Aug 22 2013

Cheese Soufflé

Published by Christine at 5:34 am under Vegetarian

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that the soufflé has the reputation of being the most difficult thing for a home cook to make. Mention making that dish to anyone, and you’ll typically get the kind of look that conveys either admiration for your culinary savoir-faire or deep concern for your mental state. Well, I dare say you need be neither über-skilled nor prescription-ready to take to the kitchen and get started.

A French invention of the late 18th century, the soufflé (literally, “puffed up”) can be made savory or sweet. It is essentially composed of two elements: a custard or thick béchamel base, and stiffly beaten eggs whites. The base provides the flavor while the egg whites provide the lift. Fold the two together carefully, bake for 20 to 30 minutes, and you’re done. The only trick to serving a soufflé is this: make sure your dinner guests are ready to eat, and seated at the table, because as lovely and impressive as this dish looks coming right out of the oven, it will begin to deflate within a minute of being served. In other words, this is not the kind of meal you can bake in advance.

The recipe I’m offering today comes courtesy of my sister Catherine, who sent it to me while on one of her many jaunts through France this summer. The original calls for Bleu d’Auvergne, a pungent and buttery blue cheese from the south-central region of France (and one of my very favorite cheeses). I did not have any Bleu, so I substituted it with the delicious Stilton that was in my fridge. You could use Roquefort, Gorgonzola, an aged goat cheese, or even some shredded hard cheese such as Comté. The trick is to use something flavorful – a bland mozzarella would not do.

Making the soufflé could not be easier: melt butter, add flour, cook for a minute, whisk in milk and spices, and let that thicken for a few minutes. Mix in cheese and egg yolks. When cooled a bit, fold in beaten egg whites, and bake. That’s it. Nothing to be scared of, right?

Good. Now, it’s your turn:


Soufflé au Stilton

3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 additional egg white
2 Tbsp butter
3.5 Tbsp flour
1 cup warm milk
2 oz cheese (Stilton or other blue)
a dash of nutmeg
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to F400. Butter and flour four 4″ ramequins.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Let the mixture thicken over medium heat, stirring constantly. When thick, add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add cubed cheese and mix well until melted. Whisk in egg yolks and remove from heat. Let cool about 10-15 minutes.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Carefully fold into cheese mixture. Pour into ramequins, filling to about 80% full.

Leave some room at the top for the soufflé to rise.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately, with a green salad and a glass of cold, crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc. Watch your guests ooh and aah. Didn’t I tell you it was easy?

Puffy and light

Golden brown

Careful, it's hot!


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