The Loire Valley is the bread basket of France and the home to a number of chateaux. But the region is also known for its cheese, especially the goat cheese of St. Maure. Not only can you visit goat cheese farms during our cooking vacations in the Loire Valley, but you’ll also work with the cheese in the kitchen to make such recipes as this delicious cheese soufflé.
Soufflés are thought to be temperamental and difficult, but we’ve always found them to be perfectly adaptable to home cooking if you pay attention to the details.
Please contact us for details on any of our culinary vacations in France!
St. Maure Cheese Souffle
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 4 eggs, separated
- 175g (6 1/4 ounces) St Maure Goats cheese, or cheese of your choice
- 225ml (8 fl. ounces) milk
- ¼ inch onion slice
- 1 bay leaf
- Grating of nutmeg
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 40g (1 oz) butter
- 40g (1 oz) plain flour
- 150ml (5 1/2 ounces) double cream
- 6 sprigs watercress
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 (350°F).
2. Heat milk, onion, bay leaf, nutmeg and peppercorns in a medium saucepan until the milk reaches simmering point, then strain into a jug, discarding the rest.
3. Rinse out saucepan and melt butter in it. Add the flour and stir to a smooth, glossy paste, and cook this for 3 minutes. Continue to stir until it turns a pale straw color.
4. Gradually add the milk whisking all the time until the sauce is thick and cleanly leaves the sides of the pan.
5. Season lightly and cook on the lowest heat possible for 2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Crumble 110g (3 3/4 ounces) of the cheese into the mixture and stir until most of it has melted.
7. Put a kettle on to boil and in a clean bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold in a spoonful to the cheese sauce to loosen it. Fold sauce into the egg white using a large metal spoon and a cutting and folding motion.
8. Divide the mixture evenly between the lightly buttered ramekin dishes. Put them on the baking tin and place on the center shelf of the oven, and then pour in about ½ inch boiling water into the tin. Bake the soufflés for 20 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
9. When almost cold run a small palette knife around the edge of each ramekin and carefully turn out each soufflé into the palm of your hand and then place them right way up onto a lightly greased baking tray.
10. Dice the remaining cheese into ¼ inch cubes and sprinkle on top of the soufflés and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
11. Two to three minutes before serving, spoon a tablespoon of cream over each soufflé and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
By Peg Kern
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