Oh my. Where to begin? I had no idea what to expect when I embarked up the creation of my first cheese soufflé. Not just any cheese soufflé...Julia Child's Cheese Soufflé. I have desperately wanted to make a chocolate soufflé for quite a while now, but wanted to wait until I had a proper charlotte mold first. (What is a charlotte mold? Click here.) I've watched enough episodes of The French Chef to know that if I'm going to attempt Julia's soufflé, I'm going to be equipped properly. Plus I just think charlotte molds are adorable. (What's not to love about heart-shaped handles?) Well, my handsome Hubby spoiled me rotten for my birthday, and among my haul was a gloriously shiny charlotte mold of my very own. (I thought very seriously about eating cereal out of it immediately... I resisted.) Armed with my new acquisition, I decided to try my hand at a cheese soufflé first, since if it turned out to be a disaster, at least I wouldn't be missing out on chocolate! Oh dear. I have been missing out on a fantastic preparation method for eggs! (For those who don't know, I don't care for eggs...unless they're hidden in baked goods. Or frittatas.) The Cheese Soufflé was light, silky, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth cheesy delicious. If you follow the recipe exactly, I think you'll find that you love it too! To watch Julia make it: Click here.
*DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN TO PEEK until it has been baking for at least 20 minutes. You'll deflate your soufflé and it won't be light and fluffy. It'll look like the tar pits in L.A., and that's not the look Julia had in mind.
Soufflé Au Fromage (Cheese Soufflé)
Credit: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle
Ingredients: (Read carefully, some ingredients are used more than once. I have them listed in the order that you will use them.)
A 6-cup soufflé mold (charlotte mold, or a round porcelain casserole dish)
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
2 ½-quart saucepan
3 tablespoons flour
wooden spatula or spoon
1 cup boiling milk
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
pinch of salt
coarsely grated Swiss, or Swiss and Parmesan cheese-- ¾ to 1 cup depending on the strength of the cheese. (I used half cup Gruyere and half Cup Parmesan.)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Measure out all your ingredients. Butter inside of souffle mold with 1 teaspoon butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese.
3. Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in the saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spatula or spoon and cook over a moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from the heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire whisk until blended. Beat in the seasonings. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whisk, for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick.
4. Remove from heat. Immediately start to separate the eggs. Drop the whites into a separate bowl, and drop the yolks directly into the center of the hot sauce, beating to combine after each addition. Correct seasoning as needed.
5. Add another egg white to the bowl of whites (to make 5) and beat with the pinch of salt until stiff. Stir a big spoonful (about ¼ of the egg white) into the sauce. Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cheese. Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to overfold.
6. Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold, which should be almost ¾ full. Tap bottom of mold lightly on the table, and smooth the surface of the soufflé with a flat knife. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
7. Set on a rack in the middle of the preheated 400-degree oven and immediately turn heat down to 375 degrees. Do not open oven door for 20 minutes. In 25-30 minutes the soufflé will have puffed about 2 inches over the rim of the mold, and the top will be nicely browned. Bake 4 to 5 minutes more to firm it up, then serve at once. (My mold was slightly oversized for this recipe, so my soufflé did not puff over the top of the mold. Delicious nonetheless.)