Cheese Souffle

There is a real myth surrounding souffles. I believe some of the great French Chefs were trying to discourage people from making it, so they exaggerated its difficulty. How many stories did you hear about souffles collapsing or falling flat like a pancake, with advices to walk slowly and not create any waves near the oven. The dish is in fact rather easy to prepare and requires a few technical knowledge to avoid some of its challenges. Souffe goes back to a French master Chef, Vincent La Chapelle, in the early eighteenth century. 
The development and popularization of the famous souffle is attributed to Marie-Antoine Carême in the early nineteenth century. We used to see souffee on all the menus in Paris at a certain time. But, because of time restraints they have totally disappeared, pitty. There are two components to making a good souffle ; first a rich white sauce; Bechamel which is flavoured with grated cheese and then folded with beaten egg whites.
A souffle can be prepared in any type of dish that can go in the oven. I have baked a souffle in coffee mugs or like the picture above, in a baking china dish.
If you use small ramequin dishes like the one above. I recommend using a small brush with butter and cover them, using vertical strokes. Then cover with breadcrumbs or grated Parmesan cheese.

INGEDIENTS
Serve 4

Bechamel
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons All purpose Flour
1 Cup of Hot Milk
Salt & Pepper
1/4 Grated Nutmeg
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup of finely grated Parmagiano (I have also used Emmenthal, Gruyere, and even sharp Cheddar Cheese. Any type of cheese will work.

Souffle
4 Egg Whites at room temperature

INSTRUCTIONS
Melt the butter in a heavy base saucepan at medium heat. Once melted, using a whisk, stir in the flour and mix well – The mixture will come together and using your whisk, stir constantly to cook what is called a “roux” for a few minutes at low heath, to cook the flour.
In the meantime, warm up the milk ( I use the microwave for 2 minutes) until very hot.
Pour the hot milk in the saucepan and using a whisk mix rapidly to avoid any lumps. Continue to mix and cook the sauce at medium-low heat, so it starts to thicken and cook.
Add your cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue to mix.
Once the mixture has cooled down, one a time, pour your egg yolks until the mixture is soft and creamy. It should still be firm.

For the Souffle Dish
Butter the Souffle dish with butter – ensuring you brush up the side of the dish in a vertical manner.
The Souffle will grow even taller using this method.
Cover the bottom and sides with either breadcrumbs or grated Parmesan.

METHODASSEMBLING
Pour the 4 egg whites (at room temperature) and a pinch of salt in a clean stainless steel bowl. Using a hand mixer, slowly beat the whites until foamy and increase the speed to maximum.
Beat the whites until firm and the entire mixture doesn’t move in the bowl.

Pour a large scoop of the beaten whites in your saucepan and loosen the mixture.
Pour the mixture in your egg white preparation and using the “8” method, fold in the white with the sauce. Do not mix, but simply fold the egg whites into the cheese sauce.
Bake in the oven at 180 Celcius for 30-35 minutes – I like our souffle to brown and crispy.
Serve with a glass of Chablis.

TIP DU JOUR : Make sure your eggs are at room temperature, especially the whites as they will not rise a lot if they are cold.
The tip is to separate them when cold, but leave them at room temperature before whisking them.


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