- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- Serves 4 as a starter
- 30g unsalted butter, plus extra for the ramekins
- 25g parmesan, finely grated, plus 2 tbsp
- 30g plain flour
- 300ml whole milk
- a pinch cayenne pepper, white pepper or grated nutmeg
- 50g gruyère, finely grated
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ¼ tsp white wine vinegar
- 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.