An intelligent get-ahead starter or a warming indulgent lunch/supper dish, these cheesy soufflés are not as hard as you might think to make. Serve individually with fresh leaf salad and crusty bread or double the portion and serve with mashed potato, leeks and perhaps some bacon lardons for a more substantial meal. Makes 10-12. You’ll need ramekins.
60g butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
435ml whole milk
Half an onion, peeled
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
60g plain flour
Pinch of both mustard powder and cayenne pepper
75g strong cheddar cheese
100g Gruyere cheese + 50g extra for finishing
6 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
300ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180˚c
Liberally grease the ramekins with butter. In a small pan, gently heat the milk with the onion and the nutmeg to infuse, around 10-15 minutes. Discard the onion. In a separate pan, melt the butter slowly and then add the flour, mustard and cayenne pepper. Cook over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk and gradually add the milk to form a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes. When cool, add in both the cheddar and Gruyere with the egg yolks, mix and season with a pinch of salt + pepper. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, use an electric whisk to whip the egg whites to meringue stage – thick and fluffy. Fold into the cheese mix using a spatula and divide between the ramekins. Boil the kettle. Place the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour the boiling water into the dish until it’s about 2/3 of the way up the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes. Take the ramekins out of the roasting dish and allow to cool to room temperature, before carefully tipping out on to a plate or tray. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours and up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to serve, sit the soufflés at room temperature for 30 minutes, then pre-heat the oven to 220˚c.
Season the double cream with salt and pepper. Place the soufflés in an oven-proof dish with a ridged edge. Cover with the cream and sprinkle over the extra Gruyere cheese. Bake for 10 minutes and serve immediately with your choice of sides.