Le Soufflé is considered a culinary masterpiece in France. The word soufflé comes from souffler – to breathe or to puff, and this dish takes puffing to an art form!
The first time the recipe for a cheese soufflé was recorded was 1742 in Le Cuisine Modern by Vincent La Chapelle (modern for those times of course!). La Chappelle was known to cook for rich and wealthy clients, including Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV.
Years later, Chef Marine-Antoine Carême, one of the first celebrity chefs, published “Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien” published in 1815, contained several pages on the art of making soufflés. It put the dish thoroughly on the gastronomic map of France and the world.
The recipe for French cheese soufflé is surprisingly simple!
50g – ½ cup – 1.3 oz Butter, plus a little extra for greasing
25g – ¼ cup – 0.9 oz Breadcrumbs OR 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
50g – ½ cup – 1.03 oz Plain flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
4 medium eggs
100g – 2/3 cup – 4oz Extra strong grated cheddar grated (You can also use blue cheese or goats cheese, according to taste)
Salt and pepper to season
How to make a cheese soufflé
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf. Butter a 15cm (6 inch) soufflé dish, then sprinkle in the breadcrumbs OR the Parmesan cheese (whichever you prefer) and shake the dish to make sure the crumbs/Parmesan cheese are evenly spread and tip the rest out.
Melt the butter over a medium heat in a pan then stir in the flour and mustard powder. Keep stirring for about a minute.
Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing it thoroughly. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously for around 10 minutes until the mix becomes very thick. Transfer the mix to a bowl and allow it to cool.
Separate the egg whites into a bowl and fold the yolks into the sauce. Stir in the cheddar cheese and season well.
Whisk the egg whites until peaks form that hold their shape. Using a metal spoon, gently stir the whipped whites into the white sauce
Spoon the mixture into the greased dish. Run a cutlery knife around the edge to help the souffle rise above the rim and not stick.
Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 mins until the top is golden and risen and has a slight wobble.
Serve immediately and enjoy enormously!