Cheese and Thyme Soufflé is a pure airy, fluffy bite into a cloud of cheese and a touch of thyme. You can use your favorite cheese, I wanted to try it with roquefort at first but then I finally went for the queen of cheeses: Gruyere! Everyone that knows me… knows I have a thing for cheese… borderline an illness. Anyways, let’s get back to the soufflé.
Soufflés are quite easy to make… although it can infuriate some… like me yesterday. I had the perfect soufflés… coming out of the oven… then, just the few seconds to bring them to the shooting table, they’ve reduced a lot. Although still great texture inside, the soufflés needs to be eaten right away… Like the French say: “you don’t wait for people to sit at the table for a soufflé, you make them wait for it”. Because it need to be eaten right away! It’s mainly an esthetic matter, because the inner texture stays warm and airy.
A few trick to nail that soufflé! When it’s time to add the soufflée to the oven, a metal plaque with a bit of water in it should be preheated too. The soufflés love humidity, and this will keep them moist and puffy. Also, if you like the usual flat top soufflé (vs the broken round top) then you should grill your soufflés for the first 2-3 minutes under the oven grill (max temp) then adjust to 180°C (350F). This will set the top flat.
At last but not the least, another trick would be to incorporate the whites, slowly, without breaking them in 2 different shots until the mix is homogeneous. This way it’s gonna keep all its air and if you like extra airy, just add an egg white to the mix. A pinch of sugar mid time you bring up the whites will help to keep the soufflé fluffy.
Ok let’s do those delicious airy cheezy bites!
Cheese and Thyme Soufflé
Makes 4 portions appetizers or 2 main meals (4 x 8 cm diameter ramekins)
- 250ml milk
- 70g gruyere (or cheese of your choice)
- 30g flour
- 30g butter
- 4 separated eggs (1 extra white to make it extra airy)
- nutmeg, salt, pepper
- 1 tbsp of thyme
- *pinch of sugar *optional
Bring oven to the max grill (2-3 first minutes) then 180°C (350F) with a metal rack containing a little water at the bottom
- Butter the ramekins, then flour them and let them cool in the fridge
- Grate the cheese, separate the eggs
- Start by doing a bechamel, add the butter to a small sauce pan, medium heat, melt
- Add the flour, mix it up, and wait a minute or two until it smells nutty
- Add the cold milk, bring to high heat and whisk
- Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper and bring the bechamel to become thicker
- Take off the fire
- Add the grated gruyere cheese and thyme, mix
- Let cool
- During that time whisk the egg whites, in a big bowl, until a soft peak forms like in the picture on the right (add a small pinch of sugar mid-way to make it hold better)
- Add the yolks to the cooled bechamel, mix
- Transfer the bechamel (now a Mornay sauce) to a big bowl
- Add the egg whites in 2 shots, turning gently the whites in the Mornay sauce until homogeneous
- Add the mix to the buttered ramekins, leave a finger high at the top, because they will puff too high if too filled.
- Add the ramekins to the metal rack and grill them for 2-3 minutes at first, then lower the oven to 180°C (350F) for small ramekins 10 minutes is enough if you make a big ramekin a bit longer or until the top is light brown
- Serve as soon as it comes out from the oven
Serve as a main meal or appetizer, a side of salad and a great white wine. Enjoy!