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“pint-size” spinach souffles

Soufflés – you thought they were beyond you? Tricky, prone to collapsing into an eggy puddle? Or perhaps you thought that only the French have that certain “something”, perhaps in their very genes – an innate knowledge of how to coax great heights out of these poofy delicacies, using the only love language eggs understand. It’s a common misconception, but it’s just Not So! There’s nothing about this dish that puts it out of your league…I can almost promise you that. Making a soufflé in a larger dish, that IS a bit trickier, more prone to collapsing, or rising very lopsided in the first place…but baking each portion in its own little ramekin or cocotte is nearly fool-proof. And really…how cute?

Soufflés aren’t just for breakfast or brunch either. When paired with a crunchy baguette and salad, soufflés make for a light and satisfying dinner. (Pour a bottle of French wine, and they’ll feel right at home.)

Mini Spinach Soufflés

  • 3½ ounces (90 grams) baby spinach leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 g) butter (+ extra for buttering ramekins)
  • ½ cup (50 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs total – the whites of 3, the yolks of 2
  • 1½ cups milk (350 ml)
  • ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dash or 2 nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Butter the ramekins or mini-cocottes.

If you aren’t using spinach that was pre-washed (3 times) when you bought it, it’s best to wash again and dry thoroughly. Place the dried spinach in a blender and process until fairly finely chopped.

Separate eggs. Place 2 of the yolks in a small bowl, and gently whisk.

The béchamel (white sauce): In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir to blend. Gradually add the milk, stirring or lightly whisking all the while, until mixture has come to a boil and thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add dash or 2 of grated nutmeg. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Add a spoonful at a time to the beaten yolks, stirring constantly. Once you’ve added a few spoonfuls to gradually warm the egg yolks, add them to the saucepan stirring as you do so. Stir in all of the spinach and half of the grated cheese. Set aside for the mixture to cool.

With the 3 egg whites in a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) add a pinch of salt and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Using a very gentle hand, fold one-third of the spinach béchamel into the stiffened egg whites. (When folding, a rubber spatula works well. Bring a spatula-ful from the bottom up and over, folding down into the center of the mixture – continue in this way until it’s incorporated. Stirring would break down the bubbles that the soufflé needs to rise.) Now fold in the last two-thirds so that the spinach is fairly evenly distributed, but being careful not to deflate.

With a spoon, fill each of the buttered dishes about ¾-full. Sprinkle with the last of the grated cheese. Using your baby finger, run around the top inner edge of each ramekin to clean it of anything that might have collected there. This will encourage the soufflé to rise above the top rim.

Place them carefully on a baking sheet and insert in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. You’re looking for the tops to turn a golden brown. If they’ve started to brown too much during the first 20 minutes, cover with a large piece of aluminum foil.

Serve Immediately. The souffles will have puffed up beautifully – quick take a picture! – because as soon as they hit the cooler air, they will start to deflate. Don’t be discouraged – inside you will still find a delicate and fluffy, delicious cloud of an egg dish.

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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

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64 Comments Post a comment
  1. That sounds delicious, pretty and impressive. I’ve got all the ingredients on hand, so I’m off to the kitchen! Thanks, Spree!

    Ronnie

    February 21, 2012
    • Oh please let me know how you liked (loved!) them, Ronnie!

      February 21, 2012
  2. I am excited to try these this weekend! Seems easy enough =)

    February 21, 2012
    • They really are! And honestly, sooo good! Thanks for leaving words, Humble!

      February 21, 2012
  3. I really must try to make a souffle. I’ve never had the courage to try. Your posts, Spree, do make the whole process seem approachable, even doable. And nothing makes a better impression upon dinner guests than to serve a souffle. I do know one thing. When I do decide to make one, I’ll be back to this page for guidance. Thanks, Spree!

    February 21, 2012
    • I think you’re right, John. They DO tend to impress a bit, and when it’s THIS easy to make a good impression, what should stop us?

      February 21, 2012
  4. You’re right. I was intimidated by the word. These look fun and pretty simple. And I really like the tomato red and creams with hints of green in this post. As always, beautiful!

    February 21, 2012
    • I think many a little would like these too Ashley. Especially if they had a (light) hand in it. Kids love magic, and there is definitely something magic about a souffle.

      February 21, 2012
  5. Fabulous! I made souffle for the first time last year, and was so happy it worked out! I like the spinach and the petite size 🙂

    February 21, 2012
    • I have a rather tall blender, and it was full to the top with spinach. Good way to get your daily greens, right? And I love the minis too! 🙂

      February 21, 2012
  6. Sounds like you and I were on the same wavelength!
    http://comeduemaiali.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/fifth-sense/
    Cheers!

    February 21, 2012
    • Well yes, we certainly are!

      February 21, 2012
  7. Those cocottes are so cute – I keep denying myself a set of them, I feel like I should stop doing that! Souffles sound and look wonderful, too, of course.

    February 21, 2012
    • Rock salt, can I be honest…I love my set of mini cocottes and use them every chance I get. They hold the heat, to straight from oven to table and are so darn cute all sorts of things look better in them. Can I offer a little nudge? Then, Yes, I’d stop denying yourself!

      February 21, 2012
      • Well if you really think I should… 😉

        February 21, 2012
  8. Fantastic, Spree. I simply love the colour of spinach. It’s funny – I just made spinach balls for lunch and will post them in a couple of days. We’re clearly on a similar wavelength.

    February 21, 2012
    • I love just about everything about spinach, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve cooked up with it!

      February 21, 2012
  9. Perfect timing. I have a glut of eggs right now (my lady chickies are behaving very well!) and was thinking of making a souflée this week. They´re not so scary are they? But I´m super impressed with the photos! Love the dishes too, very nice indeed 🙂

    February 21, 2012
    • Wonderful use for a glut of fresh farm eggs (oh, for such a problem!) Not scary a bit, and yet still we hold our breath a little until we open the oven and there they are, all poofed up, AGAIN, just like they always are. 😉

      February 21, 2012
  10. Stunning pictures as usual. I love the way you encourage home cooks to make something like souffle. Good job. Those souffles look outstanding.

    February 21, 2012
    • Thank you, chef Connie! I didn’t grow up cooking at my Mother’s side. I just grew up tasting good food. I wish I’d started much earlier than I did, and I suppose intimidation was the main reason I didn’t. If I can demystify and encourage, that makes me very happy indeed!

      February 21, 2012
  11. These look absolutely delicious and the pics are gorgeous!

    February 21, 2012
    • Kiki, thank you so much. I’d like to highly recommend them, if I haven’t already! 😉

      February 21, 2012
      • Already bought the spinach today after work, so I’ll be making these at the weekend…

        February 21, 2012
  12. As long as it has spinach is something good for me!
    Thank you so much for your email, I’ll give it a try, probably today if I have enough time!

    February 21, 2012
    • Do let me know (or see) Pablo! I sure hope it was helpful!

      February 21, 2012
  13. Darlyn #

    I love spinach and this looks like a great dish just up my alley.

    February 21, 2012
    • Not only is this up your alley, Darlyn…I think it may be at your very house! 😉

      February 21, 2012
  14. Oh just lovely! Souffles are my fav., I have a good recipe by Delia for brocolli, but must try this.

    February 21, 2012
  15. Deb schneider #

    I am one of the very fortunate ones to have had these at your “love table”. They are as light, beautiful, and delicious as pictured. Your artistic talent extends to your kitchen 🙂

    February 21, 2012
  16. I haven’t made a souffle in forever, I think this would be a great place to start! I love spinach and your photos too 🙂

    February 21, 2012
    • Sydney – apologies for not responding sooner to your kind comments! Highly recommend this little souffle-lette! 🙂

      February 26, 2012
  17. Val #

    They look lovely Spree… I’m going to try them and I don’t care if they or I fall flat on our faces!

