Wednesday, May 18, 2011
National Cheese Souffle Day
Today is a lovely day, despite the cold and dreary rain that has descended upon Southeastern Michigan -- it's National Cheese Soufflé Day!
Now, don't be intimidated -- soufflés are NOT the complicated, overwhelming things that they're made out to be. Despite their reputation, you don't need a culinary degree to make them ... I promise!
You simply make a sauce with butter, flour, milk, cheese and egg yolks; then you beat the egg whites, stir it all together, and place the batter into a baking dish. Cook it, then impress everyone around you with your masterpiece! Truly, it is that easy.
You just need to know a couple of tips to maximize your efforts:
It's best to use straight-sided dishes so that the soufflé can climb.
You need to grease the baking dish and then use flour or bread crumbs or finely grated cheese to coat the greased interior, or else the soufflé has nothing to cling to as it rises.
Serve it immediately after showing off, because it will sink quickly.
You want to use a strong cheese, something well-aged and a bit pungent (i.e.: a sharp cheddar) so that the flavor shines through instead of being too subtle.
But these are all easy quirks to accommodate ....
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup strong cheese, grated
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease and flour two 6" souffle dishes.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute; slowly whisk in the milk until everything is combined. Whisk in the cheese until it is melted, then remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold the sauce into the whites.
Pour batter into the prepared dishes and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and the souffles don't wiggle much when jostled a bit.
Bring an audience to "ooh" and "ahh" over your masterpieces, then serve immediately.
Serves 2 generously.
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