Basic Easy Cheese Souffle: Light and Airy

Close up of baked souffle on stove
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  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Whether a simple cheese souffle or something fancier involving lobster or asparagus, soufflés are the pinnacle of egg dishes. Nevertheless, a lot of people are intimidated by soufflés; there seems to be something arcane or magical about creating them, but in fact, they're not difficult to make. This is a basic recipe that can be adapted in many ways and you can find a detailed tutorial on making soufflés

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole)
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cheese* (grated)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan (finely grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

How to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 1-cup soufflé dishes/ramekins with butter and dust with parmesan.
  2. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat, add flour and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  3. In the meantime, heat milk in the microwave at medium power for 30 seconds.
  4. Whisk in milk and continue to cook, stirring, until thickened.
  5. Whisk together egg yolks and spices, then add to sauce mixture, whisking steadily to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  1. Stir in the cheese, melt and mix thoroughly.
  2. Mix in any additional ingredients, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat egg whites to medium stiff peaks. If you're not using a copper egg bowl, add cream of tartar.
  4. Thoroughly fold 1/3 of whites into sauce mixture.
  5. Casually fold mixture back into remaining whites.
  6. Pour into soufflé dishes, place in oven, reduce heat to 375 Farenheight, and bake 30 to 35 minutes depending on how well done you like your soufflés. Don’t open the oven for the first 20 minutes!

*Cheese possibilities include Gruyere, Emmentaler, comte, chevre, brie, cheddar, manchego, blue, in fact, almost any cheese.

Additions: Almost anything is good. Whatever you add should be finely chopped so that it is both evenly distributed throughout the dish and so that the expanding eggs can lift it – chunks will fall to the bottom. Don’t add more than about a half cup of the additional ingredient to the cheese mixture, and make sure whatever you add is well drained to avoid thinning the sauce. Lastly, additional ingredients should generally be cooked in advance.

 

  • Possibilities:
  • Crab, lobster, crayfish
  • Spinach (an old standby), sorrel, arugula (be sure to squeeze all moisture out of these before chopping)
  • Asparagus, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes
  • Ham, bacon