For Valentine’s day this year I decided to give the best gift I could think of …. food!
As I had a bit of time on my hands I decided to make something special and tackle my favourite French dish, Cheese Soufflé. I had never made one before and expected the dish to be very difficult, but it was surprisingly easy, and my partner said it was the tastiest dish I have ever made for him! Because the soufflé is twice baked you don’t need to worry about it sinking and it can also be prepared in advance which is great if you are hosting a dinner party or want to make it ahead for a delicious week night dinner.
This recipe is also extremely versatile, you can use any kind of cheese and it can be served with a salad as a starter or light meal and even as a main dish accompanied by seasonal vegetables and potatoes. I choose to serve mine as a starter with a simple salad of rocket, apple and red onion and as I am currently in Holland I used some very yummy mature Gouda with a small amount of Parmesan.
Before you try this recipe for yourself here are some top tips that will make your soufflé fool proof…
- Grease your ramekins evenly
- When you whisk your egg whites make sure to use a very clean bowl
- Do not open the oven whilst your soufflés are cooking, if you do they will sink
So here it is my recipe for Twice baked cheese soufflé …
Prep time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes plus cooling
- 70g Plain Flour
- 60g Butter
- 500ml milk
- 1 tsp Mustard (Dijon and wholegrain both work well)
- 4 Eggs, separated
- 125g Mature Gouda (Saint Agur, Cheddar, Mature Asiago will also work well)
- 70g Parmesan
- 2 tbsp Chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper
To start pre heat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease 6 200ml ramekins with butter, then coat with parmesan reserving any access for the soufflé.
Next you need to make a roux. To do this melt the butter, add the flour, mustard and season with salt and pepper, stir until combined then continue to cook on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring continually. Slowly start to add the milk, about 100ml at a time, continuing to stir until the sauce is smooth. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy. Put aside and leave it cool for 5 minutes.
Once the roux has cooled slightly mix in the egg yolks one at a time then add the cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on the top.
Whisk your egg whites until they form soft peaks, you can do this whilst your roux is cooling. You will know your eggs are done when they are stiff and you can hold the bowl upside down without the eggs moving. Gently fold the egg whites into the roux, starting with 1 tbsp to loosen the mixture. Its important that you fold the egg whites in instead of stirring as this will knock all the air out of the mixture and your soufflés wont rise.
Divide the mixture between the 6 ramakins and put them in a deep baking tray. Place the baking tray in the oven then pour in enough boiling water to reach about half way up the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes until the soufflés are golden and well risen – DO NOT open the oven whilst the soufflés are cooking!
Remove the soufflés from the baking tray and leave in the ramekins to cool. At this point you have 2 options, you can cover the soufflés and place in the fridge for up to 3 days or if you are ready to serve you can continue to the final bake
Run a knife around the edge of the soufflés and invert onto a greased baking tray, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. During the second bake the soufflés will rise again! Serve with a simple salad I used rocket, apple and red onion drizzled with a little balsamic glaze and sprinkle with chopped chives.