I was in one of those moods. I wanted to try something new and interesting, but not too challenging, because it was for breakfast. And there’s only so much it’s reasonable to do when it’s pre-breakfast. For me, anyway (not a morning person, to say the least).
But there were guests to be fed, and I really hate serving the same old boring stuff all the time.
In this state of mind, my inspiration usually comes from something we already have in the fridge or the cupboard. And we had cheese.
Dave’s a cheese fiend. On this occasion he had a recent delivery from the Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder, with this month’s selection in honour of the Tour de France. The cheeses came from villages along the route, and the two that Dave suggested for this exercise were the Eigernordwandkase, a hard unpasteurised cow’s cheese from the Reutigen-Bernese Alps in Switzerland, and Gabietou, a semi-hard blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk from the Pyrenees in France.
I’d never made cheese souffles before, and I knew they could be a bit touchy, but it didn’t look too hard. I found a recipe that looked manageable on wikiHow.com. Which shows just how basic a recipe it really is.
But it was new and interesting for me, and that’s what mattered.
2 tbs butter
2 tbs plain flour
In a hot saucepan, mix and make a thick roux, as you would if you were making a white sauce. Cook it a bit but don’t let it colour.
1¼ cups milk
Using a whisk, slowly add the milk, starting with small amounts and incorporating thoroughly each time. Cook until thick and smooth. Don’t let it catch, but if you don’t cook it enough the finished result will taste floury.
80g grated cheese
Take it off the heat and add the cheese, mixing until the it is melted. The recipe suggested 60g of something like a gruyere or cheddar plus 20g grated parmesan. I used the two I listed above, mostly the Eigernordwandkase, with a little parmesan.
4 egg yolks
Once the base mix is down to blood temperature (or thereabouts) add the yolks, blending throughly. Allow to cool.
4 egg whites
Whisk egg whites til stiff.
Prepare your souffle dishes: thoroughly butter the dishes you plan to use, including the top rim. Coat with fine breadcrumbs, and tip out any excess.
When your mix is cool, add your egg whites. Add a small amount first and incorporate carefully, then fold in the rest very gently.
When mixed, put the mix in souffle dishes. If you’re using the standard small white ramekins, this should make four, quite full. I was a bit wary and I don’t think I filled mine enough. They tasted great, but some of the spectacular rise I was hoping for was lost.
Put them low (so they have room to rise) in a 200C oven (not fan forced). Cook for 8-10 minutes, which will have them still a tiny bit runny in the middle. It will be more like 20 minutes if you put it in a single dish.
Verdict: I was happy and proud to serve them, but I think I should be braver next time.