If you can whip an egg white, you have absolutely no reason to be intimidated by a soufflé. It’s truly easier that you might think, and boy is it impressive. So if you want to make a statement this holiday (or, really, any day of the year for that matter), make a soufflé. There’s nothing more grand than having your guests sit down at the table ahead of time, and then pulling this out of the oven and presenting it in regal fashion.
But beyond all of the accolades you will receive for making these (plus everyone will truly think you are a brilliant cook), these soufflés are just downright delicious. Rich, creamy, and extra cheesy, I wouldn’t hesitate to serve these as part of a stunning holiday feast, or even as a light lunch for a special gathering. Plus it’s a great way to get anyone to eat their greens.
I prefer making these as individual soufflés, as they bake more evenly and they are easier to share. Plus that means each person gets their fair share of the crusty top and bottom (my favorite part).
Recipe: Spinach and Gruyere Soufflé
Makes 6 individual soufflés
- 4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for coating dish
- About 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or fontina cheese
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt
- 5 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven, making sure there is room above the oven rack. Preheat the oven to 400F. Generously butter the inside of six 1-cup ramekins, then coat lightly with Parmesan, set aside.
- In a frying pan, melt 1/2 tbsp butter. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and dry, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander and press out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a kitchen towel and again, press out as much liquid as possible. Scrape onto a cutting board and chop very finely. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter, then add the shallots. Cook, stirring, until tender and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tbsp butter. When it melts, whisk in the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, and then the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the gruyere, stirring until melted and smooth. Taste and season the sauce with salt.
- In a heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and spinach. Slowly pour the sauce into the yolks while whisking constantly.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to thick, stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.
- Add about one quarter of the beaten egg whites to the sauce to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Divide the mixture between the prepared dishes; they should be nearly full. Run a finger around the inside edge of the dish to create a shallow groove.
- Gently place the dishes on a baking sheet. Bake until the soufflés are puffed and browned and the center still jiggles when the dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door during cooking. Serve immediately.