100 recipes: Souffle

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The perfect cheese souffle – Michel Roux, Eggs

50g softened butter, to grease dishes
50g Gruyere, grated, to coat dishes
20g butter
20g plain flour
250ml milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne
6 medium egg yolks
10 medium egg whites
240g Gruyere finely grated, plus 4 thin discs

  1. Generously grease the insides of four 10cm souffle dishes with the softened butter. Put about 50g grated Gruyere into one dish, rotate it to coat the inside, then tip the excess into another dish. Repeat to coat them all.
  2. To make the béchamel, melt the 20g butter in a pan. Add the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring with a whisk, to make a roux. Still stirring, add the cold milk and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Let bubble for a minute or two, then pour the béchamel into a bowl. Season lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne, then whisk in the egg yolks. Cover the bowl with cling film and let cool slightly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Immediately mix a third of the egg whites into the warm souffle mixture with a whisk, then, using a large spoon, fold in the rest with one hand while showering in the grated Gruyere with the other. Stop as soon as the mixture is amalgamated. Spoon the mixture into the dishes to come 5mm above the rim. Smooth the surface with a palette knife, then use a knife tip to ease the mixture away from the side of each ramekin to help it rise.
  4. Stand the dishes in a deep ovenproof dish lined with a sheet of greaseproof paper and pour in enough almost-boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Bake the souffles for six minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, trim the Gruyere discs to the same diameter as the dishes and cut into four segments. Quickly position a segmented Gruyere disc on top of each souffle and immediately return to the oven for two minutes. Put the cooked souffles on individual plates and serve at once – they won’t wait!

Serves 4

About

The best souffle recipe is Michel Roux’s soufflé Suisesse, served at Le Gavroche as featured in The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. Jill Dupleix recommends Fredy Girardet’s recipe for passionfruit souffle.

Michel Roux’s recipe for the perfect cheese souffle was listed in The Observer’s How to make the perfect…. article, and features in his Eggs cookbook.

All equipment needs to be dry and free of egg yolk.

Souffle can be cooked in a porcelain or Pyrex dish, or a metal mold known as a Charlotte. It is best placed on the middle rack in the oven.

It is difficult to give an exact cooking time because individual ovens vary so much. It can take anything from 8 to 14 minutes. Rely on your eyes – when the souffles are puffed and well risen, with golden brown tops, they are ready to serve. Instantly. Souffles wait for no-one.
- Philippe Mouchel, ‘More than French recipes and stories’

Souffles must be made just before serving.

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