How magnificent do these look??? I just love souffles, and every time I take one out of the oven I feel like a 5 year old child…a high pitched “WOWWWWW!!!!!” comes out of my mouth so loudly I’m sure it’s heard by my neighbors. A lot of people don’t like to make souffles because they have a reputation for being difficult, and your success is supposed to depend on whether or not the souffle falls. But I’ll go ahead and say it: souffles are not difficult to make at all, and news flash (!) your souffle IS going to fall some, end of story, in no more than 5 or 10 minutes. There is no need to feel like you have failed (even if it falls it still tastes good)! Here is why they fall: souffles get their rise from the little bubbles of air that you whip into your egg whites. In the hot oven, those bubbles expand and lift the souffle, and when you take them out of the oven, those bubbles will contract as they cool, end of story (so the whole thing falls a little bit). So just make you serve them immediately or have everyone huddle around the oven to enjoy their dramatic exit out of the oven. Here’s how to make these:
The taste of the souffle really depends on the quality of cheese. If you use a bad cheddar, it won’t taste good. Get a specialty cheddar that you enjoy.
Yield: 1 8inch souffle ramekin or 12 4oz ramekins
butter for greasing the ramekins (I use old butter wrappers for this)
2 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1.25 cups hot milk
4 egg yolks
6 oz sharp cheddar, grated
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
5 egg whites mixed with 1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
salt and pepper
Grease the bottom and sides of your ramekin(s) and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Pop into the freezer for at least 5 minutes so the parmesan cheese sticks.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook until it stops sputtering (the water has cooked out). Whisk in the flour and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes over medium, until nice and thick:
While constantly whisking, slowly pour in the milk, and turn the heat to high. Keep whisking, and once the mixture starts to boil, take the pan off the heat.
In a big bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until smooth. Temper the eggs into the mixture by first pouring some of the hot sauce into the eggs (while constantly whisking), then pouring the eggs into the saucepan (whisk, whisk, whisk)! Whisk in the cheddar, mustard, chives, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
In a very clean bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together with a hand mixer, until you get stiff peaks.
Stir in 1/4 of the stiff egg whites into the egg yolk cheese base to lighten it, then fold the rest in via 3 installments, until the mixture is nice and light. Be gentle so you don’t deflate the egg whites.
Portion the souffle mixture into your ramekins, and fill them up to the top. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes if you are using the small ramekins, and 35 minutes if you are doing the big one. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s Cheese Souffle Recipe.