Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Aunt Alethea's Cheese Soufflé

This was one of the first recipes I collected, when I was in my early teens, from my Great Aunt who was always happy to talk cooking with me. I swooned at the richness and elegance and apparent complexity of it when she served it to us. It was not, however, too challenging for a beginning cook and I have made it somewhat irregularly ever since, according to how willing I am at any given time to overlook the fact that it's very, very rich.

I follow Aunt Alethea's lead, and serve it with a nice simple green salad, and good rolls or bread for a relatively light meal. You could also serve it as an appetizer; in which case it would likely stretch to 6 or 8 servings.

It really is an excellent dish for company, in spite of the fact that it must be served at once. You can get around this by making the sauce in advance, but not adding the beaten egg whites until you actually see your company coming up the walk. Keep both components aside in a cool place (but not the refrigerator, and not for much more than half an hour.) Answer the door, and excuse yourself long enough to pop it in the oven. It doesn't take long to bake, and by the time greetings have been exchanged and a drink poured, it will pretty much be ready. Magic!

4 servings
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Aunt Alethea's Cheese Souffle
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup milk
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup grated extra-old Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Butter a 1 litre (quart) casserole, or 4 smaller casseroles. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Grate the cheeses and set them aside. Separate the eggs; put the yolks in a small dish and the whites in a medium mixing bowl to be beaten.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, salt, pepper and mustard, and cook for several minutes until thick and pasty. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring until the mixture is smooth between each addition. When it is all absorbed and the sauce is thick, remove it from the stove. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then mix in the cheeses. When the are melted, mix in the egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them gently into the cheese mixture, and put it into the prepared casserole or casseroles. Place them on a baking tray, and bake them for 30 minutes (20 to 25 minutes for smaller dishes) until puffed and browned.

Serve immediately, if not sooner!

Last year at this time I made Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey or Ham.


to2sassy said...

These look beautiful and sound heavenly!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

WOW they look wonderful and so DAMN good!! Cannot wait to make these - only one problem I will not want to share :)

Ferdzy said...

Thanks, guys!

Kevin said...

That cheese souffle looks good!