Just when you thought you couldn’t eat another thing, along comes Boxing Day. You can either eat left-over turkey, or try this classic French egg dish for a change.
CHEESE SOUFFLÉ ( from “How to Eat Well and Stay Single” page 80) © 1974 renewed 2012 Nigel Napier-Andrews
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
The mystique surrounding the classic French soufflé au fromage is enough to deter the most daring beginner. But do not be deterred. It’s much easier to make a light fluffy soufflé rising three inches out of the dish and a delicate golden brown on top, than it looks. And when you make it you will be acclaimed a hero, because your guests will probably think it is as difficult to make as most people. A word of warning though. Occasionally, something will conspire against you (perhaps the wrong oven temperature or less than fresh eggs) and your soufflé won’t rise much, so for this reason don’t ballyhoo about your prowess in advance. Let the success speak for itself, and put the semi-failures down to experience.
4 large fresh eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup grated strong cheese (cheddar or similar)
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
8 in soufflé dish (non-stick lining is useful)
2 mixing bowls (not plastic)
measuring jug or cup
PREPARATION AND COOKING
1. Preheat oven to a moderate 350oF/175oC and put plates in warmer drawer. You must have hot plates when serving a soufflé or it will go soggy before it can all be eaten. (TIP: wet the plates and put them in the microwave for a minute or so on high.)
2. Separate eggs, with yolks in one mixing bowl and whites in another.
3. Make 1 1/2 cups of cheese sauce by the ROUX method.
4. Beat the egg whites until they are quite stiff.
5. Let the roux sauce cool and then tip it into the egg yolks and stir together thoroughly. Add 1 tsp salt and mix in. Now take a spoonful of egg whites and add to the sauce and yolk mixture. Gently stir in to lighten the sauce so that it doesn’t crush all the air out of the whites.
6. Gently pour the now lightened sauce into the egg whites and very gently mix together. You may find there is too much sauce for the whites to hold. In this case don’t add it all since it won’t harm the finished product if left out, but may prevent it from rising properly if added. (If you are not using a dish with non-stick lining, lightly grease it with Pam cooking oil spray or butter beforehand.) Ladle the sauce mixture into the soufflé dish with the wooden spoon to just below the top, and then run the spoon around the inside of the dish to make a sort of channel about an inch deep.
7. Place the dish immediately into the centre of the oven preheated to 350oF/175oC. Cook for 25 min without opening the oven door and don’t make too much noise. I’m not sure if a slammed door would make a soufflé sink, but that’s what they say and I’m not going to wreck a perfectly good soufflé finding out!
8. Take the dish to the table and serve immediately onto hot plates. Any delay and it will begin to subside.
Since the timing of a soufflé is so crucial, it would be asking for trouble to serve anything that needed cooking along with it, in case it wasn’t ready at the same time. I suggest you serve it just as it is so nothing fights with the delicate flavour and serve a fresh green salad afterwards in the French manner. You can also serve cheese soufflé as an appetiser course.
A well chilled very dry white wine.
TIP: Separating eggs
Start with the eggs at room temperature. Crack each egg in half gently over the bowl that is to contain the whites. Hold the halves of shell close together and tip the yolk, without breaking it, from one half to the other allowing the white to dribble into the bowl below. When all the white is separated tip the yolk into the other bowl. If any pieces of shell get in remove them immediately or you might forget.
TIP: ROUX – BASIC INGREDIENT OF FRENCH SAUCES
Melt 1 tbsp butter over a medium heat and when the butter is just beginning to foam, add 1 tbsp white flour and stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 min until the mixture is crumbly. Then add 1 cup of the appropriate liquid to complete your roux.
Roux as a basis for cheese sauce: to the butter and flour mixture slowly add ¾ cup whole milk and when the sauce has thickened add about ¼ lb or ¾ cup of strong cheddar grated. Stir together over low heat until the cheese melts. Great served over veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower, or used to make CHEESE SOUFFLÉ.
Roux to thicken boeuf bourgignon: use 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp flour for each cup of sauce. Add strained sauce to the roux and stir gently. When it thickens add the sauce back into the stew.
PS: Please leave a comment, if you found something useful or interesting in this recipe. Or please add your own variations for others to share.