on the rise

food detective

Categories: Eggs, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on April 25, 2023 by Sandy Bergsten

There is nothing quite like a cheese soufflé. They rise as if by magic. The result a savory, airy, light edible cloud. And fear not, once you master the basic technique it is almost as easy as making an omelet. It’s also a great last-minute supper because you probably have all of the ingredients on hand.

If this is your first souffléing, be sure to carefully read through the recipe twice. Do not attempt to wing it. This is a recipe you must follow precisely. And before you start, be sure to measure out all the ingredients ahead of time.

For cheese soufflé its important that your eggs are room temperature. Take them out earlier in the day.

I used to make my soufflé in a 6-8 cup souffle dish. But now I find individual soufflés are a bit more dramatic. And those of you who know me, know I love a good white ramekin! I wipe the dishes thoroughly with softened butter, dust the insides with finely grated parmesan cheese, then tap out the excess and set aside. The cornmeal texture of finely grated parmesan helps the soufflé scale the walls of the dish while it cooks.

Grate three ounces of swiss, jarlsberg or gruyere cheese. Add one tablespoon grated parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in two tablespoons of flour.

Cook the roux for a couple minutes, whisking frequently, taking care that it doesn’t burn.

Whisk in three-quarters cup whole milk, continue whisking until a smooth sauce forms.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in a pinch of kosher salt, ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of grated nutmeg, a dash of ground pepper, and the grated cheeses.

Carefully separate the eggs. It’s crucial that no yolk lands in the egg whites. If that happens the whites will never form stiff peaks. I separate each egg into a small bowl one at a time, then transfer the clear egg white to a clean larger bowl. That way if a yolk breaks on the fourth go you haven’t ruined all your egg whites. When the sauce has cooled considerably whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Save the fourth yolk for another use.

Whip the four egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form.

Stir in one quarter of the whipped egg whites into the cheese mixture to lighten the cheese mixture.

Pour the lightened cheese mixture into the bowl with the egg whites and gently fold until almost mixed with a rubber spatula.

The goal is to incorporate the two with as few folds as possible.

Carefully pile this mixture into the prepared 6-8 cup soufflé dish or two tall 16-oz individual soufflé dishes. Place the soufflé dish in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes until puffed and golden with a set center. Do not open the oven door at any time.

Serve immediately with a simple green salad and baguette, This classic is certain to lift the spirits!

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