Simple Souffle (twice baked…)

Posted on February 28, 2011

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In theory, you could have a whole menu composed of souffles…. A cheese souffle to start, followed by a fish souffle for main and then perhaps a berry souffle for dessert. It would certainly be an adventure, but the stress…..oh my goodness!

Souffles are a little bit of a tricky beast – I’ve only ever made them as a starter or a dessert, failure being mitigated by a safe and crowd pleasing main course.

They are also somewhat faffy… making your roux and beating your whites and folding and making a bain marie etc.. etc.. That said, I do think they’re really lovely! The light fluffy texture of a souffle can often belie the powerful flavours they can carry and fork by fork they can be devoured without leaving a heavy fullness in your stomach.

I have found twice-baked souffles to be the easiest option if you’re serving souffle at a dinner party. They are no less of an effort to make than any other souffle, but they do remove some of the “fingers-crossed-I-hope-this-works” anxiety that can cause a home cook to reach for the wine glass in despair. The majority of the recipe can be done well in advance, just requiring a quick grill to melt the cheese and salad prep before you serve.

I generally serve these as a starter with a salad (shown with watercress, walnuts, apple and celery), but I also think roasted beetroot would sit nicely alongside this.

Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle

425ml milk, 4 tbsp butter (extra required for greasing), 7 tbsp plain flour,2 tsp grain mustard, 4 eggs (separated), 140g strong, white cheese, 6 tbsp double cream, seasoning

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it simmers and set aside. Melt butter in another saucepan, sift in the flour and cook gently for 1 minute. Take off the heat and gradually whisk in the warm milk until smooth (be patient!). Return to the hob and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Take off the heat again and stir through the mustard, egg yolks and 3/4 of the cheese. Season and pour into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites into the cheese sauce until combined. Spoon mix into 6 buttered ramekins (about 2/3 full). Place the ramekins in a bain marie (large roasting dish, half full of boiling water), ensuring water reaches halfway up the side of the ramekin. Bake for 15-20 minutes (souffle should be slightly coloured and a little wobbly). Remove from the bain marie and leave to cool (at this stage you can chill them until required if you’re making them ahead of time)

To serve, heat the oven to 200c/GM6 and release the souffle from the ramekin by loosing them with a knife. Place the souffles on a baking tray, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pour approximately 1 tbsp of cream over the top of each. Bake for 10-15 minutes until pouffed and golden. Serve at once with your chosen accompaniment.

Enjoy eating,

Helen x

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