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  • Sunday, September 20, 2015

    How to Bake the Perfect Cheese Soufflé

    OK, don’t panic!! It’s not that hard, it’s really delicious and is another one of those recipes that will knock people’s socks off when you say, “How about Cheese Soufflé for lunch?”

    My mother, now residing in heaven, liked Cheese Soufflé. When I was a surly teenager and doing a lot of the cooking for the two of us (she was a single working mom), we found this recipe and discovered we could make Cheese Soufflé just like any French chef, and so we did, with some regularity.

    I hadn’t made the Soufflé in a while and then, when I decided to try it again, I couldn’t find the recipe and realized I had passed it along to my daughter, Crissy, who lives in Texas with her family, when I gave her my mother’s cookbook. I emailed, she sent, and I’ve made it several times since, always successfully. If you don’t have a Soufflé dish, don’t worry about it. Just use any 2-qt. casserole dish and it will be fine. I did get myself one at Pic n’ Save (now Big Lots) and I have nice thoughts about my mom every time I make this.

    Cheese Soufflé

    6 Tbsp. butter
    6 Tbsp. flour
    1½ cups milk

    6 large eggs separated
    1 tsp. salt

    ¼ tsp. pepper
    ¼ tsp. dry mustard
    Dash cayenne pepper

    2 cups shredded cheese

    Ingredients 1-3 are step one. This, by the way, is called a “roux” pronounced “roo” as in Kanga and Roo from Winnie the Pooh.

    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook this for several minutes over medium heat then start adding the milk, stirring constantly, a little at a time, and you’ll find you have a gorgeous white sauce. Remove from the heat, admire it, add your cheese (I like the Mexican four cheese blend which comes pre-shredded in a nice plastic bag in the cheese section of your market.) blend in till melted, and set it aside.

    6 large eggs separated. This is tricky as it’s hard to get the whites into the large electric mixer bowl without any of the yellow coming along. But YOU can do it! Put the yolks in a small bowl. Beat the whites in your mixer, with the salt, till they form stiff peaks. Set aside.

    To the yolks, add the pepper, dry mustard, and a dash of cayenne pepper if you have it. I’ve never had it, but hope springs eternal! Take your small whisk, beat this together and add it to the roux-cheese mixture.

    Now take your beaten egg whites, which are still stiffly peaking, and gently fold in the roux-cheese-egg yolk mixture a little at a time till it’s all combined. Do not use your mixer to blend these together as it’s too harsh and will ruin your perfect and practically finished soufflé.

    Pour your soufflé into your soufflé dish and make a top hat for it by making a circle about an inch or so deep in the soufflé and about an inch or so from the side of the dish. This is very classy and looks great when it’s finished.

    Now, you can bake your soufflé at about 370-375 for about 50 minutes and have a very crusty outside and creamy interior or you can bake it at about 335 centered in a pan of hot water for about the same amount of time, maybe 5-10 minutes more. This makes for a firmer texture with less crusty outside. Either way is terrific.

    Be sure everyone is ready to dine, napkin in lap, fork in hand, salad on the table, when you remove your soufflé from the oven. Bear it to the table with great ceremony and enjoy the applause, the admiration…….and the soufflé!

    Our chef, Deanne Davis, blogs at A Tablespoon of Love. and her book, A Tablespoon of Love, A Tablespoon of Laughter, is available on Amazon.