What to do with a glorious little wheel of Petite Munster Cheese? Why a soufflé of course!
Munster, or Géromé (depending on which side of the Vosges Mountains you are on) is the most typical cheese of Alsace, and one of the three oldest cheeses in France. Alsatians call it Munster from the word Monastère, or monastery, while those from Lorraine call it Géromé, a deformation of the name of the city Gerardmer which was a very important market for cheese in the 15th century and was the home of its manufacture in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
Soufflé is a quintessential French way to explore the flavours of this gloriously heady cheese, and a dish that is surprisingly simple to make. With a light hand and some basic skills, you to can produce this impressive French classic at home.
The recipe today comes from Epicurious and a big thanks to Lara for helping out with this dish (she can never say no to a stinky cheese!).
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 125g French Munster cheese, rind removed and cut into smallish cubes
How to do it
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease 4 individual serve ramekins with butter and coat with the Panko breadcrumbs by placing a scoop of breadcrumbs inside the ramekin, rolling it around to coat and tipping out the excess
Warm the milk by bringing it to a simmer in a saucepan over a medium heat. When steaming, remove from heat until needed.
In another saucepan melt your butter and flour, stirring to form a roux. Cook this off, stirring for two minutes to remove the raw flour taste, but do not let it brown.
Gradually add the warmed milk, a bit at a time, constantly whisking as you go. It will thicken between each addition, but don’t panic, just keep whisking and adding and it will all come together in a smooth silky bechamel. Whisk in the cumin and season with salt and pepper before covering with cling wrap (pressing this to the surface of the bechamel to prevent a skin forming). Cool for 10 minutes or so.
When the bechamel is cool, separate your eggs and place the whites in an electric mixer with some salt and whisk until it forms stiff peaks (but not too dry). While the whites are whisking, add the yolks to the bechamel and mix to combine, before stirring in the cubes of Munster cheese.
Lastly, with a light hand fold in the egg whites in three batches (i.e. do not add them all at once).
Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Don’t open the door until you are ready to take them out, but if you are like Lara and I, grab a chair and a glass of wine and settle in to watch them rise through the glass oven door!