Friday, January 15, 2010

Cheese Souffle for Two

If you’re like me, you’re not always cooking for a crowd - but you still want to eat delicious things and not have a fridge full of leftovers. Taking it with you the next day for lunch at work is one thing; eating it for four days straight is quite another. I found an awesome book from America’s Test Kitchen, Cooking For Two 2009, that has tons of great recipes scaled down to serve a pair. While its easy to buy a smaller cut of meat and chop fewer veggies for a roast, it is quite another to make a gorgeous cake that doesn't require a crowd to consume.

I was paging through for a satisfying meal with only a few ingredients: Voila! Souffle! I haven’t grocery shopped in days (and maybe you noticed by my lack of posts)and I’m down to the bare minimum: eggs, milk, cheese (okay, not even cheese, I stole some from my roommate for this). Perfect fit.
Souffle is a comfort food for me- I love my mom’s cheese rice soufflé… it melts in your mouth, and who doesn’t love cheese? It is in the top three of my "foods to add to other foods" list. I was always racing through my first serving it to make sure I’d get seconds. Mama Fierce, if you’re listening… email me that recipe, okay? We’ll get that on here.
This souffle was light, airy and simple. If you can melt butter, whisk flour, crack some eggs, you can do this. If you can't, I'm not sure why you're reading this. Go find a take out menu.

Cooks, gather your ingredients:
1/4 c grated parmesan
2 T unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced (I omitted this because I hate all things onion-like)
2 T all purpose flour
2/3 C whole milk (i mixed cream and skim because I didn't have whole milk.... I know, I know, I need to go grocery shopping! excuse me, I have puffy eyeballs that are embaressing!)
2 1/2 oz cheese (they reccommend gruyere, I used cheddar. You can also use swiss or something else delicious)
pinch dry mustard (i'm out, oh well)
pinch pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/8 t cream of tartar (non negotiable, go buy some if you don't have it. It will help your egg whites whip up easily and keep them holding the air you've whipped. You will also find it in some other recipes, used with baking soda as a leavening agent)

mixer to whip egg whites
2 12 oz ramekins or a 5x9 loaf pan (your souffle will not puff over the edges using this) or if you're me, a random assortment of oven safe pyrex dishes you have collected at garage sales over the post-college years

Start your ovens (set rack to the middle, temp at 350F)
Grease your bakeware, then sprinkle with 1T of the parmesan (or 2 if you're only using one dish). Shake to coat evenly, tap out the excess.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, abut 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, about one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, bring to a simmer, and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and smooth, about one minute. Off the heat, whisk in the gruyere, a pinch of salt, mustard, pepper, and nutmeg. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl, then whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated (this is your souffle base).

In large bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about one minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to whip until the whites are glossy and form stiff peaks, 1-2 minutes.

Fold one quarter of the whipped egg whites into the souffle base until almost no white streaks remain. Fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Gently pour the mixture evenly into the prepared dishes, wiping any mixture from the rims with a wet paper towel. With your finger, trace a circle on the surface of the souffle mixture about 1/2 inch from the side of the dish (this will help it rise evenly). Sprinkle the tops with the remaining parmesan.
Place the souffles on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until their surfaces are deep brown, the centers jiggle slightly when shaken, and then have rise 1-1 1/2 in above the rims of the dishes, 20-22 minutes. Serve immediately.

And I apologize about the photo - I mean, a soufflé can only stand tall for so long! It fell almost immediately as I tried to set up the shot-next time I will have my x’s marked for my soufflé placement, and the tripod already out and metered for. It’s a lot to do while you’re trying to overcome the worst case of eyeball puff ever (due to some mysterious allergic reaction, god only knows what from… just another occupational hazard, I guess I touch gross things).


  1. I MADE THIS J FIERCE! And it was amazing. Thanks for posting. xoxox.