Believe it, it’s true: soufflé you can make ahead and freeze or refrigerate. That comes out puffy and golden, covered in a luscious molten, bubbly creamy sauce. Really and truly. So you can actually serve soufflé as an elegant starter for a dinner party without disappearing into the kitchen for half an hour to frantically beat those egg whites into stiff peaks and fold it with a cheesy roux. And you can have friends over for brunch and blow them away with a delicate, puffy soufflé without pulling out a single bowl, whisk, pot, egg beater or any of the other various implements required to make a cheese soufflé.
This is a twice baked soufflé, because..…well, it’s baked twice. Firstly to make the soufflé, for it to puff up in all it’s glory, then secondly to reheat it, puff up again and for the cream poured over it to become bubbly and golden.
To make-ahead, you simple freeze it after the first time you bake it, then defrost it completely before baking again with the cream. And you will be absolute amazed how much it puffs up the 2nd time you bake it – by my measurements, it actually puffed up slightly more than the first time! Being the food nerd that I am, I measured it (the height of the soufflé):
1. After the first bake – straight out of the oven: 6.5cm / 2.6 inches, after 5 minutes: 4 cm / 1.6 inches
2. After freezing it, defrosting, and baking again with the cream sauce – straight out of the oven: 7 cm / 2.8 inches, after 5 minutes: 4.5 cm / 1.8 inches
Note: It is just a plain fact of life that soufflés are at their puffiest straight out of the oven, and that within a few minutes, it will start to deflate a bit. So serve and eat immediately after pulling it out of the oven!
This recipe is not my usual 15 minute meal. But it is so awesome being able to have a stash of soufflés in the freezer I just had to share this, it’s sheer brilliance! Definitely a recipe to pop in your RecipeTin app!
Twice Baked Make Ahead Cheese Souffle
- 60 g / 2 oz / 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped leeks or scallions/shallots (white part only)
- 1/3 cup (40 g / 1.5 oz) plain all purpose flour (unsifted)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup grated good melting cheese (see notes)
- 3 eggs , separated
- Pinch of salt and pepper
For Reheating/Second Bake
- 1 1/4 cups cream (unwhipped)
- 4 tbsp grated cheese
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease four ramekins or 6 small ramekins very well (see notes for size).
- Bring kettle to boil with plenty of water.
- Melt half the butter (i.e. 2 tbsp) in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the leek and cook for a couple of minutes until softened, then remove from pan into a bowl.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining butter, add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Then whisking constantly, add 1/4 of the milk, and when it has combined (it will be a thick paste consistency) add the remaining milk, whisking constantly over the medium heat.
- Continue to whisk and in a minute or two, it will start to thicken. Once it becomes the consistency of a thick pouring cream, remove from heat, add the cheese and leeks and mix to combine. The cheese does not need to melt. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then add the egg yolks, salt and pepper and mix to combine.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff then fold a spoonful of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then pour the cheese mixture into the bowl with the egg whites and gently fold it to combine. Do NOT over mix as it will knock out the air out of the egg whites, it is mixed enough when there are still slight streaks of white and yellow.
- Spoon the mixture into ramekins and smooth the tops. Place in a baking dish then pour boiling water around the ramekins so that it comes half way up their sides.
- Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until puffed up and golden on top. Remove from oven and leave in ramekins for a couple of minutes. Then run a small knife around the edge before turning out the souffles. They will deflate a little as they cool.
- To freeze: Once completely cool, cover in cling wrap and freeze. To make, defrost completely (do not use microwave), I usually do this by leaving them in the fridge overnight.
Second Bake Prior to Serving
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Place a soufflé on a gratin or pie dish (I used a tart dish), pour 1/4 of the cream over the top, scatter 1 tbsp grated cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes until puffed up and the cream is bubbly and golden.
- Serve immediately.