Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés
A classic starter from the ‘70’s but one that our customers seem to enjoy every bit as much today. This version originally came from a book called Take Twelve Cooks and was one of Pru Leith’s recipes. However Stephen Bull attributes it to Peter Kromberg of Le Soufflé at the Intercontinental who was also featured in the book . . .
Anyway the beauty of them is that they can be made a couple of days ahead or frozen (see below) which makes them ideal for dinner parties. (This also explains the slightly larger than usual quantity. It is a recipe that’s tricky to scale down so you might as well make a few extra while you’re at it, borrowing some extra ramekins or dariole moulds from a friend or neighbour if you don’t have enough!)
6 medium eggs
55g (2oz) strong Cheddar
55g (2oz) Gruyère
110g (4oz) goats' cheese (from a goats’ cheese log)
425ml (3/4 pint) whole milk
a slice of onion
85g (3oz) butter
85g (3oz) plain flour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg
You will also need 8-10 individual ramekins, dariole moulds or ovenproof coffee cups, lightly buttered.
I prefer to do the preparation and weighing of the ingredients first, then the job can be done as a continuous process without having to stop and start all the time. Separate the eggs - the whites into a bowl for beating later and the yolks for adding to the soufflé mix. Grate your Cheddar and Gruyère and cut the goats cheese into cubes. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5.
Next heat the milk up with a slice of onion and a bay leaf. In another pan melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux (thick flour and butter paste) then gradually beat in the hot milk, returning the pan to the heat after each addition until the mixture is thick.
When all the milk has been added let the mixture cook over a low heat for a few minutes then beat in the Cheddar and Gruyère. Now take the pan off the heat and season with the mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. The mixture needs to be quite highly seasoned because you are going to add a large amount of egg white.
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then mix in the goats cheese. Beat the egg whites until stiff then fold them lightly but thoroughly into the soufflé base using a large metal spoon.
Fill the buttered ramekin dishes or moulds with the mixture to just below the rim of each dish then stand them in a roasting tin lined with a tea towel. Pour hot water into the tray just under half-way up and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until well-risen and set.
Allow the soufflés to cool a little before turning them out. (They will sink slightly but don’t worry!) You can keep them wrapped with cling film for a couple of days in the fridge and even freeze them. (You will need to defrost and unwrap them before heating them.)
To serve reheat them in a hot oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for up to 15 mins until well risen.
If I’m serving them with a salad I put them on baking parchment on a baking sheet otherwise I put each one into an individual serving dish with a little double cream poured over and a sprinkling of grated Cheddar or Gruyère cheese.
* For the salad I use some roasted beetroot, walnuts, mixed leaves and a spoonful or two of salad dressing.
What to drink: Although the recipe title refers to goats' cheese it's also got Cheddar and Gruyère in it so I'd be inclined to serve a Chablis or other unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay rather than a Sauvignon Blanc. A blanc de blancs Champagne or sparkling Chardonnay would also be delicious. FB
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