Cuisine - - FIONA SMITH -

Cheese soufflé is pop­u­lar but a scary prospect for some. They are hardier than you might think – just make sure you grease the dish re­ally well and take care fold­ing in the egg whites and the re­sult should be risen, light and fluffy. They do start col­laps­ing as soon as they leave the oven, but if this hap­pens, the worst-case sce­nario is you end up with a re­ally tasty fluffy omelette! This is based on a soufflé recipe from is­sue 28, which I’ve melded with el­e­ments from a goat’s cheese and herb roulade from is­sue 131, which was also nom­i­nated by a reader as a favourite. If you want to make in­di­vid­ual souf­flés, use 8 x 200ml dishes and bake for 16-18 min­utes.

100g but­ter

50g hard goat’s cheese or pecorino, finely grated

70g flour

½ tea­spoon mus­tard pow­der

450ml whole milk

½ tea­spoon salt

5 medium eggs, sep­a­rated

2 ta­ble­spoons chives, very finely chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons tar­ragon, very finely chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons chervil, very finely chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons pars­ley, very finely chopped

200g soft goat’s cheese

Pre­heat the oven to 200°C. Grease a 1.75-litre soufflé or straight-sided bak­ing dish well with 25g of the but­ter then coat this with the grated hard cheese.

Melt the re­main­ing 75g but­ter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook, stir­ring, for 2 min­utes – do not brown. Stir in the mus­tard pow­der then the cold milk and stir over the heat un­til the mix­ture be­comes thick.

Take off the heat and stir in the salt. Trans­fer to a large bowl to cool slightly then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside (you want this mix­ture a lit­tle warm so don’t leave it to cool).

In a clean (not plas­tic) bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt un­til they form soft peaks.

Fold the soft goat’s cheese and herbs into the sauce along with one third of the egg whites, then, us­ing a metal spoon, care­fully fold in the re­main­ing egg whites.

Spoon the mix­ture into the pre­pared dish and bake for 25-30 min­utes un­til risen and golden. Serve im­me­di­ately with warm bread.

A zesty, lean chardon­nay. Go for the te Pā Marl­bor­ough Chardon­nay 2016.

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