AT A GLANCE
Even intrepid cooks can fear the flop of soufflés but with this more forgiving variety you will rise to the challenge. Damien Pignolet has the secrets to success.
|01||Butter eight 240ml round-based bowls and dust with flour, knocking out excess. Melt butter in a pan over low heat, add onion and cook slowly over low heat until softened and lightly caramelised (25-30 minutes; ensure onions remain soft).|
|02||Cool onion for 10 minutes, stir in flour, return to heat and cook gently, stirring continuously, until a roux forms (3 minutes; it should look and feel creamy and be a fawn colour). Cool for 10 minutes. Bring milk to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, add stock and bring just to the boil. Gradually work in the roux off the heat with a wooden spoon, then return to heat and whisk thoroughly, especially into the corners of the pan, until the sauce boils.|
|03||Press a round of dampened baking paper onto the surface and cook on the lowest heat for 20 minutes, then cool for 5 minutes.|
|04||Gradually beat in the egg yolks with a wooden spoon, add nutmeg and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper to a slightly salty taste (the eggwhite will balance out the saltiness) and transfer to a bowl.|
|05||Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk eggwhites in a large bowl until foaming, add a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar (the latter is not needed if you’re using a copper bowl), then beat until fairly stiff peaks are achieved (6-8 minutes).|
|06||Fold a quarter of the eggwhite into the base mixture to lighten.|
|07||Scatter diced Gruyère over remaining eggwhite, then pour the base mixture onto eggwhite and fold quickly and lightly to combine.|
|08||Fill moulds almost to the top and knock each on the bench to remove air. Place in a baking dish, pour in near-boiling water to halfway up sides of bowls and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce to 180C and bake until soufflés are golden, well risen and tops begin to crack (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool (they will collapse a little but this is correct; if making ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days).|
|09||Gently ease soufflés away from the edges of the moulds with your fingers. Dip each mould into very hot water, then turn out each into a 16cm-18cm ceramic gratin dish.|
|10||Fifteen minutes before serving, pour cream over each soufflé, scatter with grated Gruyère and bake at 190C until golden and bubbling and edges lift away from the dish (10-12 minutes; the soufflés should appear to float). Serve immediately with a mixed-leaf salad dressed with Damien’s walnut or hazelnut vinaigrette (see note).|
Note For reduced stock, simmer 260ml beef stock until reduced by half. For vinaigrette, shake 1 part walnut or hazelnut oil, 2 parts neutral vegetable oil, 1-1½ parts cider or aged Sherry vinegar, a scrap of bruised garlic and salt and freshly ground white pepper in a screw-top jar, leave to infuse for 15 minutes, then remove the garlic.