I like to serve soufflés in individual dishes. This recipe makes two generous soufflés. I used ramekins that are 5″ across. For dinner parties I like to double this recipe and use smaller ramekins. I served the soufflés with a sauteed chicken breast and brandied cranberry sauce. They would be equally good with a large herby salad. I used my friend Ron’s eggs, straight from the backyard coop. Fresh eggs are important in this recipe. Contrary to rumors, soufflés are actually very easy to make as long as you follow the instructions and do not open the oven while cooking. I also use a ceramic oven liner that retains heat and makes for even baking. Have fun with this!
Individual Cheese Soufflés
1 teaspoon of Piment d’Espelette(optional; you may find this favorite seasoning of mine difficult to find)
3/4 cup finely grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping (used the food processor with blade for grating the cheese)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature and more for coating the ramekins
2 tablespoons all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 of a nutmeg, freshly grated
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup finely grated semi-hard cheese such as Comté Manchego, Gruyère. I used Comté and did the food processor method for both the Comté and the Parm (but do make sure that there are no large lumps)
3 large very fresh eggs, separated + one extra white.
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons, they are my favorite and in season now)
Get everything prepped and mise en place.
Mise en Place
Preheat the oven to 375˚F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter ramekins sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano to coat completely all the way to the top. Shake any excess cheese out into a bowl. Place the molds in the freezer to chill.
Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the Piment d’Espelette , flour, nutmeg, and salt; whisking constantly, cook the flour without browning, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and garlic and continue to cook, whisking, at a low simmer until the mixture is smooth and thick like pudding, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the Comté and any Parmigiano-Reggiano left over from coating the molds and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, one at a time. Continue stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula to cool.
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a clean bowl with a Kitchen Aid Mixer beater on medium-high until they just hold a soft peak. * DO NOT not over-whip the whites, which would give your soufflé a cloudy instead of creamy consistency.
Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the cheese mixture with a rubber spatula, carefully turning the bowl and mixing gently until the whites are streaked throughout. Add the remaining whites and fold in but don’t overmix, which can deflate the whites.
Transfer the batter to the chilled mold and scatter the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top. Place the dish on a baking sheet/tray and set in the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 325˚F/ 165°C/, and bake until the soufflé is golden, puffed, and set but just a touch wobbly inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately. After a few minutes a slight deflation is normal, this is why they must be served immediately for the most impact. Enjoy!
Plated. I sauteed the chicken in a little bit of butter. The chicken was massaged with Piment d'Espelette, flour and salt.