Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cheese Souffles

Okay, I admit it, I watch Master Chef. Gordon drives me crazy with his constant use of curse words. Joe insults me (heh, heh) with his obsessive need to overly criticize someone's dish if it happens to go wrong. I don't mind Graham at all. But I watch the show to see some amazing cooking. The other night, the pressure test was souffles. I was delighted! After my success with chocolate souffles, I was eager to see Frank and Josh at work crafting their three souffles. And it inspired me to try my hand again at another round of souffles, but this time, I wanted to try cheese souffles. I made these for lunch today for the boys and me.

Nathan, who watches Master Chef with me, was HILARIOUS! When I took them out of the oven, he was all goggly-eyed and oohed and aahhed at their magnificent peaks. He asked to take the first bite, and we watched as he made a perfect circle in the center of his souffle (the way Graham does on Master Chef), pulled out a bite, eyed it a bit, and pronounced, "It looks perfect, fluffy and light." He proceeded to take a bite and then told me that it was wonderful, creamy and very cheesy. Between chuckles, I dug in myself. Yum and oh so cheesy! I actually had to stop mid-way and eat my salad because these are so rich. Another score for souffles. This recipe is a modified version of one out of my Cooking Light magazine.

Cheese Souffles
1.5 tbs fine, dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs canola oil
1/8 cup AP flour
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 - 10 oz. ramekins

1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Coat 4 - 10 oz. ramekins with cooking spray (or oil). Sprinkle with enough breadcrumbs to generously coat the inside, tilting to evenly distribute; tap out excess. Place ramekins of a baking sheet.

2. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Melt butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking until the mixture is the consistency of thick batter, 2-4 minutes. Whisk in the cheese until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated.

3. Clean and dry a large mixing bowl and beaters, making sure there are no traces of oil. Beat egg whites in the bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add salt; gradually increase speed to high and beat until shiny and stiff, but not dry. Do not overbeat.

4. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the whites into the egg-yolk mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until evenly distributed. It's ok if a few white streaks remain. Spoon the batter into the prepared dishes.

5. Bake until puffed and firm to the touch, 20-24 minutes. Serve immediately.

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