Souffle means breath or to take ones breath away. I was definitely holding my breath when I waited for it to rise in the oven. After which I was so proud of my fluffly soufflé that I moved around it in circles to figure out the right angle for the shot. That’s when I realized that a soufflé is called so because it takes one big breath and then releases it. Once out of the oven I saw the steam escaping from my soufflé and I lost some steam as well. (But I read that a soufflé holds its shape for only 3-4 mins… so that’s some balm for my wounded ego). Before making the effort, you need to ask yourself the question… “Will you appreciate a subtle dish?, Can you dive into the meal at break neck speed? Will you be happy with a really small portion? (The French I tell you!)”. If the answer to all these questions is a resounding YES… then, please proceed to make this rather finicky dish. Finicky because – you need to get the quantities bang on, the temperature just right, the eggs whipped just so and finally you need to wear roller skates to ensure you can get the soufflé from the oven to the dining table before it collapses. I’m not against all the drama that accompanies this dish…(I actually do like to make a production of my dinner), but save it for a lazy, rainy day.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 (Five 250 ml ramekins/ 1.25 ltr soufflé dish)
What you need:
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) Milk
1 Bay leaf
A few parsley stems
½ Onion peeled
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper
3 Tbsp Butter, plus extra for greasing
3 Tbsp All purpose Flour
3 Eggs, separated
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Cup (125 gm) Sharp Cheddar Cheese
What to do:
Bring the milk to a boil in the saucepan, with the bay leaf, parsley stems and onion half. Remove from the heat, cover and let it infuse for about 20 mins. Strain, then add the cayenne, then season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Remove from the heat, slowly blend in the milk, then bring to a boil. Simmer, for 2-3 mins, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and let it cool for about 10 mins.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Stir them into the cooled white sauce, then stir in the mustard and all but 2 Tbsp of the Cheddar. Whisk the egg whites until they will hold firm but not dry peaks. Fold 1-2 Tbsp egg whites into the cheese mixture until evenly combined, then fold in the remaining whites.
Lightly butter the soufflé dish. Pour in the soufflé mixture and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Set on a preheated baking sheet and bake near the top of the preheated oven at 180°C for about 25 mins or until just risen and just set in the middle. Serve – at once!!