Monday, 10 October 2011

Cheese & Thyme Soufflé

ALL RISE- well that's the goal
Prepare the ramekins with butter and a dusting
 of finely grated Parmesan
I'm a girl on a mission. It's the whole 'feel the fear and do it anyway' approach. Of course there's no fear as such, I'm tackling recipes that to most of us, are deemed difficult and should be left to the experts. I'm far from an expert and am under no illusions as to my weaknesses in the kitchen (the biggest being food). But one recipe I'd never even researched or attempted to consider was soufflé. Notoriously renowned for being finicky and sinky. Nope, let me dispel your fears. It's actually earned an unfair rep. Essentially, its a thick béchamel with folded egg whites. It's a puffy omelette in fairness. Give it a go and impress your friends.

I did my usual gig of reading a dozen recipes before creating my own.

Serves 6
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees-prepare 6 ramekins with butter and dust with finely grated Parmesan

Did I mention Thyme is my fav herb?
1 oz butter
1 oz flour
1/2 pint of milk infused with one sliced onion, a couple of peppercorns, a few thin slices of carrot, a bay leaf and sprig of thyme.
2 oz of grated Gruyere (all recipes seemed to use this, but all I had was a strong market bought cheddar, so used that)
2 oz grated Parmesan
freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
a couple of sprigs of Thyme leaves, leaves picked
salt & pepper
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites

Firstly, put the milk and the ingredients listed above on the hob under a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and when it begins to foam, add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.

Add the milk (strained) and stir using a balloon whist until a thick smooth consistency is achieved. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and add the cheese, grated nutmeg, thyme leaves, cayenne pepper and season well. Remember the flavour needs to be concentrated as it will be diluted with the egg whites. Add the egg yolks and whisk well.

Transfer the mixture to a big bowl that will eventually host the egg white folding exercise.

Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry bowl (I feel I have to say that as all recipes harp on about clean bowls with egg whites-I've yet to whisk mine in a dirty bowl) until stiff peaks are formed

Transfer a couple of tablespoons into the silky cheese mixture and fold in. Don't be heavy handed but don't be scared either. Add the remainder of the egg whites in two batches. I used a spatula and turned the bowl to help fold as lightly as possible. It's all about keeping the air in, and not over mixing. Don't over think it.

Working swiftly, transfer the mixture into the 6 ramekins, filling almost, but not quite to the top.

With a clean finger, wipe around the top of the ramekin to leave a groove around the mixture, which will help them rise well.

Place on a baking tray and cook for about 8-10 mins, or until golden brown on top. Serve immediately with a tossed salad, and a round of applause from your guests...


  1. I have found my own blog a brilliant way to get over cooking fears - and I was afraid of pretty much everything when I started :)

    Of late, though, I've been a little lazy at challenging myself so you've reminded and inspired me to get cracking again at the hard stuff! Thanks :)

  2. Thanks Aofie, I so need to branch out more. There's a whole world of stuff to be cooked. Ready steady.....GO!