If you haven’t had one (yet), a cheese soufflé is like an airy cheese puff with a crispy top baked to creamy, cheesy pudding perfection. But somewhere down the culinary line, the soufflé picked up a bad reputation as difficult, tedious and finicky, and easily collapsable by loud sounds as pictured in cartoons. While these myths are far from true, the savoury soufflé is a simple and refined dish that requires a positive attitude, billowy soft egg peaks and a heaping handful of cheese.
As part of our Cheese of the Month Club with Dairy Farmers of Canada, Le Gré des Champs is a certified organic cheese with a floral and hazelnut aroma evoked by its three month aging process. But what we love most is that owners Suzanne and Daniel pride themselves in the care and wellbeing of their 30 Brown Swiss dairy cows that graze on a luxurious mixture of plants and whose milk is solely used to process their cheese. Le Gré des Champs’ medium, smooth, rich texture is the perfect melt in your mouth cheese that complements the simplicity of a soufflé allowing it to fully shine in the theatrics of its performance.
Inspired by Julia Child’s classic cheese soufflé, the béchamel sauce is made with a heavy handful of cheese and yolks, folded into a whipped egg white then folded into the eggy, cheesy custard base. The light pockets of air from the whisked egg whites expand with the heat of baking making the soufflé lift and grow to a Le Gré des Champs’ flavoured air-like texture.
Le Gré des Champs Cheese Soufflé
PREP TIME | 20 minutes
COOK TIME | 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS | Makes 6 servings
- 1 cup Le Gré des Champs cheese, finely grated
- 3 tbsp butter + 1 tsp
- 3 tbsp flour + 1 tbsp
- 1 cup milk
- ½ tsp salt + a pinch
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Small pinch cayenne pepper
- Small pinch nutmeg
- 5 medium eggs (4 yolks, 5 whites)
- ½ small lemon
No. 1 | Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter the ramekins and dust lightly with flour. Shake and roll them around to ensure there is even coverage and place them in the fridge while you prepare the soufflé. Measure out all of your ingredients. Prepare a large bowl for whisking your egg whites by rubbing the inside with half a lemon and wiping dry with a clean cloth.
No. 2 | Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until it foams together for 2 minutes, being careful not to allow it to brown. Pour in the milk and whisk vigorously until it’s well blended. Whisk in the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Allow to boil for one minute while stirring and remove from heat. Immediately begin separating the eggs.
No. 3 | Separating one egg at a time, drop the egg whites into your whites bowl, and beat the egg yolk into the sauce. Repeat until you have 4 yolks in the sauce, then add an additional white into the whites bowl.
No. 4 | Beat the egg whites with the salt at high speed until they form stiff peaks. Very carefully stir in ¼ of the egg whites into the soufflé sauce. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Delicately fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to over fold.
No. 5 | Pour equal amounts of the soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins until they are little over ¾ full. Lightly tap each ramekin on the counter to remove air bubbles and smooth the top. Sprinkle each soufflé with the remaining cheese. Place on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Immediately lower the heat to 375° and bake for 14-17 minutes. Use the oven light and remove the soufflés once they are puffed about 1 inch above the rims of ramekins.
No.6 | Serve immediately. Soufflés can deflate very quickly and should be served within a few minutes of being removed from the oven.
Bon appetit xo
Chef Sous Chef