This Parmesan and Gruyere cheese souffle, made with stiffly whipped egg whites for height and Parmesan and Gruyere 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.
Parmesan and Gruyere Souffle
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 45 M
- Serves 8 to 10
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
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.
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 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 souffle(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 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.
Recipe Testers' Tips
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.