Cheese Soufflé

Hot dog, it rose! It's gone ham!

Hot dog, it rose! It’s gone ham!

The ethereal texture of soufflé never ceases to amaze me. Crisp on top, slightly thickened around the sides of the soufflé dish, and quite creamy in the centre, it’s a beautiful thing to eat. This rich, savory cheese soufflé is top-notch, full of flavour and the dreamy texture variances that are the hallmark of soufflé. The flavours are quite nuanced; I think the cayenne pepper binds them all together. I actually went out and bought cayenne pepper just for this recipe, and fell in love with the stuff! I use it as often as I can. I’m thinking of adding it to hot cocoa the next time I make it.

I think I’ve gone ham!

This soufflé certainly goes ham. I’m so glad I tried it! Having fallen hard for chocolate soufflé, I didn’t think cheese soufflé could possibly hold a candle to the chocolate version. But it does. Imagine a meal for which cheese soufflé is the main dish, and chocolate soufflé follows swiftly on its heels for dessert! Oh, my stars and garters!

Fresh from the oven! Warm, crisp, and gooey.

Fresh from the oven! Warm, crisp, and gooey.

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Cheese Soufflé

Ingredients:

For preparing the dish:
1 TBS salted butter, for greasing the soufflé dish
2 TBS finely grated cheese, for coating the inside of the soufflé dish

For the soufflé proper:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 TBS all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 heaping tsp potato starch
1 1/2 cups cheese, grated (use such cheeses as cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Parmesan, or Asiago, or a mixture of any of these)
2 TBS salted butter
6 eggs, separated
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

For serving alongside:
1 – 2 cups heavy cream, slightly cool (optional)

Method:
Liberally grease the interior of a 9″ or 10″ soufflé dish, including the rim, with the butter. Be sure to use all the butter; the soufflé must have a slick surface against which to rise. Sprinkle the 2 TBS cheese in the soufflé dish to coat the bottom and sides. (This won’t impede the soufflé’s ability to rise.) Refrigerate dish until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, flour, cayenne pepper, potato starch, cheese (reserving a handful for sprinkling over the top of the soufflé, if desired), and 2 TBS butter. Cook over a high heat; whisk until the butter melts and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the 6 egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Whip the 6 egg whites with the cream of tartar (if using) until stiff but still soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the cheese mixture. It’s okay if a few streaks remain. Transfer mixture gently but quickly into the soufflé dish, and sprinkle reserved cheese on top, if so doing. Bake* until the top is golden brown (about 18 minutes). Serve immediately, pouring slightly cool cream over the top.

*I placed my soufflé dish atop a pizza stone, and the soufflé rose beautifully.

Source: Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen by Darren McGrady, 2007

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