    February 21, 2012
    • Now that’s the spirit, Val! Hope you’ll let me know what you thought of ’em!

      February 26, 2012
  18. Fantastic recipe, Spree!

    February 21, 2012
  19. Jean-François #

    It’s been years since I made a soufflé, mostly because I only cook for 2 these days. Great idea to make individual ones – and we happen to have picked up spinach this week. Will have to give this a try.

    February 21, 2012
    • Most of the time, there’s just the two of us too…the recipe will make 4, but halve it if you like. (Though the grateful guinea pig had seconds…he couldn’t help himself.)

      February 26, 2012
  20. Delicious! I love souffle!

    February 21, 2012
  21. So pretty and yummy looking! I would want to crank the heat in the kitchen so they couldn’t deflate! I’ve not tried a souffle yet and you make it look so easy:) xo Smidge

    February 22, 2012
    • Oh Smidge! YOU can make ANYthing! You’ve demonstrated time and time again! 🙂

      February 26, 2012
  22. This recipe sounds/looks like it’s right up my alley and would be a perfect light dinner with a glass or two of red wine.

    PS-apologies for taking so long to finally visit you site after you left a comment for John’s guest post on mine. I’m just finally getting settled after my recent travels.

    February 22, 2012
    • Oh, so glad you came by! It’s exACTly as you say! Perfect light supper with wine and salad!

      February 26, 2012
  23. It’s time to eat a cloud!

    February 22, 2012
  24. Oh I have piles of eggs and i love these and i am not afraid! I am off into the kitchen with Ronnie! c

    February 23, 2012
    • Celi, I would NEVER peg you as one afraid of a little airy thing like this! It’s adventurous and undaunted spirits like you who pioneered our west!To be put off by a mini-souffle?! (oh, scoff!)

      February 26, 2012
  25. Simply beautiful. And I do love eggs!

    February 23, 2012
    • Karista, this is a good way to love ’em!

      February 26, 2012
  26. Mom’s [cheddar] cheese souffle was one of my favorite dinners (it’s especially heavenly with a big scoop of Dungeness crab alongside!) when I was growing up. Spinach would be a lovely alternative *or* addition!

    February 23, 2012
    • Cheddar cheese, and Dungeness crab alongside?! OH be still my heart!!!

      February 26, 2012
  27. peasepudding #

    Totally with you on the mini ones, much easier. These look wonderful, I do like a Savoury one as much as a sweet one :0)

    February 26, 2012
    • Thanks for your comment Allison! One day before long we’ll do something slightly naughtier and sweet! 🙂

      February 26, 2012
  28. I love soufflés so I don’t know why I have never attempted to make one. Thanks for the tip that small ones are easier to prepare.

    February 26, 2012
    • Love them too Karen…and honestly these are so easy, you wonder “why not?” Haven’t come up with a reason yet.

      February 26, 2012
  29. I’ll take your word on that Ani. I have been intimidated by souffles for too long and it is time to change that

    February 27, 2012
    • Yes, Sawsan, it seems like it may be time! 🙂

      February 27, 2012
  30. C #

    These are adorable and I would be thrilled to serve them. I found them when I was posting a cute recipe in a ramekin and your recipe popped up. I am so glad.

    March 1, 2012
    • I’m so happy you stopped by, and thanks for leaving words for me! 🙂

      March 7, 2012
  31. Kammie #

    How many does this recipe yield, spree?

    March 30, 2012
    • It fills 4 ramekins, Kammie. I’ll add that to the recipe. Thanks!

      March 31, 2012
  32. This looks delightful! You’re right, souffles are easier than we think! I have made a beautiful chocolate souffle, but I think I need to try some savory ones. I think I will have to try this one!

    May 8, 2014
    • ooo! thanks Elizabeth. You’ve reminded me that it’s been too long since I’ve made these. I’ve made dessert soufflés too, but never a chocolate one. Must remedy! How nice we’ve “met”! 🙂

      May 8, 2014

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