All those who have avoided making a souffle because you thought it was too difficult, raise your hand . . .
I can’t tell you how many years, times I wanted to make a souffle and talked myself out of it because it involved whipping huge bowls of egg whites, securing some sort of paper cone around a souffle dish and then offering up prayers and your first born to the souffle gods in order to guarantee success. But this past week, I threw caution to the wind (and since my first born is now fully grown), grabbed Judith Jones’ recipe and gave it a whirl – and whadaya know – success the first time (and the crowd goes wild)!
Light, airy, cheesy, quick (not to mention gorgeous) it’s absolute perfection! The hardest part? Locating a 2 cup souffle dish that didn’t cost an arm and a leg – I finally found one at my area Sur La Table for $4.95 each.
And since cheese is the main ingredient, it’s really important to use the best quality cheese you can afford; it’s also best to grate it yourself as pre-grated cheese tends to be dried out and has lost some of its flavor.
JUDITH’S CHEESE SOUFFLE
NOTE: This recipe is for ONE SERVING so if you are making it for two or more, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
Use a souffle dish that is 2-3/4 inches high and 4 inches in diameter or any oven-safe, straight-sided dish with a 2-cup capacity works (no need to line with parchment – the deep sides of the souffle dish is sufficient).
You can also vary the recipe by using 3 Tbsp. of a finely chopped cooked green vegetable, sauteed mushrooms, or minced ham, in which case use only 1 Tbsp. of mild grated cheese, like Swiss, in addition to the Parmesan.
2-1/2 tsp. butter
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan (use fresh – NOT the stuff in the green can!)
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/3 cup milk
Large pinch of salt
Small pinch of paprika
1 egg yolk
2 egg whites
1/3 cup grated cheese such as Cheddar or Swiss, tightly packed (I used Gruyere)
1. Smear 1/2 tsp. softened butter around inside of a souffle dish, and sprinkle Parmesan over it. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Melt 2 tsp. butter in a small pot, and stir in flour. Let cook over low heat for a minute, then remove from heat. Pour in milk, whisking vigorously, and return pot to medium-low heat to simmer for a minute, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. Season with salt and paprika. Remove from heat, and whisk in egg yolk.
3. Put egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until they form soft peaks. Add a dollop of egg whites to pot, and mix in along with about half of grated cheese.
Fold in remaining egg whites and cheese; transfer everything to the prepared souffle dish.
Place dish on a baking sheet, and set it in the middle of the oven. Turn heat down to 375, and bake 18 minutes, until souffle has risen and top is lightly browned.