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Recipe Box: Coffee Mug Cheese Souffle
Soufflés are known for being a little tricky to make. They are pretty delicate, and success is measured not only by how good it tastes but also by how good it looks when served–if you’re not quick enough, the beautiful eggy puff deflates! So why bother going through the trouble? For me, it’s all about the fun of making it. And while some may describe it as fancy egg casserole, souffles are really set apart by the light, fluffy texture that comes from the beaten egg whites. It doesn’t take too long to make, so have some fun and give this a try! This recipe is almost the same as the one found here on epicurious, except I halved the recipe, used 2% milk instead of whole milk, and baked in coffee mugs instead of a soufflé dish.
- 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup 2% milk
- 1¼ tablespoons butter
- 1½ tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ cup (packed) coarsley grated Gruyére cheese
- Set the oven rack about a 3rd up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Butter the insides of the coffee mugs and sprinkle in even amounts of the Parmesan cheese (1/2 in one and ½ in the other), tilting and shaking to spread the cheese out to coat as much of the inside of the mugs as possible.
- Over medium-low heat, warm the milk in a heavy saucepan until it starts to steam.
- While you're warming the milk, melt over medium heat the 1¼ tbsp butter in a heavy saucepan. Then add the flour and whisk until it begins to foam. Remove it from the heat for about 1 minute.
- Pour in the warmed milk and whisk until smooth. Then return to medium heat and constantly whisk until the mixture becomes very thick (almost to the thickness of icing but not quite). Remove from heat.
- Whisk in the paprika, salt, and nutmeg.
- Blend in the egg yolks with a whisk, one at a time.
- Scrape the mixture into a medium-large bowl, cover it, and let it cool to be lukewarm or room temperature.
- Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff but still with softer peaks (not too dry).
- Fold ¼ of the egg whites into the cooled mixture. Then fold in half of what's left of the egg whites while sprinkling in half of the Gruyére cheese. Then fold in the remainder of the egg whites while sprinkling in the remainder of the Gruyére cheese.
- Pour half of the batter into each prepared coffee mug.
- Place the mugs on a baking sheet and place it all in the oven. Lower the heat to 375°F immediately.
- Bake for at least 18 minutes before opening the oven door. It's done when the top is puffed and golden brown and the center jiggles just a little when the mug is lightly shaken.
- Serve it right away, but be sure not to set the hot mugs on a cold surface right out of the oven.
So this is one of those times you want to measure everything out before you begin cooking because you don’t want to accidentally heat anything too long. Also, you can do everything up until beating the egg whites up to 2 hours ahead of time and let it sit at room temperature.
You want to either make sure your mugs are definitely oven-safe or take a risk with a mug you don’t mind possibly losing. I went the second route, but I did as much as I could to prevent shattered mugs. The batter inside should help mugs to heat slowly and evenly, and I but them on a baking sheet so I didn’t put room-temperature mugs directly on a hot metal rack. It worked out ok! I think the mugs do need to be some sort of glass, ceramic, or porcelain, and they shouldn’t have any design elements that could have been added after the mug was initially made. If they are definitely made to be oven-safe, it might say on the bottom of the mugs.