Easy cheese soufflé: A simple showstopper to lift spirits
“Soufflés are easier to make than you think,” said Daniel Neman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Yes, there’s a chance that yours will fall. “But when a soufflé falls, you are not left with a pancake. You are left with a soufflé that is slightly less tall than it once was. That is all. And it’s still just as delicious.”
On days when you have almost nothing in the refrigerator but eggs and cheese, you can still create an impressive supper centerpiece. The combination of Gruyère and Parmesan is especially good, but you can use cheddar or other cheeses too. Air supplies the magic. Air, in the form of bubbles, is gently folded into a béchamel sauce, and when the egg mixture is baked, the steam makes the bubbles expand, causing the soufflé to rise.
I will admit that my own recent runs at this recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook resulted in soufflés that slumped slightly. (Editor’s note: This recipe worked in The Week’s own test.) Still, “they were good. No, they were very good—impossibly light in texture, but hearty and satisfying in flavor.”
Recipe of the week
Easy cheese soufflé
3 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 shallot, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz (1 cup) Gruyère cheese, shredded, or cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dry mustard
3 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Place an oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8½-by-4½-inch glass loaf pan, a 1½ quart soufflé dish, or a 1½ quart ovenproof pot. Sprinkle 2 tbsp Parmesan into pan and shake to coat evenly.
Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in Gruyère, salt, pepper, mustard, and nutmeg. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks until completely incorporated, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (with an electric mixer at medium-high speed or by hand) until stiff peaks form.
Working with a quarter of the whipped egg whites at a time, gently fold them into yolk mixture until almost no white streaks remain. Pour mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan. Bake until top is nicely browned and center jiggles slightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Bring it straight from the oven to the table. Serves 4. ■