I’m always heard to say ‘you can’t improve on a classic’; well sometimes you can give it a holiday! And this is precisely what I’m doing with this classic English breakfast dish: bacon and eggs! What’s the twist? Souffléing the eggs to give a small touch of French refinement and add variety to this much loved, everyday British staple.
Eggs and bacon will always be the friend of any ketogenic / low-carb dieter. A breakfast of healthy proteins is the best way to start the day; but first thing in the morning, the frying-pan sometimes feels a little much, a little too soon for the stomach to warm up to! Well this variant takes away all the mess and odour of frying, and is the perfect dish for a lazy weekend breakfast, or when friends & family come to stay. You can even prepare it as a quick late night supper; at dusk or dawn it’s equally delicious and promises success every time!
People are often scared of the word ‘soufflé’. But it’s actually an incredibly easy technique; all you have to do is understand the process, then you’re off and away!
When you cook an egg it turns from liquid to solid. You see this when you fry an egg, scramble it, poach it &tc. It’s the protein which solidifies in heat; and a soufflé is no different from this. The act of a soufflé rising is the same as a cake. Hot air rises, which lifts the mixture upwards. Then, once the right temperature is reached, the heat solidifies the egg-proteins and the air-bubbles are ‘locked’ in place. Meringue has the same process – the proteins form a hard, crystalline structure which supports and holds up the rest of the mixture – quite simple, and quite marvellous!
If the egg-whites hold something up, what is it they’re holding? The answer to this is your soufflé mix, which carries the flavour of whatever you’re cooking. In this recipe I’ve chosen grated cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard, but the process is the same for all. Whatever your ‘flavour-bearing mix’ is made of, you need to ensure that it’s the texture & consistency of melted chocolate. It’s that easy. Follow this rule of thumb and you’ll have perfect soufflés every time!
Before I jump the gun and detail the recipe in full, it’s worth noting that these are wonderful for a ketogenic diet, as they contain virtually no carbohydrate! This makes them ideal for diabetics or those who do not include gluten in their regime. You can make soufflés with no ‘solids’ at all; just the basic ingredients. This means they’re cheap, versatile and incredibly quick! Now do you see why I love them?
Start by laying your bacon rashers into the bottom of a baking dish. Place this into a hot oven for 10 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and turning crispy around the edges. I allowed 6 rashers for 2 people.
Whilst the bacon is cooking, you can start your egg-whites. In a clean mixing-bowl (I use a copper bowl as this stabilises the whites far better than anything else); separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks in a smaller bowl to form your mix. When it comes to separating eggs, I must admit to ‘not being flashy’. I simply crack them on the side of the bowl and strain the white through my fingers.
Once your eggs are separated, whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks. Volume should be minimum 8 times what you started with, and you should be able to upturn the bowl over your head and the mixture stays in situ (if it doesn’t then you have only yourself to blame!). The whisking forms valuable aerobic exercise for the cook. I strongly recommend that you do it by hand and don’t cheat by using an electric whisk! This way, you get to ‘understand’ the ingredients more, and get a true feel of how things work.
Into the bowl with the egg-yolks, season well & scatter in a generous handful of grated cheese and a half-dessertspoonful of Dijon mustard. Now bear in mind my rule of thumb above. You want this mix to be the consistency of melted chocolate. To achieve this, mix in double-cream until you have the right texture. You shouldn’t need much; three or four tablespoons maximum.
Now scrape some of your egg-whites to the side of their bowl and add your soufflé-mix. This will need to be folded into the whites with a good metal spoon. If you simply mix this in, you’ll knock out all the air. Folding is exactly as it sounds – you turn the mixture over on top of itself, so that gravity does the work, not your spoon! At no point should you be cutting through the middle of the mix, you just want to continue lifting and turning until the two are incorporated. It should be a pleasing, yellow, moussey texture, with traces of white still visible and air bubbles prevalent throughout.
Take your bacon out of the oven and ladle your egg-mix all over. Into the hot oven it goes for circa ten minutes. If your oven has a glass-front, you can have the joy of watching it rise. I’m fortunate enough to have an aga, which means I can open the door and peek in with no danger of the temperature falling.
You’ll know it’s ready when well risen and lightly firm to the touch. The surface should be evenly coloured a light ‘caramel’ shade.
Serve up straight from the oven. The top will sink down within a couple of minutes, so make sure your admiring onlookers are already in place at the table when you take the dish out of the oven! All in all, incredibly straightforward, fuss-free and delicious – oh, and yes; a trifle grand!!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!