Saturday, October 13, 2007

Recipe of the week from Small dishes…: Cheese soufflé with celery butter

Originally posted on October 9, 2007, as a sample recipe from the book.

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Servings: 4
Time: 90 minutes.

2 tbs butter
4 tbs flour
300 ml milk
4 eggs
300 ml cheese, grated
Salt, sweet paprika
2 tsp cornflour

Celery butter:
75 g butter
50 ml chopped celery

To make soufflé:
Melt the butter. Stir in the flour and then add the milk, little by little, stirring in between to mix well. Cook gently for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Separate the eggs. Break the yolks and add them and the cheese to the flour mixture. Adjust flavour with salt and paprika. Let the cheese melt completely into the batter and stir in the cornflour. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold carefully into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased oven-proof soufflé dish that takes bout 1,2 litres.

Bake the soufflé on the bottom rung of the oven for about 40 minutes.

It is best to serve the soufflé immediately, but it can stand for 5-10 minutes in the closed oven after the heat is turned off.

Serve with the celery butter.

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To prepare celery butter:
Prepare while the soufflé bakes. Butter should be at room temperature. Stir until it is smooth and add salt and celery. Refrigerate until it is needed.

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Notes and review:
As usual I made only half a recipe. I couldn’t have made a full recipe anyway, as I have no soufflé dish or casserole dish big enough. I made no changes other than halving everything.

Although it doesn’t say in the recipe, I assumed the celery had to be finely chopped.

It doesn’t say what kind of cheese to use, so I ended up using a mixture of Mozzarella and Gouda that is sold pre-grated as “gratin cheese”, and added a bit of a more flavourful local cheese that I love on toast. I think a touch of Parmesan would be good too.

Soufflés are reputed to be temperamental food that will, at the least provocation (such as opening the oven at the wrong moment), subside into an unappetising blob, and it is true that a soufflé will fall shortly after being removed from the oven, so it needs to be served immediately.

The first time I made a soufflé, it was an apple-almond dessert soufflé, but this is a more robust kind that can be eaten as an appetizer or a small meal. I was interested in seeing how a soufflé would do in a convection oven, which is why I chose this as recipe of the week.

I had a bad moment when the dough was ready, when I realised I had forgotten to turn on the oven, but I was able to heat it quickly by turning on the grill for 5 minutes and put the dough into a slightly underheated oven. When it had not begun to rise after 15 minutes I got worried, but then decided not to let it bother me, and started reading a book. After 30 minutes of baking I took a peek, and the soufflé had risen beautifully (see first photo). I gave it another 5 minutes to develop a nice brown crust, and then took it out of the oven, photographed it quickly and then ate most of it.

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The soufflé was light and fluffy and the taste mild. The texture was ever so slightly grainy. I don’t know if cheese soufflé is supposed to be that way, or if it was the types of cheese I used, but it didn’t matter. Another time I would use more flavourful cheese.

The celery butter added an interesting flavour to the soufflé, but as I mentioned above, I think another time I would purée it to give the butter more flavour kick.

Verdict: Quite good, but not something I’m interested in making again.

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