I can’t believe I was always too scared to make soufflé. Take it from me: if you’re comfortable making sponge cake, you’ll have no problem making soufflé. I decided to go tres French for Disney Dinners: Beauty and the Beast with some of my favorite French ingredients: gruyere, parmesan, and herbes de provence.
You want room temperature eggs for this so be sure to pull eggs out hours before you start. Also, please note that you do not want to use the convection feature on your oven. The fans will ruin the soufflés. Timing is important here, so have your cheese grated and your eggs separated before starting. Then it’ll be a breeze!
Do yourself a favor and use THREE bowls to separate the eggs: one for yolks, one for whites, and one small bowl for each individual egg white. You can’t have a drop of yolk in the egg whites or they won’t thicken properly. To avoid ruining your otherwise perfect egg whites, separate each egg over a small bowl, toss the yolk in a medium bowl, and add the egg white to the larger bowl. Repeat with the next four eggs. That way if you get yolk into the egg whites, you’ve only wasted one egg.
Avoid over beating the egg whites. Beat just until peaks form for a silky smooth soufflé. Please be my guest and enjoy this delightful dish!
Mini Gruyere and Parmesan Cheese Soufflés
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly in microwave or on the stove
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
½ tsp herbes de Provence
½ tsp salt
Pinch fresh nutmeg, grated
5 large eggs, room temperature, divided
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Do NOT use convection feature. The fans will negatively impact the souffle.
- Butter 6 individual ramekins. Add Parmesan cheese to each dish, rotating at a tilt, coating bottom and sides.
- Separate egg whites and egg yolks. Put the egg whites in a stand mixer and the egg yolks in a small bowl.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and flour loses its raw taste (about 3 minutes — avoid browning).
- Slowly whisk in warm milk, stirring frequently until the milk mixture bubbles and begins to thicken (2-3 minutes).
- Remove from heat, and whisk in herb de provence, salt, and nutmeg.
- Sprinkle in cheese and whisk to incorporate.
- Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
- Beat egg whites in a clean, large bowl until stiff but not dry (whites that are too dry cook and taste grainy).
- Fold ⅓ of whites into the soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Transfer batter to prepared dishes, divided equally.
- Set dishes onto the sheet pan, and place in oven on the lowest rack level. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake until soufflés are puffed, tops golden brown, and center moves slightly when dish is shaken gently (22-25 minutes). Avoid opening oven door during first 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme. Serve immediately.
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