Difficulty Rating: Hard
I found this recipe card in my mom's recipe box. I'm not sure who gave it to her, but cheese souffle is so good, I had to include it. Mom used to make it for us. It was gone in about 15 minutes, it had to be. You can't let souffle wait, otherwise it becomes a frittata! Souffle is basically a science experiment some French person did to blow up a good sauce into a tasty balloon, using beaten egg whites. If you let it stand more than 10 minutes, it starts to deflate. Mom always made cheese souffle without a pan of water under it. Then you get the brown, crusty sides that are sooooo good. Makes a great inexpensive dinner for the fam or brunch for the ladies!
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 C milk
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese (2 C--use mild Tillamook Cheddar if you can)
4 egg yolks
4 stiffly beaten egg whites
Note: Be sure and have your eggs at room temperature before beating the whites. Before you crack 'em, simply place whole eggs in a bowl of very warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes to warm them up.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in double boiler; add flour and salt; blend--remove from heat. Add milk slowly and stir constantly until sauce is thick and smooth. You have just made a bechamel sauce--which is the backbone of any cheese souffle.
Fold the sliced or diced cheese to the hot sauce, cover, and let stand over boiling water until cheese is soft. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with beater; stir the blended cheese slowly into the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry (they will form stiff peaks in the bowl when you take out the beaters). Turn them into the bowl with the cheese sauce mixture. Cut and fold with a blending fork or metal spoon (wood is too blunt) until the whites are thoroughly combines and the whole mixture is light and fluffy. Don't be overzealous with the mixing! It's ok if you leave a few small puffs of egg whites un-blended. It's better to under-mix rather than over-mix.
Pour mixture into and un-greased casserole, souffle dish, or ramikens, about 2/3 full. Cook 1 hour and 15 minutes. Do not cover! It will rise and billow over the top if you get it right! If you like a crisp brown crust on the the bottom and sides, don't place the casserole in a pan of water. Eat right away!