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Liz Earle's Easy Cheese soufflé

Liz Earle's Easy Cheese soufflé

March 3, 2013 - By Liz Earle

Liz Earle shares her recipe for an easy cheese soufflé.

Serves 4 with one large soufflé or 4 smaller individual ones. You’ll get the best rise using a dish with straight sides.

What you'll need:

  • 25g (1oz) butter, plus a little extra to grease the dishes
  • 1tbsp finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
  • 200ml (7fl oz) whole milk
  • Optional: a few black peppercorns, a crushed bay leaf, half an onion and carrot, both roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp smooth mustard (optional)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 75g (3oz) mature Cheddar or Gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Butter the soufflé dish or four small ramekins using a dab of softened butter or use a leftover butter wrapper. Sprinkle in most of the finely grated Parmesan cheese and tip to coat the bottom and sides. I often use Grana Padano as it is cheaper and tastes as good. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, adding the optional ingredients to give the milk a rich flavour for the soufflé base. Bring to the boil and then put to one side to allow the flavours to infuse. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees in a fan oven) or gas mark 4.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the plain flour and mustard (if using). Lightly season with a grind of salt and pepper (omit if making for young children). Stir all the time to make a smooth paste (no lumps!). Stir in the milk a little at a time (mixture will thicken). Beat in the egg yolks until smooth, then add the grated cheese until it has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Whisk the egg whites until softly firm and they form small peaks. Gradually add the whisked egg whites to the cheesy egg yolk mixture one spoonful at a time, folding in gently so as to preserve as many air bubbles as possible to keep the soufflés light. Using a metal tablespoon helps.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekin dish(es) and sprinkle with the remaining finely grated Parmesan or similar cheese. Stand on a baking tray and cook for approx. 20 minutes (smaller ramekins will cook more quickly than one larger dish). The soufflé should rise above the rim of the dish and turn a beautifully golden brown in colour.

Hints:

The cheesy egg yolk mixture can be prepared in advance, leaving the egg whites to be whisked in at the last moment (a good supper party tip).

Egg whites will only whisk if they are completely free from any egg yolk. If you do get a trace of egg yolk in the egg whites when breaking the eggs, the easiest way to remove is by using part of the egg shell as a scoop (egg shell attracts the yolk much more than a spoon).

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