Guests are always wildly impressed by a well-risen souffle, and believe me, it’s not rocket science, so don’t imagine for one moment that you can’t do it. A souffle is simply a well-flavored sauce enriched with egg yolks and lightened with stiffly beaten egg whites. Souffle are much more good-humored than you think and can even be frozen when they are ready for the oven. (Frozen souffle can be baked from their frozen state, but they will take a few minutes longer to bake.) You can make either a single large souffle or several smaller ones. If making a large one, placing the dish it in a water bath (simply a baking tray filled with enough hot water to reach about halfway up the side of the dish) during baking is a good idea.–Darina Allen
LC Stately Souffles Note
Regardless of whether you’ve ever attempted a souffle in the past, you can easily achieve that oh-so-lofty, ooh-inducing appearance, even when making wee individual soufflés. As Darina Allen, the creative genius behind this recipe, explains, just fill the souffle dishes to the top, then smooth them with a spatula. One last thing. Run your thumb–rinsed and dried on a clean kitchen towel, please–around the top edge or rim of the dishes before they go in the oven. Then sit back and prepare to accept compliments.
Special Equipment: 8 individual souffle dishes, 2 1/2-by-1 1/2 inches high; or 1 large dish, 6-by-2 1/2 inches high
Parmesan and Gruyere Souffle Recipe
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes | Serves 8 to 10
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus melted butter for the baking dish(es)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 4 cage-free, organic eggs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for the baking dish(es)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a baking sheet in it to warm. Brush the souffle dish(es) evenly with the melted butter, and if you like, sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan.
- 2. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over a lowish heat. Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, over a gentle heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Take off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Then return the pan to the heat and whisk until it comes to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 3. Separate the eggs. Place the whites in a large bowl, making sure it is spotlessly clean and dry. Then whisk the yolks, one by one, into the white sauce. Add both cheeses and season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. It should taste hugely, overly seasoned at this point because the egg whites will dull the seasoning later. Stir over a gentle heat for just a few seconds until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat.
- 4. Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with a little pinch of salt, slowly at first and then faster, until they are light and voluminous and hold a stiff peak when you lift up the beaters. Gently stir a few tablespoons of whipped whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it, and then carefully fold in the rest of the whites with a spatula.
- 5. Using a light touch, scrape or spoon the mixture into the prepared souffle dish(es). If using individual dishes, bear in mind if you fill them three-quarters full, you will get about 10 souffle, but if you fill the dishes to the top, you will have about 8 souffle. (The individual souffles can covered in plastic wrap and frozen at this point.)
- 6. Bake in the oven for 8 to 9 minutes for individual souffle, 20 to 25 minutes for the large one. For the large souffle, you will need to reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) after 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
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Parmesan and Gruyere Souffle Recipe © 2006 Darina Allen. Photo © 2006 Peter Cassidy. All rights reserved.