Eat Like a Princess - Belle - Cheese Soufflé
As Lumiere's melodic menu continues Cheese Souffle is next on the list! Souffle is the like comedy of the culinary world. Everyone is afraid of it. No one speak! No one move! Definitely don't open a window. Souffles rely on the expansion of hot gas and structure of egg white for lift during baking instead of baking powder, soda, or yeast like traditional baked goods. Simply put if the structure isn't right it's going to fall down whether someone sneezes or not!
I will admit I have not perfected my soufflé game - it took me a couple tries to get a decent consistency of egg whites to give these souffles their structure but that was really the hardest part. Even my first attempt at a keto version with gouda cheese and sliced green onions was still delicious even if it didn't hold up 100% for the first pictures. My attempt at the traditional recipe (below) faired better but still deflated some as it cooled. It was also in a slightly larger container than called for so the soufflé didn’t expand over the top. Cheese soufflé has a wonderful puffy texture - it jiggles like the Asian style cloud pancakes - all thanks to the egg white whipped into soft peaks. A bit of care is required to fold in the egg whites to prevent them from deflating but it all holds up pretty well!
To prepare the souffles first butter and dust small ramekins or oven proof baking dishes in butter then Parmesan cheese. (For the keto version I used a little extra almond flour.) Next cook your bechamel sauce on the stove by combining butter, flour, milk, cheese, and egg yolks. Separately whip the egg whites with a little cream of tartar at high speed until medium-soft peaks form. Soft peaks means the egg whites are solid, not foamy, and when the whisk is pulled away peaks are rounded and fall back into the bowl. Medium peaks have tips that flop over. A decent comparison is cool whip versus whipped cream. Cool whip is pretty solid but isn't stiff. That's the goal.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup any type of cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional
- 2 tbs chives, finely sliced, optional
Heat oven to 425 F. Grease 2 8 oz amekins with butter and dust with Parmesan.
- Melt butter over medium-low heat, add flour and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
- In the meantime, heat milk in the microwave at medium power for 30 seconds.
- Whisk in milk and continue to cook, stirring, until thickened.
- Whisk together egg yolks and spices, then add to sauce mixture, whisking steadily to avoid scrambling the eggs.
- Stir in the cheese, melt and mix thoroughly.
- Mix in any additional ingredients, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat egg whites to medium-stiff peaks. If you're not using a copper egg bowl, add cream of tartar.
- Thoroughly fold 1/3 of whites into sauce mixture.
- Casually fold mixture back into remaining whites.
- Pour into soufflé dishes, place in oven, reduce heat to 375 F, and bake 20 minutes. Don't open the oven until done!