Have The Cake's theme this April is souffle. I wanted to participate because I have two great souffle recipes, one for a cheddar cheese souffle and one for a chocolate souffle and both are really simple.
Souffle can be intimidating and I think the French mean for it to be that way; they do love to make their cuisine very difficult. If there is a way to make chicken soup take 12 hours and involve 10 ingredients that require a trip to a farm in Provence - the French will do it. I think it has something to do with French national pride.
But I'm here to tell you that souffle can be easy. First up, cheddar cheese souffle. This recipe comes from my mother and her September 1979 Family Circle. In that issue, an article entitled "The 6-minute Souffle" appeared, which included recipes for Cheddar cheese, Roquefort, Ham, and Banana souffles, all quick and easy. Since this article was published when I was four, I grew up thinking that souffle was always easy and was quite surprised to discover that most people thought souffle was "supposed" to be hard. Mais mon souffle n'est pas dificile!
In the battle for an easy cheese souffle, here is your weapon:
Get your blender and your souffle dish (or 6 small dishes) and we're off!
Cheddar Cheese Souffle
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, cut into about 1" chunks
11 oz. cream cheese, cut into about 1" chunks
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a large souffle dish or 6 small souffle dishes.
2. Add to the blender the eggs, cream, Parmesan, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until mixed well and smooth.
3. With the blender running, add the cheddar through the hole in the lid, one chunk at a time until all are chopped up and the mixture is thick. Add the cream cheese in the same manner. (Note - the mixture will be very thick at this time; it may be necessary to stop the blender and stir the mixture around with a spatula to fully incorporate the cheeses.)
4. Once all of the cheddar and cream cheese is fully incorporated, run the blender for 5 more seconds, just to get a little air in the mixture.
5. Pour the mixture into the buttered souffle dish(es).
6. Bake the souffle for 40-50 minutes depending upon your preference. The original recipe says that either you can bake the souffle for 40 minutes and use the "liquid center as a sauce to spoon over the rest of the souffle", or you can just do what I do and bake it for 50 minutes to get a nice firm souffle all the way through.
The souffle will have a lovely brown top:
This souffle is heaven with a soft cheesy center and a crispy edge. It is a great vegetarian and gluten-free main course (hence why it is often served at the book club meetings at mine and my sister's houses), and isn't too bad the next day as leftovers. I have an aunt who likes to eat the leftovers with salsa...
Now see wasn't that easy? No slaving over a pan, separating eggs and beating egg whites to stiff peaks. If anyone wants the recipe for the Ham Souffle for their Easter leftovers let me know.
Next up - easy chocolate souffle for dessert!