A soufflé is a French egg dish that is characterized by its ability to "puff" in the oven. They can be sweet or savory, and served as an appetizer, main course or dessert. Home cooks like soufflés for their ease of preparation and the excitement they create when brought to the table. While soufflé dishes are available for purchase, there are vessels that may be used instead.
Any high-sided ceramic or glass casserole dish can be substituted for a soufflé dish. Make sure that the dish's sides are tall so that the soufflé will have something to "climb." It may also be helpful to "collar" the dish, which is done by inserting a piece of buttered wax paper into the dish, to allow the soufflé to rise evenly above the rim. Though most soufflés cook best in ungreased pans, a coating of sugar or cheese crumbs added to the dish sometimes gives the soufflé something to cling to as it climbs. If you have any doubt, simply follow the recipe.
Ramekins are ceramic or earthenware containers that range in size from 1 to 8 cups in capacity. Small ramekins are ideal for preparing individual soufflés. The only difference is that their sides may not be as tall as that of a soufflé dish, but this shouldn't hinder the success of the dish.
Mixing Bowls and Springform Pans
Soufflés have been known to successfully cook in dishes like mixing bowls and springform pans, though they aren't as highly recommended as ramekins or casserole dishes. These types of dishes will do in a pinch, as would any glass or ceramic container. Ideally, the sides should be less sloped than straight, and the bottom of the vessel should be broad. If using a springform pan, make sure that the pan's capacity is similar to the amount your recipe makes, and use tinfoil around the pan's outside to prevent leaks. In the end, if your soufflé rises, you have succeeded.
Even coffee cups can be used to make individual soufflés. Before using, however, make sure that the cups are oven-safe and have medium-high sides. In particular, coffee cups make for an elegant presentation for chocolate soufflés, as they emulate cups of coffee.