6 – Three Cheese Souffle

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Have you ever made a souffle?  They’re a pretty retro dish that’s often overlooked and these 3 cheese souffles are truly delicious.  You can make them now, literally today and put them in the freezer and just defrost when you want them,  we all love a bit of a get ahead bake (and they’re really not so difficult to do either)

Ingredients:

50g butter

20g plain flour

300ml milk

4 eggs, large

50g gruyere cheese, finely grated

50g mature cheddar cheese, finely grated

50g parmesan, finely grated

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to season

A little extra melted butter to grease the dishes.

Makes: 4 – 6 individual souffles depending on ramekin size.

Grate the cheeses finely, keeping the parmesan separate from the others and set to one side.

Melt a little butter and brush liberally all over the insides and top edge of your ramekins.  This is a really important step, in getting the best rise, if you skimp now then the souffle can bake themselves stuck to the edge of the ramekin and you won’t get as much height as you’d like.

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Add a spoonful of the finely grated parmesan and turn well so that it coats the base and sides of the inside.  Set the dishes to one side.

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Place the butter in a pan to melt gently.

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Add the flour and mix well on the heat for a minute.

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Take it off the heat and whisk in the milk a little at a time until it has all been added.

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Return the pan to the heat and stirring constantly to prevent the base from catching bring the mixture to the boil to thicken, continue to simmer and stir for 2 minutes.

Take it back off the heat and stir in the egg yolks one at a time.

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Now add the cheese and stir well until the mixture is smooth and the cheeses have melted.

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Season super well with salt and pepper remembering that the egg whites will dilute the seasoning.  Stir through the cayenne pepper and set this mixture to one side for now.

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In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they are in stiff peaks.

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Take a good spoonful of the whisked whites and beat into the cheese mixture to loosen it.

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Now working with 1/3rd of the egg whites at a time fold these into the cheese mixture, working slowly and carefully so as not to deflate.  If you tend to be heavy handed with folding then use a palette knife – this makes you do slow and retains all that puffy air.

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Continue folding in the egg whites 1/3rd at a time until they have all been added and you have a lovely airy mixture.

Fill the prepared ramekins right to the top and level off with a knife.

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If you’re making these in advance you can put them straight into the freezer for a later date.

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When it comes to baking preheat the oven to 160c (fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.  Run a knife all the way around the top edge, between the ramekin edge and the souffle mixture.  Bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and well risen!

If you have used smaller ramekin dishes (and have more than 4 souffles) then they will need to bake for 15-18 minutes.

If you have previously frozen the souffles you do get the best rise if you defrost them first, they’re happy to defrost in the fridge overnight and wait until you’re ready to bake them.

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Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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