I must admit.  I was skeptical. But then the adorable Julia Child entered the scene, and I got calm. Listen to me – repeat after me – “I can make a killer soufflé on the first try”.  I was made a believer at our Slow Food Vermont Just Cook It: Soufflés Potluck where 7 people (who had NEVER made a soufflé before!!!) all nailed it on their first tries.  There is such a complete thrill to opening the oven, pulling out your collared ramekin to find a gorgeous eggy texture you’ve NEVER experienced before, to swoons, ooohs, ahhhs, and complete satisfaction of creating a gorgeous, cheap, delicious, high class meal.  Own it, love it, make a soufflé tonight! You should even eat your creation while watching the master in her own kitchen – makes for a memorable evening, and I promise – you will add the soufflé to your repertoire from now on!  Fearlessly!

Julia Child’s Cheese Soufflé

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup milk, whole
  • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, packed coarsely (about 4 ounces)
  1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Butter 6-cup (1-1/2 quart) souffle dish.
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides.
  4. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes; do not allow mixture to brown).
  7. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute.
  8. Pour in warm milk, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg.
  10. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition.
  11. Scrape souffle base into large bowl.
  12. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD; can be made 2 hours ahead.
  13. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
  14. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry.
  15. Fold ¼ of whites into lukewarm or room temperature souffle base to lighten.
  16. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyere cheese.
  17. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
  18. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  19. Bake until souffle is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes).
  20. Serve immediately.

Some thoughts:

  • You can put anything in a soufflé!  We have put micros, asparagus, and even tuna and tomatoes in them – don’t forget about sweet soufflés, too!
  • Put your batter in a too-small ramekin for a more impressive rising, but make sure your collar is sufficient to contain the rising soufflé!
  • If you are not sure if the soufflé is done, use a skewer to test, just like a cake.  If not done, put back in oven and wait.  Don’t worry, it won’t fall with one or even 2 skewer tests.  Remember, it should have a little jiggle to it still, but the skewer should come out clean.
  • Eat it hot out of the oven, remember that kings wait for soufflés, soufflés wait for no one!
  • Have fun, and enjoy this fabulous dish!

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