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Nothing is lighter than a French cheese souffle

The lightness of a French souffle is largely a matter of how voluminously stiff the egg whites have been beaten and how gently they have been folded into the body of the souffle.

It is the air beaten into the whites in the form of little bubbles, which expands as the souffle is cooked, that pushes it up into magnificent puff.

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To properly serve a souffle, puncture the top lightly with a serving spoon and fork held vertically and spread it apart of each serving. Cheese Souffle 1 teaspoon butter 1 tablespoon grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons flour 1 cup boiling milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper Pinch of cayenne pepper Pinch of nutmeg 4 egg yolks 5 egg whites 3/4 cup grated Swiss or Swiss and Parmesan cheese

Butter inside of 6-cup souffle dish and sprinkle with cheese. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in saucepan. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning.

Remove from heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire whisk until blended. Beat in seasonings. Return to moderately high heat and boil, stirring with whisk for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick. Remove from heat.

Separate eggs. Beat yolks into mixture one at a time. Beat whites (add one extra) with a pinch of salt until stiff. Stir about 1/4 of whites into sauce. Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cheese. Delicately fold in the rest of the whites.

Turn souffle mixture into prepared dish. Tap bottom of dish lightly on table , and smooth surface with the flat of a knife.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Set in middle of preheated 400 degrees F. oven and immediately turn down heat to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes , and do not open the oven door during the entire time. Serve at once. S erves 4.

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