Its name derived from the French verb souffler, meaning “to breathe” or “to puff”, a soufflé’s pillowy top will naturally rise in the oven but slightly deflate just moments after removal. The eggy treat’s fleeting moment of perfection is one of the reasons the dish is handled so delicately by chefs and cherished so deeply by diners. This savory cheese version is courtesy of chef Daniel Skurnick of Le Coucou restaurant in New York City.
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- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 1⁄2 firmly packed cups shredded Comté cheese
- In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking frequently, to form a thick blond roux, 5–7 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk until smooth.
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for one minute. Remove from the heat and add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let cool completely. Once cooled, whisk in the egg yolks and shredded cheese.
- Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°. Grease four 6-ounce soufflé molds or ramekins with butter and set them aside.
- In a clean, large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks.
- Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture just until incorporated.
- Quickly distribute the egg mixture among the soufflé molds (it should fill three-quarters of the way up the molds), trying to avoid dirtying the sides. Gently tap the molds on the counter to help settle the contents, then set them on a small baking sheet.
- Immediately transfer to the oven. Bake until the soufflés are lightly golden and have risen above the rims of the molds, about 25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.