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less than 30 mins
10 to 30 mins
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main
This light-as-air soufflé served in a creamy Swiss-cheese sauce makes an impressive winter starter.
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, then whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring continuously, for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking all the time to prevent any lumps from forming.
Quickly whisk in the egg yolks and remove from the heat; season with salt and pepper. Cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.
Add a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and beat with a whisk until evenly mixed, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mixture into four well-buttered 8cm/3in diameter tartlet moulds and place in the oven for six minutes, or until the tops begin to brown.
Meanwhile, season the cream with a little salt and white pepper, warm it gently and stir in 100g/3½oz of each cheese until melted.
Place a layer of the cream mixture into each of four heatproof serving bowls then turn the soufflés out into the cream, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, then place them under a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes.
When you are using egg whites for meringues or soufflés, you can freeze and thaw the egg whites in advance. This makes them looser, and they make a lighter meringue.
Nikolaihof Grüner Veltiner Hefeabzug 2010 Austria (HS): Kurt Angerer, Grüner Veltliner ‘Kies’ 2011: Champagne or a sparkling wine would work really well with this too.
By Nigella Lawson
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