As promised in my last post, A Gluten Free Spring Dinner for Two, here’s the recipe I used to make that glorious, golden and bouncy cheese souffle featured in my photos. I saw Michel Richard’s original recipe in the latest issue of Bon Ap, and was intrigued by his use of xanthan gum, a common ingredient in GF baking, to help the souffle reach new heights. After that, it was just a quick and easy leap to re-imagine this classic recipe sans gluten.
On a side note, I’ve been wanting to test out Thomas Keller’s miracle product, Cup4Cup, in a standard béchamel, the butter+flour+dairy combo that serves as the souffle base in this recipe. I’ve made GF béchamels in the past, often utilizing various combinations of tapioca, arrowroot, corn and potato starches, and getting somewhat inconsistent results. The starches tend to lend either a grittiness (or worse, a sliminess,) to the final product, or else leave a slightly unpleasant raw-starch aftertaste in their wake. In several instances, the starch bonds broke apart completely after undergoing extreme temperature shifts, leaving me with soupy, inedible disasters on my hands. But C4C didn’t disappoint in any of these areas - thumbs up C4C béchamel!
Gluten Free Cheese Soufflé with C4C
Adapted from Michel Richard’s “The Loftiest Souffle,” published in Bon Appétit, April 2012
4 Tbs. grated parmesan, divided
4 Tbs. butter, divided
1/4 cup Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend
1 cup cold whole milk
1 cup shredded parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. salt, divided
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1. Preheat the oven to 400° with a rack in the center position. Grease a 1-qt. casserole or soufflé dish with 1 Tbs. of butter and coat with 2 Tbs. of grated parmesan; set aside. Melt remaining butter in small sauce pan over medium-low heat, add C4C and cook, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes until toasted and lightly golden. Whisk in cold milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 more minutes until mixture has thickened to a porridge-like consistency. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 2 Tbs. of grated parmesan and 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan. Season with fresh nutmeg and 3/4 tsp. of salt. Let mixture cool 1-2 minutes before whisking in egg yolks. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. In a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites with xanthan gum and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt until stiff peaks form and hold their shape. Stir 1/4 of whipped whites into the soufflé base to lighten the mixture, then transfer the base into the larger bowl of egg whites, gently folding with a spatula until whites are completely incorporated and the mixture is light and airy.
3. Gently spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish, top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan and bake 20-25 minutes until soufflé is puffed four to five inches above the top of the baking dish and deeply golden. Remove carefully and serve immediately.
Note: You can make individual soufflés by using six 6-oz. or four 8-oz. ramekins and reducing the baking time by 5-10 minutes.