Three soufflés in white dishes

Cheese soufflé

  • serves 4 as a starter
  • Easy

A long, lazy weekend afternoon is the perfect opportunity to spend some time in your kitchen perfecting the art of a light-as-air savoury soufflé

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Whip up this cheese soufflé, then check out our rarebit soufflé, chocolate soufflé, soufflé omelette and lots more sweet and savoury soufflé recipes.

You will need four 200ml ovenproof ceramic ramekins for this recipe.


The roux

A panade – or very thick roux – is enriched with cheese and eggs to form the flavour profile of the soufflé. In sweet soufflés it is usually crème pâtissière based.

Seasoning

Strong cheese and plenty of salt in the panade add loads of flavour. It must be well seasoned, as egg whites ‘dilute’ it.

The dishes

Try to use heatproof porcelain dishes or glass ramekins, and avoid any metal ones. Don’t overfill them – you want that sky-high rise, but adding too much can mean the soufflés spill over when cooking.

The oven

Don’t open the oven door before the timer has gone off. You need the consistent heat in the oven to ensure they don’t sink back down.

‘Top hatting’

Running a knife or finger around the edge of the ramekin before cooking ensures the surface of the soufflé doesn’t stick to the ramekin, encouraging it to rise evenly, and as much as possible.

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Ingredients

  • unsalted butter 30g, plus extra for the ramekins
  • parmesan 25g, finely grated, plus 2 tbsp
  • plain flour 30g
  • whole milk 300ml
  • cayenne pepper, white pepper or grated nutmeg a pinch
  • gruyère 50g, finely grated
  • eggs 4 large, separated
  • white wine vinegar ¼ tsp

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 with a baking tray inside.

  • Step 2

    Generously butter the ramekins. Divide 2 tbsp of finely grated parmesan between the ramekins and shake them to get the cheese to stick to the butter. Tip out any excess.

  • Step 3

    Melt the butter in a heavy-based medium pan over a low heat, then sprinkle in the flour. Mix well to form a thick paste. Cook for 1 minute until the paste starts to smell nutty, then add the milk, a splash at a time, stirring continuously, to make a smooth, very thick white sauce.

  • Step 4

    Stir in the cayenne, pepper or nutmeg, and both the cheeses. Stir briefly to melt the cheeses, season generously with salt, then remove from the heat. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the egg yolks.

  • Step 5

    Put the egg whites in a clean metal or glass bowl. Add the vinegar and whisk with an electric whisk or in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.

  • Step 6

    Add a dollop of the egg whites into the white sauce and stir to combine. This will loosen the sauce and make it easier to incorporate the rest of the egg whites without losing too much air.

  • Step 7

    Add the remaining egg whites and, using the side of a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold into the bowl, until just incorporated into a light yellow foam. Divide between the ramekins, filling them no more than three-quarters full.

  • Step 8

    Using the tip of a cutlery knife, swipe around the insides of the ramekins. Transfer to the oven on the heated baking tray. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until they are well risen, golden topped and have a slight wobble when picked up. Serve immediately.

Cook's notes

The vinegar (or any acid) helps to prevent over-whisking the egg whites, turning them clumpy or dry. It can still happen though, so stop when you’re happy with the lift on the peaks. Folding in the egg whites requires a cutting, rolling motion. Never stir once the slackening spoonful has been added. The air trapped in the mixture will expand when it gets hot and increase the volume of the batter to create the soufflé's classic rise.


Check out more lusciously light soufflé recipes

Chocolate soufflé

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 324
  • Fat 23.1g
  • Saturates 12.6g
  • Carbs 9.2g
  • Sugars 3.6g
  • Fibre 0.4g
  • Protein 19.6g
  • Salt 0.8g
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