Jacques Pépin's Egg Temperature Tip For The Perfect Souffle

Jacques Pépin has been one of America's foremost authorities on French cooking for generations. Among other accomplishments, he was the personal chef to French President Charles de Gaulle and hosted a successful cooking show with his good friend Julia Child. He also helped found, alongside Child, Boston University's Culinary Arts and Gastronomy program.

Along the way, Pépin has authored more than 30 cookbooks on everything from celebratory meals to the favorite dishes he cooks at home. His "Complete Techniques" cookbook could serve as culinary school all on its own, and covers everything from how to break down a chicken to whipping up a perfect sauce Bearnaise.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Pépin is a master at baking the perfect soufflé — one of the most iconic French desserts out there — and one that can be quite intimidating for home cooks. Never fear though, because ever the teacher, Pépin has a time-tested tip for ensuring pillowy perfect soufflés every time. Hint: It's all about the eggs.

Use room temperature egg whites

As Jacques Pépin explains in his Grand Marnier soufflé recipe in Food & Wine, the number one thing to do when making a souffle is to make sure that you use room-temperature eggs. Air is vitally important to a souffle, and that light, airy texture that defines it is achieved primarily through incorporating whipped egg whites into the batter. Pépin advises that cold temperatures can restrict how much volume your whipped egg whites achieve.

Egg experts would agree. The American Egg Board notes that while egg whites are easier to separate from their yolks straight out of the refrigerator, cold whites will not whip up as easily or quickly as room-temperature ones.

Try separating your egg whites from their yolks while they are still cold, and then set aside your bowl of whites for 20 to 30 minutes while you gather the rest of the ingredients for your souffle and preheat the oven. By the time you're ready to begin assembling your souffle, your egg whites will have come to temperature and should achieve a gloriously cloud-like texture when you whip them.

With Pépin's tip in hand you're now ready to tackle all sorts of souffles, like this savory cheese souffle recipe. No need to tell your friends and family how easy it is now to make one — just let them assume you're an expert on French cuisine like the master Jacques Pépin himself.