Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Basic Souffle

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups hot milk, scalded
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of cayenne
½ cup grated Cheddar cheese, sharp
2 egg yolks, beaten lemon-yellow
2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Melt butter, stir in flour and milk gradually until thick and smooth. Season and add the cheese, continuing the cooking and slow stirring until velvety. Remove from heat and let cool somewhat; then stir in the egg yolks with a light hand and an upward motion. Fold in the stiff whites and when evenly mixed pour into a big, round baking dish. (Some butter it and some don't.) To make sure the top will be even when baked, run a spoon or knife around the surface, about 1 inch from the edge of the dish, before baking slowly in a moderate oven until puffed high and beautifully browned. Serve instantly for fear the Soufflé may fall. The baking takes up to an hour and the egg whites shouldn't be beaten so stiff they are hard to fold in and contain no air to expand and puff up the dish.

To perk up the seasonings, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, nutmeg and even garlic are often used to taste, especially in England.

While Cheddar is the preferred cheese, Parmesan runs it a close second. Then comes Swiss. You may use any two or all three of these together. Sometimes Roquefort is added.

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