Gruyère Soufflé

By Sophie Dahl

Souffles are one of those things to practise on a rainy day. Resist the urge to open the oven, and if they collapse, you shouldn't!

Photography by Jan Baldwin
  • Serves: 6
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 30g unsalted butter, plus another 10g, softened
  • 230g gruyère, grated
  • 20g plain flour
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6; grease 6 x 250ml ramekins with the softened butter, then coat with 30g grated cheese. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and chill.
  2. Melt the remaining 30g butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the flour, stirring constantly to make a roux, for about 1 minute. Gently add the milk; stir constantly to incorporate. Let the sauce bubble for a few minutes, then add the remaining gruyère; continue stirring until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Stir the egg yolks into the mixture; season to taste, then add the nutmeg.
  3. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt till they form soft peaks; fold half into the sauce very gently, until combined; repeat with the other half, keeping the mix airy. Divide between the ramekins and level the tops with a spatula. Run the tip of your thumb around the inside of each dish to make a small gap between the soufflé and dish – this will help it rise.
  4. Bake the soufflés on the baking tray for 15 minutes. They should be well risen and golden – but don’t open the oven to check! Serve immediately with the salad. And if the soufflés collapse, laugh…