Cheese Souffle

Ingredients

2-1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
a good pinch of mustard, cayenne, or both
1 cup diced cheddar cheese
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites

Instructions

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a straight-sided souffle dish well, and shake a little grated cheese around it.

Melt the butter, remove from the heat and stir in the flour and a bit of the milk. Return to low heat and gradually add the rest of the milk, the seasonings and the cheese and stir well. You will have a thick sauce.

Separate the eggs, stirring the yolks one by one into the sauce and dropping the whites (adding an extra one) into a clean, dry mixing bowl. Beat the whites until they stand in stiff peaks.

Stir a large spoonful (or the white that clings to the beater) into the sauce, then very quickly and lightly fold in the rest of the egg white. Spoon the mixture into the prepared souffle dish and place on the rack in the center of the oven. Immediately reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F. In 25-30 minutes, the souffle will be well puffed but still creamy in the center. Allow it to cook for 5 minutes longer and take it to the table where you have already assembled the other elements of the meal and the guests.

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