Chocolate soufflés get all the attention, but this cheese soufflé really deserves your love and affection. As expected, I load this puppy up with a lot of gruyère. The soufflé is creamy, puffy, and savory- with a hint of dijon mustard to add some depth of flavor. One of the best pairings I’ve come across for this soufflé is a crisp and juicy apple. I like alternating bites of each, but if you have an apple salad that you enjoy, now is the time to whip it out (and share it with me).
This recipe is easily scalable, but the measurements I give here yield about 5 standard-size ramekins. To start, preheat your oven to 400º F. If you have a convection oven, turn that function off. You don’t want any fan action to disturb your soufflés while they rise. Then, grate 1.5 cups of gruyère cheese. You can swap in any combination of melty cheeses you like, but gruyère steals my heart in this kind of thing. As soon as the wrapper came off of the cheese, Miss Stella came running. She’s great about cleaning up what I “drop.”
Next, separate 3 eggs. Drop the whites into a large mixing bowl, and put the yolks in a small side bowl. Use a whisk to whip the whites until they hold stiff peaks. If you’re using a stand mixer, you can save time by beating the eggs on a medium-low speed while you prepare the rest of the soufflé mixture. Side rant: recipes always talk about adding cream of tartar to egg whites before you whip them, but I’ve never done that and never had a problem getting them to hold up. That one ingredient stopped me from beating egg whites for so long…don’t let it get in the way of your dreams too!
In a small pot, melt 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of butter. Then, add in 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of flour, and whisk it into the butter. Once they are combined into a roux, slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk. Stirring frequently, if not constantly, heat the milk mixture until it bubbles and begins to thicken. Then, remove the pot from the heat, and add in your grated cheese. Stir it until it melts (you now have a mornay sauce). Stir 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard into the sauce, and season it with salt (just a little- the cheese and mustard are salty) and pepper. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings. Then, mix in the 3 egg yolks until they are combined.
Mix a dollop of the whipped egg whites into the mornay sauce. Then, gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the sauce. You want to combine the two mixtures without completely deflating the fluffy egg whites. I opted to pour the sauce into the bowl of egg whites because the bowl was easier to mix in, so I just scooted the egg whites aside before I poured in the sauce to avoid crushing them.
Grease your ramekins with cooking spray, and then pour in the soufflé batter. Leave at least 1/4 inch of space at the top of the ramekins for the soufflés to rise.
Put the soufflés into the oven, and bake them for approximately 20 minutes until they are golden brown and set throughout. After the soufflés go into the oven, don’t open the oven door for at least 2/3 of the cooking time so that the soufflés have a chance to set. Opening the door could cause cold air to rush in and mess up the soufflés’ rising momentum.
When you remove the soufflés from the oven, they will be at their maximum height and puffiness. Don’t despair, but they will begin to deflate immediately. If you’re going for show, serve the soufflés as quickly as you possibly can. As the hot air inside the soufflés cools down, their visual impact will diminish but their flavor will not.
I’ve found that once the soufflés fall, they don’t change much at all. Any leftovers can go into the refrigerator and be reheated nicely in the microwave. They will still taste as good as they did right out of the oven. If you thought Stella was wild about my grated cheese, she was even crazier for the finished product. After I cleaned out one ramekin, I put it on the floor for her to lick. She picked it up and carried it into another room (she likes eating on carpets) and got out every last crumb. She has good taste!
- Gruyère cheese- 1.5 cups, grated
- Eggs- 3
- Butter- 1 ounce
- Flour- 1 ounce
- Milk- 1 cup
- Dijon mustard- 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper