A few weeks ago, I tried a little experiment. I tried following a recipe to the letter. Superficially, this may seem like a trivial task. But it’s not. To me, adhering to instructions is like trying to herd cats with snarling, rabid dogs. Not gonna happen.
But I was determined to make a cheese souffle despite its reputation for being a capricious, temperamental, perfection-seeking dish. Actually, the souffle and I have a lot in common. But I digress.
My biggest concern was the noise and activity levels in my home. Unless I was planning on making this sucker at 4 a.m., there is never a quiet moment around here. One of the hairy, smelly lumps of testosterone I live with is always yelling about something, or chasing something, or throwing something or whacking something (usually another hairy, smelly lump of testosterone) with a light saber.
In any case, I don’t know if I just lucked out or what, but I found this recipe on the Internet and it turns out that it’s noisy-hairy-smelly-lumps-of-testosterone- proof. And it was delicious. So, I thought I’d share it with you.
Oh, and just so you know, I followed it to a tee. Except I didn’t have any Gruyère cheese left. I thought I had some Swiss, but that was gone too. So I used sharp Cheddar, instead. Oh, and I didn’t use paprika, but I did put in a couple pinches of thyme. Oh, and I used 2% milk, not whole milk. And I added a bit of cayenne pepper, for a bit of kick.
But other than that, I didn’t change a THING!
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400F. Butter 6-cup (1 1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.