Four Cheese Soufflé

Secret tips to achieve high success making your cheese soufflé.

20140413-053537.jpgSuch a classic French recipe. In my family, this is the type of dish we prepared anytime we needed a simple, quick dinner. The basic ingredients, cheese, milk, eggs were always on hand. Here I’m using four cheeses but you can you just one or two. Be sure to respect the quantities.

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Ingredients:
For the Béchamel sauce
1 cup/250 ml milk
1 1/2 Tbsp/25 g butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 Tbsp potato starch
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Soufflé
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
20-25 g each of Conté, Emmenthaler, Parmesan and Pyrenees Sheep (or gruyère)
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400F.

20140413-055724.jpgseparate egg whites from egg yolks. Ideally, if you can separate them several days in advance and keep them in an air tight container, the egg whites will develop higher volume when whisking them.
Grate the cheeses and keep the Parmesan separate so you can use some for coating the soufflé dish and some to sprinkle on too of the soufflé before baking.

20140413-071145.jpgbutter the soufflé with a pastry brush and soft butter (not melted, just softened at air temperature) thoroughly. Add 2 Tbsp of flour and 1 Tbsp of grated Parmesan and shake them around the dish until completely coated.

20140413-071442.jpgonce all the sides are coated, shake off the excess.

20140413-071559.jpgprepare the ingredients for the Béchamel sauce.

20140413-071655.jpgMelt the butter.

20140413-071801.jpgonce the butter is completely melted, add the flour and potato starch. Using potato starch will help the soufflé stand up a little longer after taking it out of the oven.

20140413-072059.jpgCook the mixture until it bubbles look like a ‘bees nest’.

20140413-072247.jpgMeanwhile, scald the milk.

20140413-072332.jpgRemove the pot from the stove. Add the hot milk to the butter-flour mixture at once, mixing constantly. The sauce should immediately thicken. You may use a whisk instead of a wooden spoon at this point to ensure no lumps appear.

20140413-072541.jpgPlace back on the stove, medium heat, and continue cooking another few minutes to thicken the sauce further. Mix constantly either with a wooden spoon or whisk.

20140413-072843.jpgSeason with salt and pepper and grate some nutmeg.

20140413-072945.jpgAdd the egg yolks one by one, mixing vigorously after each one. This will render the sauce a bit more liquid.

20140413-073115.jpgContinue to cook a few minutes longer, whisking constantly, to thicken the sauce again and the color changes to a paler yellow.

20140413-073253.jpgtransfer to a large bowl.

20140413-073345.jpgPlace the egg white in a metal mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, and start whiling on low speed.

20140413-073510.jpgWhisk until medium firm. The egg whites should not be too firm so they keep rising in the oven.

20140413-073642.jpgPlace about 1/3 if the egg whites into the bowl with the soufflé mixture.

20140413-073932.jpgMix thoroughly with a spatula. No need to be careful at this point as we just want to lighten the consistency of the soufflé mixture so it can easily be incorporated into the rest of the egg whites.

20140413-074056.jpgAdd the remainder of the egg whites, either at once or in two parts.

20140413-074227.jpgnow fold the egg whites delicately into the mixture. If you are adding them in two parts, repeat.

20140413-074635.jpg Add the cheeses by folding them in. Reserve a little Parmesan to top the soufflé.

20140413-074828.jpgCarefully pour the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish, making sure non gets on the rim/sides.

20140413-075020.jpgSprinkle with the reserved grated Parmesan and place in the preheated oven.

20140413-075128.jpgBake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. If you are using individual soufflé fidhes, decrease baking time to 17-20 minutes.

20140413-075307.jpgEnjoy! Can be served with a green salad as an accompaniment for a meal.

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Œufs en cocotte with white truffle

Œufs en cocotte is a very simple and quick dish, which I decided to prepare as a special holiday treat with a white truffle. The fresh truffle aromas marry themselves well with eggs or potatoes. In Provence, we are used to black truffles as our winter delicacy. The white truffles are the delicacies from Italy. Of course, there are advocates of each. Personally, I enjoy savoring either. Both are a true pleasure. Thinly sliced, ideally with a truffle shaver.

20131215-200624.jpgHere I did not have the right tool, so I used a vegetable peeler, which made the slices a bit too thick and not as delicate. Yet, we thoroughly enjoyed the treat nevertheless.

20131215-200832.jpgIngredients for two guests:
1 fresh white truffle from Alba Italy
4 eggs, preferably organic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cream
1 tarragon spring
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F.

20131215-200933.jpgSeparate the egg yolks from the whites by placing the yolks in each individual ramequin. Here I used two eggs per person but you can use only one person. Place the egg whites in a bowl with a round base.

20131215-201115.jpgWhisk the egg whites until they become foamy. You can either use a hand whisk or an electric beater. If you use an electric beater be sure you bring the egg whites to the foamy stage only and not too firm.

20131215-201214.jpgAdd a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the Parmesan cheese reserving a couple tablespoons for the top of the ramequins. Add the cream and mix well.

20131215-201334.jpgPour the mixture over the egg yolks to the top of the ramequins.

20131215-201455.jpgSprinkle the extra Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for about 8 minutes.

20131215-201624.jpgMeanwhile, shave the truffle in thin slices.

20131215-201848.jpgThe œufs en cocotte are ready when the top is golden brown. The inside should still be runny. Top with the truffle shavings and tarragon. Cover with an upside down plate to infuse the flavors for a minute. Remove the plate and serve immediately. Enjoy with a small spoon.

20131216-071242.jpgAfterwards, we also enjoyed grilled scallops atop mousseline potatoes with more white truffle shavings. Here served with purple crispy potatoes and a salad.
Enjoy a delicious holiday season.