Despite their reputation, soufflés are not that difficult to make. But on the off chance your soufflé collapses, just do what the mentor of our culinary director, David, taught him: pass it off as intentional and call it a “fallen soufflé.” A cheese soufflé is a warming weeknight dinner accompanied by greens with sherry vinaigrette and a hunk of crusty baguette. With butter, what the heck.
- 3 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER, PLUS MORE FOR
- GREASING THE RAMEKINS
- ¼ CUP PLUS 2½ TABLESPOONS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
- 2 CUPS MILK
- 2 CUPS GRATED GRUYÈRE
- 5 LARGE EGG YOLKS
- FINE SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND WHITE PEPPER
- 6 LARGE EGG WHITES
- ❶ Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter six 8-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet.
- ❷ In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted but not brown, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for about a minute. It will have the consistency of a roux (see Fish Chowder), thick and paste-like. Whisk in a third of the milk to combine, then slowly whisk in the remaining milk until smooth. While constantly whisking, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, still whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cheese.
- ❸ In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until uniformly mixed, about 3 seconds. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour the milk and cheese batter into the yolks, taking care not to pour the warm milk mixture into the cool eggs too quickly as that will curdle them. It should take 45 seconds to 1 minute to pour the batter into the yolks. The mixture will be smooth and light yellow. Whisk in a pinch of salt and a few grinds of white pepper. Cover with a lightly greased piece of parchment or plastic to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside.
- ❹ In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk on medium-high speed until the whites form soft peaks, about 1½ minutes.
- ❺ Using a silicone spatula, fold a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture; beat by hand with a whisk until evenly mixed, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins, filling each with about 1 cup of the mixture.
- ❻ Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the soufflés have doubled in volume and are golden brown, about 14 minutes.
- ❼ Remove from the oven and serve immediately.