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less than 30 mins
30 mins to 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 190C/380F/Gas 5.
To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a small heavy-based pan over a medium heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour (this is called a roux). Return the pan to a low heat and cook for two minutes, whisking continuously.
Remove from the heat again and add the milk, stirring constantly.
Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously. Allow to cool slightly.
For the soufflé, beat the egg yolks into the béchamel and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with cling film and set aside at room temperature.
Meanwhile, grease the insides of four individual soufflé dishes or ramekins (10cm/4in in diameter and 6.5cm/2½in deep) with softened butter.
Sprinkle a handful of the grated gruyère into each soufflé dish, rotating it to coat the insides.
Place the smoked haddock into a small pan. Add the cream and place over a low heat. When the cream starts to just come to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for two minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave to rest until cool enough to handle, then remove the skin from the haddock and flake the fish into a bowl with your fingertips, removing any bones you may find. Return the fish to the heated cream.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Place one third of the egg whites into the béchamel mixture and stir well.
Add the béchamel and egg white mixture to the bowl of remaining egg whites and fold in very gently, adding the gruyère and dill as you fold.
Half-fill each prepared soufflé dish or ramekin with the soufflé mixture, then spoon in equal amounts of the smoked haddock and cream mixture.
Fill the dishes with the remaining soufflé so that the mixture is slightly above the top edge.
Smooth the surface with a palette knife and run a knife around the inside edge of the dish to ease the soufflé mixture away from the side of the dish - this helps the soufflé to rise.
Stand the soufflé dishes into a deep roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes (this is a bain-marie).
Place into the oven to cook for 7-8 minutes, or until risen and golden.
To serve, top each soufflé with a poached quail's egg and a sprig of dill. Serve immediately.