One of my promises to myself for the new year was to tackle some of the things I have always been afraid of making. One of those things is souffles. Before today I had never made one. I decided to make a Cheese Souffle since I also had to make a cake today for my son's birthday, so two sweet things in the house at one time is one sweet thing too many. The savory souffle also served as a good accompanyment to dinner.
For some reason I associate souffles with Julia Child. Probably because she is the American queen of French cooking. I don't immediately associate her with any other French dishes, though. Julia Child is intimidating as all heck to me. I'm not really quite sure why. I'm usually a big fan of strong opinioned and willed women, since I belong to that club myself. I have never attempted souffles before because of her. Today I decided to face my fears. I'm pretty glad I did.
Let me start with this -- souffles are nothing to be afraid of. They are really quite easy. They are also really delicious. The best analogy I can think of for this souffle is Cheese Air. That's essentialy what this is. If the idea if Cheese Air doesn't appeal to you, then this might not be the recipe for you. Please don't let the difficult reputation scare you away, because this really couldn't be more simple.
Print me, Please!!!
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 eggs, separated
Melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and milk. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Whisk in the salt, mustard, and cheese; whisk until the cheese is melted. Cool. Here's what that looks like:
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Beat the 3 egg yolks until slightly thickened and light in color. Fold the egg yolks into the cheese mixture. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3rd of the egg whites into the cheese mixture until incorporated and you don't see any white left in the mixture.
Pour the cheese mixture into the remaining 2/3rds of the egg whites and fold gently until incorporated and you don't see any white streaks in the mixture. Pour the mixture into an ungreased souffle dish or casserole. Place the souffle into a larger dish, then pour warm water into the larger dish until the water comes halfway up the side of the souffle, creating a water bath.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until the top of the souffle is firm and lightly browned. Voila.