Recipe: Gruyere Cheese Soufflé
I am spending my summer in the Hamptons with a fantastic new client who has a penchant for soufflés, both sweet and savory. I love them too and am used to making individual gems, but no matter how many times I do, there's always a level of anticipation in terms of will they rise beautifully and will they be cooked through? Making soufflés for large groups only heightens that anticipation. Last weekend the guests totaled an even dozen which meant doubling recipes and hoping that the soufflés would rise accordingly and not fall the moment they were pulled from the oven. Presentation is everything.
I am pleased to report that these cheese soufflés were gorgeous and delicious. Both soufflé dishes returned to the kitchen scraped clean. Even the “crust” on the bottom and the sides of the dish (my favorite part as it’s a combination of parmesan and butter) had been eaten. The key to making this soufflé recipe is not over melding the whites with the béchamel (a standard rule) and equally important is to maintain some of the grated cheese texture when you introduce it to the béchamel so the cheese flavor prevails during the baking process. With those two easy caveats in mind, bake away. This soufflé recipe will not let you down. I served the soufflés with a honey roasted fig salad on a bed of butter lettuce and gorgonzola crumbles for an extra cheesey lunch entrée.
Gruyere Cheese Souffle
Serves 6 to 8
Special equipment: A 10-cup soufflé dish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8 eggs separated – keep the whites in the refrigerator while you make the béchamel
6 tablespoons butter plus an extra pat for greasing the dish
6 tablespoons flour
1-2/3 cups whole milk scalded
½ cup grated Parmesan plus more for dusting
1 cup grated Gruyere
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
Triple dash of cayenne
Grease soufflé dish with butter and coat thoroughly with grated parmesan. Set aside.
For the béchamel: Place milk in a pan and heat over medium heat until it bubbles but not boils. Remove from the heat. In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes to cook away any floury taste. Add milk. Stir until blended and cook another minute until a nice satiny roux has formed. Remove from the heat and add the spices. Stir. Add the egg yolks one at a time stirring until completely incorporated. Now add the cheeses and stir until fully mixed. Set aside.
For the whites: In a large stainless steel bowl beat the egg whites until they start to solidify. Add the cream of tartar. Continue to beat until they form stiff white peaks.
Bringing it all together: Stir a cup of the whites into the béchamel in order to lighten it up. Now add the béchamel to the whites and very gently fold the two mixtures together. I use a spatula and turn the mixture from the bottom repeatedly. The mixture will never come together completely so don’t over fold. It will look a little lumpy and cheesey. Place the mixture in the dish and use your spatula to gently smooth the top.
Bake until a beautiful golden crown has formed and soufflé is firm in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes.
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