( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Tamara West
Celia Hay's souffles served hot from the oven are as impressive as they are comforting.
- Heat the oven to 200C. Place a baking sheet on the shelf in the top third of the oven.
- Brush ramekins or souffle dishes with the melted butter.Coat lightly with breadcrumbs by tilting the ramekins so the breadcrumbs stick to the butter. Tip out any breadcrumbs that do not stick.
- Separate the eggs. Be sure to get no yolk in the egg whites. Put the whites in a bowl, ready to whisk.
- Warm the milk in a pot or microwave.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 45 seconds.
- Gradually add the warmed milk, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the mustard, cayenne pepper, grated cheese and stir in the egg yolks. Taste the mixture — it should have good flavour. Season with salt and pepper if required.
- Whisk the egg whites until just stiff and mix a spoonful into the cheese mixture to loosen it. Fold in the remainder of the whites with a metal spoon or spatula. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins so they are twothirds full.
- With the back of a spoon or your fingertip make a one centimetre rim around edge of the souffle mixture. This gives a “top hat’’ appearance to the cooked souffle.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Avoid opening the door until the last minutes of cooking time. To check if the souffle is cooked, wobble the ramekin gently. If it is very wobbly, cook for a little longer