Cheese soufflé: Yes, you can
If you grew up watching sitcoms on television, you’ve probably never made a cheese soufflé. In the comedy kitchen, a fallen soufflé is the emblem of a hilariously ruined dinner. But in real life, a dish that doesn’t turn out isn’t funny at all - it’s a disappointing waste of precious time and good ingredients. So the cheese soufflé has virtually vanished from the home cook’s repertoire. Many of us have never even tasted one.
In reality, the soufflé’s bad reputation as a fussy or difficult dish is completely undeserved. While subtle in texture and surprisingly delicate in flavour, it’s very easy to make and quite hard to ruin. The only thing you can really do to wreck it is burn it because you’ve forgotten about it – which you’re not likely to do, given the heavenly smell of cheese baking in your oven.
It’s not about height
In the popular imagination, a soufflé is a billowing tower of ethereal lightness, as airy and weightless as sea foam. Here again let’s set the record straight: a soufflé is not a mousse. In fact you may be very surprised by its uniquely moist and cake-like texture. Yes, it will rise as it cooks. How much it rises will depend on the freshness, temperature and consistency of your ingredients, on your oven, on the weather, etc. Loud noises are not as likely to cause a soufflé to fall as sitcom writers would like us to believe, but it’s wise to avoid bowling in the kitchen while it’s baking. And if it does fall or fail to rise, congratulate yourself for making a sformato – an Italian dish that’s denser than a soufflé, and just as delicious.
Five ingredients, three steps
All you need to make a perfect cheese soufflé with butter, flour, milk, eggs, and your favourite Canadian cheese. Start out by preheating the oven to 400º F and buttering a soufflé dish. In step one, separate four eggs, beat the egg whites until they form semi-stiff peaks, and grate or crumble a cup of Canadian cheese. In step two, heat 3 tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan, add 3 tbsp. flour, stir for 2 minutes, and whisk in a cup of warm milk. Finally, whisk in the egg yolks and cheese, a little salt and pepper (and other flavourings), and fold in the egg whites. Voilà. Spoon into your soufflé dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. (You can also use individual buttered ramekins, and bake for 15-18 minutes.) It’s done when it won’t wobble in the centre, the edges are getting brown, and hopefully, it’s risen nice and high!
Suggested flavour combinations
Canadian Blue cheese + a handful of chopped walnuts
Canadian smoked Gouda + a handful of bacon bits
Canadian Monterey Jack + a dab of chipotle purée
Aged Canadian Cheddar + a spoonful of maple syrup
Canadian Ricotta + lemon zest + a handful of chopped mint
Canadian Parmesan + grated nutmeg + a spoonful of pumpkin purée
You can find another easy and delicious cheese soufflé recipe here