This is an impressive entree that can be made ahead, then finished off just before serving.
I’m a big fan of dinner party dishes that allow the cook to spend most of their time with the guests.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
- 90g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
- ½ cup (75 g) plain flour
- 400 ml milk
- 2 tablespoons thickened cream, plus 1 ½ cups (375 ml) extra
- 90 g parmesan, grated
- 50 g Gruyere cheese, grated
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 egg yolks
- ground white pepper
- 4 eggwhites
- ¼ cup finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six 150 ml dariole moulds or ramekins with butter. Melt 2 teaspoons (10 g) of the butter in a frying pan and add the onion and thyme. Cook over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and translucent, then set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add a little milk and stir to incorporate. Continue to add the milk gradually, stirring until smooth after each addition, until all the milk has been incorporated. Add in the onion mixture, 2 tablespoons of thickened cream, 50 g of the grated parmesan, and all the Gruyere and cheddar and keep stirring until the cheese has melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then add the egg yolks and season to taste.
Beat the eggwhites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Fold a little of the eggwhite into the cheese sauce and mix well, then gently fold in the remaining eggwhite, taking care not to lose volume. Spoon into the prepared dariole moulds, being careful not to drip any mixture down the sides. Place the moulds in a baking dish and fill the dish with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the souffles are risen, firm and golden. Allow to cool a little and turn upside down into individual gratin dishes. The souffles can be cooled – even refrigerated – until they are ready to serve.
When ready to serve, pour ¼ cup (60 ml) thickened cream over each souffle and top with about 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the souffles have risen a little and the topping is golden brown. Scatter some chopped chives over each souffle
If I had to name my most-cooked recipe, this would be it.
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