This Parmesan and Gruyère cheese souffle, made with stiffly whipped egg whites for height and Parmesan and Gruyère for flavor, is a simple and elegant starter for dinner or a main course for lunch. The recipe is from Darina Allen, who is essentially the Julia Child of Ireland.
Regardless of whether you’ve ever attempted to make a showstoppingly light, ethereally airy souffle in the past, you can easily achieve that oh-so-lofty, ooh-inducing appearance. 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 of the dishes before they go in the oven. All that’s left is to sit back and prepare to accept accolades.–David Leite
Parmesan and Gruyère Cheese Soufflé
- 8 individual souffle dishes, 2 1/2-by-1 1/2 inches high; or 1 large dish, 6-by-2 1/2 inches high
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a baking sheet in it to warm. Brush the soufflé dish(es) evenly with the melted butter, and if you like, sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Using a light touch, scrape or spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish(es). If using individual dishes, bear in mind if you fill them three-quarters full, you will get about 10 soufflés, but if you fill the dishes to the top, you will have about 8 soufflés. (The soufflé(s) can covered in plastic wrap and frozen at this point. Simply add a few more minutes to the baking time.)
- Bake in the oven for 8 to 9 minutes for individual soufflés, 20 to 25 minutes for the large one. For the large soufflé, you will need to reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) after 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I am so happy I decided to try this soufflé. It is just delicious! With total time of about 26-27 minutes, it is a special dish to serve to family or friends or just to enjoy on your own. The parmesan and gruyere added the perfect flavor to this light and elegant soufflé. The simplicity of the recipe, using a handful of ingredients, makes it a keeper! Serve it with a salad of arugula or mixed greens and a simple vinaigrette.
These soufflés were glorious right out of the oven—positively a sight to behold. They were so airy they seemed to make the cheeses lighter, as if we were eating just the very essence of the ingredients instead of the ingredients themselves. My guests and I joked that these soufflés actually made us feel like we had to sit a bit taller, use cloth napkins, and eat with our elbows removed from the table. One issue I did have, however, was that the milk never came to a boil. This didn’t pose a problem in the end, as it still thickened, so don’t worry if your sauce doesn’t simmer.
This one is a keeper! 30 min from start to finish in individual ramekins. Made 7 with 3/4 cup batter in each. Each forkful was a bite into a savoury cloud of delight! Yes, there was some deflation but I was able to impress my family & take photos while they were still puffy. The seasoning was just perfect allowing the cheese flavour to come through. Served with a sprig of chervil and a butter lettuce & loquat salad.
Love everything about what you wrote, Ilda, especially how you served it! Greatly appreciate you taking the time to let us know how well it worked. The chervil and loquat touches are lovely.
FINALLY, somebody who knows their way around a soufflé. You can indeed freeze ALL soufflés. The first one I did was by Sophie Grigson – a chocolate and orange soufflé where you dust the soufflé dishes with cocoa powder.
This IS the best Web site.
Why, thank you, Roanne!
Freezing souffle can also open up a world of possibilities! Make two varieties of soufflé (such as cheese and spinach) and freeze them separately in a pan. When they are frozen solid, cut them into cubes- approximately 1/2 or 3/4 inch. Then put both varieties together into individual souffle cups… press then down pretty firmly in the cup and then bake as usual. You get a beautifully marbled spinach-cheese souffle!
Dan, thanks for that. Sound intriguing.
Fantastic recipe! Don’t let a souffle intimidate you, this is easy! I would suggest you cook it till you get a nice dark golden top, otherwise it’s still a bit gooey in the middle and not as well-risen as it can be. It froze well and baked up in ramekins in just 25 mins from frozen.
Lovely to hear it, Helen! Many thanks for the freezer tip, always nice to know that something that seems like it ought to freeze well does, in fact, hold up nicely. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the next recipe you try….