The Perfect Cheese Souffle
The Cheese in My Life
Cheese is one of my favorite indulgences. It's one of those foods I could eat too much of very often. And in many instances, it requires very little preparation. As a young girl, I fondly remember my grandmother serving cubed cheddar cheese as a snack, and I still like to eat it that way. As a teenager, I enjoyed those individually-wrapped strips of mozarrella that my own children eat today. In my 20's, I grew my first herb garden and spiced my cheese up a bit by drizzling olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil all over sliced goat cheese. I love layering fresh sliced mozarella and home-grown tomatoes on a dish with pesto drizzled over top. Today, I still do all of those things and much more.
Cooking with cheese adds a whole new dimension, for as we all know, melted cheese is fantastic. Pizza is always welcome and the beloved grilled cheese often compliments soup in my household. We like to make paninis with all kinds of ingredients as well. But it is really the cheese that makes it all come together.
In my thirties came the cheese souffle. The Cheese Souffle is a wonderfully light and decadent dish. It may look intimidating, but it is really not difficult to make. In my opinion, havarti is the best cheese to use in a souffle. It is mild and soft; sometimes the milder flavor is compared to swiss cheese. Over the years, I've found the best results with the ingredients and instructions shown below.
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups havarti cheese, shredded
- 1/8 cup butter (unsalted)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, whole
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt butter in sauce pan. Add flour, stir until it forms a paste. Gradually pour in milk until bubbly. Add red pepper and basil and stir.
- Add cheese to mixture, reserving 1/2 cup for later, a little at a time, allowing it time to melt, stirring constantly. Set aside.
- Separate eggs into two medium-sized bowls.
- Beat egg yolks with mixer. Gradually stir in cheese mixture with a large fork or spoon and set aside.
- Beat egg whites until peaks form. This may take a few minutes.
- Gently pour egg whites into cheese mixture. Stir it gently, leaving the two mixtures visible.
- Pour mixture into greased 9 inch round casserole dish.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Place in preheated oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
- Insert knife in center of souffle. If knife comes out clean, the souffle is done.
- When done, turn oven off and crack open oven door. Allow souffle to sit in oven for up to 10 minutes befor taking it out. This will allow it to cool more slowly, keeping it fluffy.
- Serve with kiwi, melon, or apple slices. Would be perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
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