Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Last night I couldn’t decide what to make for dinner. I went back and forth, being extremely indecisive when I finally decided on a cheese soufflé. It's something I've always wanted to try, but I've been a little intimidated. Since I was dining alone with my dog, I figured if I screwed it up and ended up with a sunken and botched soufflé, I could just try again and no one would know!

Seeing as this was the first soufflé I have ever made, I went with a trusted and classic recipe by Julia Child.

Cheese Soufflé
Julia Child

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)

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat 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. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

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 375 degrees. 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.

ready to go in the oven

I cut the recipe in half and used a 16oz soufflé dish since I was dining solo. I wasn’t sure how much the cook time would change with the smaller soufflé, so I just kept checking on the soufflé using the oven light—not opening the oven door as Julia instructed above. I watched with baited breath hoping to god the thing would rise as expected. It did!! It still took about 25 minutes to cook, same as the 32oz. Seeing as how I’m a pretty clumsy person, I tried to be as careful as humanly possible when taking it out of the oven. When the soufflé made it to the table, it looked beautiful. Nice, tall, and fluffy. And it smelled incredible—my whole apartment smelled of perfectly toasted cheese.

My dinner date was extremely jealous.

I paired the soufflé with a fresh baguette and dug in! The best way I can think of to describe it is airy and light; a delicate pillow of cheese and egg. Bite after bite of cheesy ecstasy and I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I ate the whole thing!

It was well worth it though and a lot less difficult to make than I thought it would be. I can’t wait to make it again for some of my friends!