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Cheese Soufflé

5 eggs
3 oz butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups milk
gruyère and parmesan

Butter inside of soufflé dish liberally, and dust with grated parmesan. Heat oven to 350°F 180°C.

If you have no Gruyère, Cheddar will do.

Separate the eggs: whites in a large copper bowl, ready for beating; yolks in one small bowl. If you don't have a copper bowl, use a glass or ceramic one, but add a pinch of salt or cream of tartar to the eggwhites.

You can add surprises and flavourings to the béchamel—morsels of smoked or salted salmon; fried lardons of smokey bacon; coarsely chopped spinach, wilted in butter to remove excess moisture; or whatever takes your fancy.

Make a thick béchamel with the butter, flour and milk. Add the grated gruyère to the hot béchamel. Beat the egg yolks, mix in a dollop of béchamel, then mix the yolks into the mass of the béchamel.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Mix one fourth of the eggwhites into the béchamel mixture, to loosen it. Add this mixture to the remaining eggwhites; fold together, quickly and gently. Transfer mixture to prepared soufflé dish, tap sharply against worktop, to settle, and place in oven.

Bake 30 minutes; dust quickly with grated parmesan; turn oven up to 390°F 200°C, bake ten minutes more.

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