The 7th Day of Christmas: Hump Day Stilton Soufflé

Serves 4 as a main; 8 as an appetizer

“Soufflé. It’s quick and easy.” As a child, those were words often spoken by my mother in response to the question what’s for dinner?  Understandably, some of you might be skeptical, but you don’t need to let the myth-like horror stories of collapsing egg whites scare you off making soufflé.

This entry officially puts us over the halfway mark of the 12 Days of Christmas, hence the post’s name. That, and we made it on Wednesday. It comes from not a cookbook, but the 2014 Holiday Issue of Food & Drink magazine. Food & Drink is a promotional resource published by the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).  While the preceding sentence sounds pretty lame, I can assure you these have great recipes – and they are free! No issue is more popular than the holiday one, and if you don’t get to a store in time you may be out of luck. Fortunately, my mom still snags them for my sister and me and ships them to us in BC. I have every issue dating back to the early 2000’s. At six a year, it’s a significant stack.

The recipe was chosen 100% with my mom in mind: for teaching me not to be afraid of working with egg whites, for continuing to ship these magazines to me, and for her love of stinky blue cheeses. Our house always has an inordinate number of specialty cheeses on hand and if ever someone were to rob us, I would suggest they make straight for the fridge’s cheese drawer, as there’s a lot of value there for the taking.

This is a great soufflé to make if you have never done so before. It’s quite forgiving. The addition of mascarpone gives it a bit more structure, and unlike most soufflés you can make these ahead of time and bake again, at which time they will re-puff. We had this for dinner, though I think they’d make an impressive holiday brunch.

The walnut-raisin relish is a delicious accompaniment, and worth noting on its own. You can make it in less than 10 minutes and it would be a great addition to a holiday cheese platter. I also strained some of the liquid from the relish and used it to make vinaigrette for a side salad with pea shoots, pomegranate, and thinly sliced granny smith apples. Made for a pretty fantastic hump day.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (fine)
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 oz Stilton cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 5 egg whites*
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

*Whites will whip better at room temperature; so remove them from the fridge prior to assembly if you can.

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F

Butter the soufflé dishes and line bottoms with a circle of parchment (eight half-cup dishes for appetizer size; or four one-cup dishes for entrée size). Sprinkle sides of dishes with grated Parmesan.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and mascarpone until smooth. Crumble in four ounces of the Stilton and beat for another minute, until incorporated. If you still have some chunks that is fine. Season with pepper and set aside.

Place egg whites, and a pinch of salt, in a large bowl and whip on high speed of an electric mixer. The whites will be done when they hold stiff peaks. After about four minutes.

Add one spoon full of the whites to the mascarpone/Stilton mixture and gently fold to incorporate. Gently add the remaining whites, and parsley, to this mixture and fold until just incorporated.

Divide mixture evenly among soufflé dishes. Refrigerate up to four hours before baking if desired.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The tops should have some colour, but the centre should still have some wobble.

Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges. Set-aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Gently empty soufflés on to a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle remaining one ounce of Stilton on top. Return to oven and bake for an additional six minutes, or until Stilton is melted and slightly bubbly.

Serve immediately with walnut-raisin relish (recipe below) and side salad of your choice.

Walnut – Raisin Relish

In a small saucepan combine ¼ cup port, 1/3 cup brown sugar and ½ cup cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup, each, chopped walnuts and dark raisins. Cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Uncover and simmer an additional 5 minutes, until relish is syrupy. Set-aside to cool until ready to serve.