muffin tin.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarahjay
      c
      claritas Jan 29, 2012 10:18 AM

      Thanks for the reply. That makes a lot of sense. I was thinking to myself that the shape of muffin tins could be a problem. Do you think (or know from experience if) they will still rise at all?

    2. greygarious Jan 29, 2012 10:14 AM

      You can use coffee cups or mugs. It seems you are set on individual souffles. You can do a single large one in any baking pan/casserole though it isn't the elegant presentation you get with a round, straight-sided vessel. On the souffle episode of Julia and Jacques, he used a gratin dish. She used a ramekin with a parchment collar.

      I am skeptical that the bakery item you describe is a true souffle. Souffles must be eaten right out of the oven - they are not a make-ahead retail item.

      13 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
        c
        claritas Jan 29, 2012 10:32 AM

        Thanks for the reply. I wouldn't make a big multiple-portion souffle. It doest have same appeal to me. I did read, as you mentioned, of the cups/mug option. It seems like a viable option so long as my mugs are oven-proof. I wonder if the height of the mugs could be an issue. I want them to puff over and I wonder if the fact that batter will be filled to the brim in the taller mugs might be a problem.

        As for the authenticity of that bakery souffle, I pretty much came to the same conclusion as you.

        1. re: claritas
          m
          magiesmom Jan 29, 2012 02:35 PM

          unlike you , I prefer the presentation of one larger souffle dish with a parchment collar. Very elegant!

          1. re: magiesmom
            c
            claritas Jan 30, 2012 04:23 AM

            How do you dish it out?

            1. re: claritas
              m
              magiesmom Jan 31, 2012 05:00 AM

              using a large spoon, serve on flat plates.

              1. re: magiesmom
                c
                claritas Jan 31, 2012 05:13 AM

                I might just try this. I have a big ceramic dish that looks just like a ramekin. Thanks.

                1. re: claritas
                  Caitlin McGrath Feb 1, 2012 01:23 PM

                  From your description ("a big ceramic dish that looks just like a ramekin"), I would say that what you have is, in fact, a souffle dish.

                  Like so: http://www.potshopofboston.com/souffl...

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                    c
                    claritas Feb 1, 2012 01:30 PM

                    True! That never crossed my mind. It is infact a souffle dish. I've always just used it for serving.

                    1. re: claritas
                      m
                      magiesmom Feb 1, 2012 02:09 PM

                      that is indeed a souffle dish. you'll still want a collar.

                      1. re: magiesmom
                        c
                        claritas Feb 1, 2012 02:12 PM

                        Did you have bad results without a collar?

                        1. re: claritas
                          m
                          magiesmom Feb 1, 2012 03:12 PM

                          not bad. but a collar will encourage the tallest rise by giving the batter something to creep up. It takes a minute to apply and improves the result.

                          1. re: magiesmom
                            c
                            claritas Feb 1, 2012 03:17 PM

                            Great tip! Thanks.

          2. re: claritas
            chefj Jan 29, 2012 04:37 PM

            If you need more height you can make collars for the cups with parchment paper or foil.

            1. re: chefj
              c
              claritas Jan 30, 2012 04:24 AM

              That's a great idea! Thanks.

        2. h
          HillJ Jan 30, 2012 06:45 AM

          I've made mini and large souffles using a springform pan.

          7 Replies
          1. re: HillJ
            c
            claritas Jan 30, 2012 06:55 AM

            Where there any special adjusments you had to make?

            1. re: claritas
              h
              HillJ Jan 30, 2012 06:57 AM

              I wrapped the base in foil.

              1. re: HillJ
                c
                claritas Jan 30, 2012 07:06 AM

                What does that achieve? And I am assuming you wrapped the outside and not the inside.

                1. re: claritas
                  h
                  HillJ Jan 30, 2012 07:07 AM

                  Yes the outside to seal the bottom. Sometimes a springform pan can leak and the joint.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    c
                    claritas Jan 30, 2012 09:56 AM

                    Were the mini ones made with mini springform pans?

                    1. re: claritas
                      h
                      HillJ Jan 30, 2012 10:14 AM

                      Yes. I have a set of four minis at home for cheesecakes and tried using them for lemon souffle some time back. I also have quite a few full size springforms for large cakes and used it for a chocolate souffle at Christmas.

                      1. re: HillJ
                        c
                        claritas Jan 31, 2012 12:49 AM

                        Ah, thanks!

          2. c
            Claudette Jan 31, 2012 10:26 AM

            I've seen photos of souffles made in hollowed-out orange shells (pretty, although they didn't seem to rise very much). I was going to try it, but hollowing out one orange was a tedious mess, so I just used my ramekins.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Claudette
              c
              claritas Jan 31, 2012 11:34 AM

              Wow that's a neat idea. And these actually look good and have a good height: http://www.zencancook.com/2010/12/ora...

            2. pdxgastro Feb 3, 2012 01:51 AM

              Hey Claritas, I aspire to make a souffle too one day. And when I do, I want to try a trick I saw a chef do: she ran her thumb all along the inside of the souffle, to make a trench. I can't remember exactly *why* she did it. Something about the it rising uniformly instead of just poofing up in the middle. Anybody else heard of this?

              5 Replies
              1. re: pdxgastro
                c
                claritas Feb 3, 2012 05:20 AM

                Hey! I have also heard of this trick. I first saw it in a souffle demonstration by Gordin Ramsey on his show The F Word. Here's the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O_-HD2P9pc&feature=relmfu

                And heres a second souffle clip from the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paY3Xe...

                I'm not sure how or if this will pair well with the parchment/foil collar technique. And I'm also not sure if it works with bigger souffles. It will be a matter of experimentation and experience.

                1. re: claritas
                  pdxgastro Feb 5, 2012 01:53 AM

                  But my chef demonstrated it in the standard souffle dish! I think you could pour the souffle into your dish, do the trench and put the collar on afterwards. Surely, it will be easier to pour in w/o that monstrosity on it, right? :o)

                  1. re: pdxgastro
                    c
                    claritas Feb 5, 2012 05:11 AM

                    Covering all bases. Sounds like a smart idea!

                    1. re: claritas
                      m
                      magiesmom Feb 5, 2012 07:18 AM

                      As long as you work fast. You want to get a souffle into the oven pronto.

                      1. re: magiesmom
                        c
                        claritas Feb 9, 2012 08:01 PM

                        I'll note that!

              2. iL Divo Feb 5, 2012 07:25 AM

                short squatty little round coffee cups

                1 Reply
                1. re: iL Divo
                  c
                  claritas Feb 9, 2012 08:01 PM

                  Thanks.

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