While soufflés have a reputation for being challenging to make, following a few simple techniques can deliver you a beautiful soufflé each time. This is one of those recipes that encourages the exact right kitchen tools for an accurate result. In case you were thinking about getting rid of that old wooden spoon, think again!
1. Start with a spotlessly clean bowl and balloon whisk (an electric mixer with a whisk will work too)
2. If you don’t have a copper bowl, a pinch of cream of tartar is the secret ingredient to stabilize the egg white foam
3. Use a rubber spatula to fold (sweeping over & under motion) the egg whites into the soufflé base. Your goal is to keep the egg whites as puffy as possible
If you’re wondering exactly when and why someone would choose a cheese soufflé for an entree, think of it as a grilled cheese sandwich without the bread…. or macaroni and cheese without the macaroni. Cheese can be a delicacy, especially European cheeses like Gruyère or Comté. Gruyère is a smooth melting, nutty Swiss cheese that is often used in fondue or raclette dishes and Comté gets its name from the cellar where it has ripened such as Comté Fort Saint-Antoine in Eastern France. Considered one of the finest cheeses in the world, Comté cheeses are typically fruity, nutty, salty, savory, smokey, and/or sweet. The quality of your cheese will certainly affect the end result of your cheese soufflé, so don’t take a shortcut on your cheese selection.
My favorite soufflé recipe comes from the Williams-Sonoma French cookbook, published in 2004, a book I believe is no longer in print.
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère or Comté cheese +2 tbls divided
- 2 1/2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground white pepper
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 l large egg whites
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp fine fresh or dried bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 6-cup soufflé dish and then coat the bottom and sides evenly with 1 tbsp of the cheese.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Cook until the mixture is bubbling but still white, about 2 minutes longer. While whisking constantly, add the milk. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the egg yolks to the cooled milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of white pepper and the nutmeg; whisk to combine.
- In a large spotlessly clean bowl, using a large balloon whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. The peaks should stand upright on the whisk or beaters when lifted. Do not overbeat, or the whites will become rough and lumpy.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the egg whites into the milk mixture to lighten it. Gently stir in 1 cup of the remaining grated cheese and then fold in the remaining egg whites just until no white streaks remain. Scoop into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp cheese and the bread crumbs.
- Bake until the soufflé is puffed and the top is browned, 30-35 minutes. Serve at once.
Serve alongside a gorgeous green salad and melba toast for lunch or dinner. I bet your mouth is already watering and you’re willing to step out there and give it a try, right? Just don’t forget to share your end result and tag us @lacuisinebzn. We want to share in your successes too!
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