Petits soufflés au chèvre

chevre souffle2

Goat cheese soufflés with dill

This recipe makes about a dozen mini soufflés, but it can make fewer than that if you use larger ramekins.

Start by filling your ramekins with water to measure them. If they can hold 1/2 cup (1/8 liter) of water, you will get about 12 soufflés. If your ramekins can hold 1 cup (1/4 liter) of water, you will get about 6 soufflés. To make one large soufflé, use a soufflé dish that can hold about 1-1/2 quart (1-1/2 liter).

You can also cut this recipe in half to make 6 mini soufflés in small ramekins.

Which kind of goat cheese to choose? The more pungent the cheese, the more flavorful your soufflés will be. And goat cheese grows more pungent with age. So I would advise using a ripened cheese of one sort or another, rather than the milder fresh goat cheese you find in supermarkets these days.

4 eggs
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
6 ounces (150 g.) goat cheese, grated, crumbled or sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. snipped fresh dill

Use 1 tsp. butter to generously butter 12 ramekins.

Separate the eggs into a medium-sized bowl for the yolks and a large bowl for the whites. Whisk the yolks lightly with a wire whip. Set the whites aside.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (400 F, 205 C).

In a saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter but do not let it brown. Add the flour. Cook one minute. Add the milk. Add the garlic halves. Stir until the sauce thickens.

Turn down the heat. Add the salt and pepper. Add the cheese and cook gently until it has melted. Remove from heat. Retrieve and discard the garlic halves. Snip in the dill and stir.

Add the yolks to the saucepan, stirring them quickly in.*

Now beat the whites until firm but – very important – not dry. Stir one-third of the beaten whites into the cheese sauce to lighten it. Then pour the cheese sauce over the remaining whites and fold very gently until you have an even mixture.

Pour this mixture into your ramekins so that each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the soufflés have risen and the tops have browned. (If you are making one large soufflé, the baking time will be 20-25 minutes.) Be careful: don’t open the oven to peek too soon, or your soufflés may collapse.

Serve straight out of the oven. Serves 12 as a light starter — or, if you use 4-6 larger ramekins, or a full-size soufflé dish, you will have 4-6 portions.

* You can prepare the first half of this recipe ahead of time – up to and including the point where you add the yolks. Then, half an hour before you are ready to serve, simply beat the egg whites, fold in as instructed, and bake.

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