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Poslfit Recipes: Cheese Souffle

[photo of a cheese souffle in its dish]
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30 g butter (must equal weight of flour)
30 g flour (must equal weight of butter)
225 mL (7½ oz.) whole milk
85 g finely grated parmesan cheese (see also below)
4 large egg yolks, thoroughly beaten (reserve whites)
1 mL (¼ t.) fine (not coarse) salt
0.5 mL (1/8 t.) freshly ground pepper
1 mL (¼ t.) cayenne pepper
4 or 5 large whites (not a trace of yolk or any other fat; staler eggs better than fresh)
1 mL (1/6 t.) cream of tartar
15 g finely grated parmesan cheese (see also above)
A reliable, original recipe for cheese soufflés, tested several times a year in different kitchens.
Being the sort of person that I am, I spent a lot of time online reading souffle recipes and discussions of how souffles go wrong before synthesizing the following. The recipe that made the most sense to me was Elizabeth David's; I simplified this slightly to work better within the constraints of my own kitchen. I don't for instance like to have an egg yolk left over after separating my eggs.
In 2020, I ran out of parmesan, and used ¾ parmesan and ¼ havarti. It turned out fine: somewhat sweeter, mellower, and less sharp than usual. This year, I also noticed that some of the ingredients were disappearing from the list when viewed in Safari Reader View mode. I fixed it by lengthening the descriptions of some of the simpler ingrendients, such as the salt.
In 2021, I tried adding a fifth egg white; the soufflé rose about twice as far, resulting in a proper, slightly overflowing, puffy look to the dish. You can make it with four egg whites if you really don’t want an extra egg yolk, but it's better with five (and the Serious Eats Pasta Cacio e Uova is an excellent way to use up the extra egg yolk and any cheese you may have left over.
(Make a white roux) Melt the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the flour and whisk constantly. After a few minutes, it will have the consistency of cake flour. Keep going until the flour loses its raw smell and has a mild toasty aroma. If you keep going, you'll get a darker roux with a stronger flavour; you don’t want that for this recipe.
(Make a Béchamel sauce) Remove roux from heat. Heat the milk for a minute in a microwave oven, whisk gradually into the roux, keep whisking until smooth. Return roux pan to heat, whisk constantly until very thick. Remove from heat.
(Make a Mornay sauce) Remove roux from heat. Stir the 85 g of cheese into the Béchamel sauce. Stir the egg yolks into the sauce. Add salt, pepper, cayenne. Whisk. Transfer to large bowl, cool to lukewarm (if hot, it will deflate egg whites) but not cold. If making multiple batches at once, this is when you should divide into separate containers, as it can be tricky to get the right white/yolk balance in each batch later.
(Get oven and dish ready) Preheat your oven to 400°F. Make sure there’s a rack on the lowest level. You’ll eventually cook at a lower temperature, but the higher initial temperature will give a stronger top crust for the souffle to push up as it cooks. Generously butter souffle dish.
(Prepare egg whites) Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in a large metal bowl (not a plastic bowl, which can be hard to remove all the fat from), until stiff peaks form (hold the beater blades sideways, peaks should stick out straight without falling over), but mixture is not dry.
(Combine) Fold 1/3 of the Mornay sauce into the egg whites to make it easier to mix them. Add remaining sauce and gently fold until just blended. If in doubt, it's better for the mixture to be less well blended and have sections that are whiter, rather than to lose too much loft by overmixing.
(Cook) Pour into dish, sprinkle remaining 15 g cheese. Turn oven down to 375°F and cook on bottom rack for about 25 minutes until golden brown on top, cracks are dry and centre moves only slightly when dish shaken gently. If undercooked when you cut into it, return to the oven quickly for a couple of minutes. Serve immediately.