In my pre-keto days, Easter dinner meant cheese soufflé. Funnily enough, it's not an heirloom tradition. One year I happened to have grabbed a cookbook from a particular monastery, and there was a recipe for cheese soufflé at Easter. Why that caught my fancy and I decided to make that part of my new family's traditions, I can't really recall all these years later, but over time I'd tinkered with the base a lot and made it into my own. Nevertheless, I did, and so Easter means there will be cheese soufflé.
Or at least it did until I went keto.
Because soufflé base typically contains flour, I'd given it up completely until it occurred to me that the flour's main purpose was to make a roux for bechamel sauce. Since we can easily use a bit of glucomannan to achieve the same results, I started experimenting just to see how well I could pull it off without the flour.
As it turns out, I did very well, indeed. My cheese soufflé came out perfectly, and once again we can look forward to having this delectable dish on our spring holiday table!
Notes: As I've noted before, soufflé can be extremely temperamental. That's why the instructions here are very specific. Trust me, I'm not asking you to do these meticulous little things because I'm trying to make your life difficult. It really is to help ensure you make a successful soufflé. I highly recommend reading through everything and making sure you understand the instructions before you start making this dish.
The outside of a soufflé coming right out of the oven should be golden brown, set and puffy with no cracks. Once you dig in, the inside should be a cross between creamy and fluffy. That weird contrast is what makes a soufflé such a crazy and amazing dish.Print
- 4 tbsp. (approx. 2 oz/ 57 g) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 tbsp (3/4 oz/ 22 g) butter, salted, plus more for greasing the ramekins
- 1/2 c (4 fl oz/ 118 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 c (2 fl oz/ 59 ml) boxed coconut milk, unsweetened (the thin kind)
- generous pinch sea salt
- several turns fresh cracked black pepper
- dash ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp glucommanan powder (aka, konjac powder)
- 2 oz (57 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 oz (28 g) smoked Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1 oz (28 g) smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 large eggs, separated
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp scallion, thinly sliced
- Make sure all of your bowls and equipment are impeccably clean and bone dry. I mean, not a single spec of oil nor a drop of water can be on anything.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare 8 (6 oz) ramekins by spacing them evenly on a sturdy baking sheet, greasing them well with butter, then coating sides and bottom with 1/2 tbsp each grated Parmesan. It’s OK if most of the ends up in the bottom. Just do your best to get some of it round the inside walls so the soufflé has traction to climb.
- Separate the eggs. Put the whites to the side and allow them to come to room temp. Put the yolks in a separate bowl and beat them with a fork to break them up. Set aside.
- Pull all the rest of your ingredients, measure them, and set them where you can easily reach them while working at the stove. Put the bowl with the beaten egg yolk within reach of the stove as well.
Making the Cheese Sauce:
- In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted, add the heavy cream and coconut milk to the pot and continue to cook over medium until it builds up a good head of steam, whisking fairly frequently to keep the bottom from scorching.
- Whisk in the seasonings, then temper the egg yolks by very slowly drizzling in 1/4 c of the steaming milk mixture while whisking the heck out of the egg yolk to prevent it from scrambling.
- Once that is incorporated, begin very slowly drizzling the tempered egg mixture back into the main sauce pot, whisking vigorously the entire time to prevent the yolks from scrambling or curdling.
- Continue to whisk while adding the glucomannan powder.
- Whisk in the shredded cheeses, a handful at a time, and allowing the cheese to melt and incorporate into the sauce between each addition.
- Once all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, continuing to whisk the first 2-3 minutes to prevent the eggs from curdling.
- Pour the sauce into a larger mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature. The sauce will thicken further as it stands, and that’s OK.
Finishing the sauce:
- With a hand or stand mixer, begin whipping the egg whites on low.
- Once the whites just begin to foam, add a pinch of cream of tartar then turn the speed up to medium.
- As the whites become completely foamy, turn the speed up again to medium-high and continue to whip the egg white until it comes to stiff peaks. When you turn the mixer off and pull the beaters out of the whites, the little triangle peak that sticks up out of the white and off the bottom of the beater should be totally straight, stiff, and not fall over.
- Fold 1/3 of the stiff egg whites into the cheese sauce. You don’t have to be super gentle here. You’re just lightening the sauce a bit.
- Very gently fold the rest of the whites into the cheese sauce mixture until it is incorporated and no white streaks remain. BE GENTLE!!! If you are too rough, you will lose too much air and your soufflé won’t rise.
- If you choose to use the scallion inside the soufflé, now is the time to fold them in. Otherwise, reserve them.
Bake the soufflé:
- Evenly divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. It is easiest if you use an ice cream scoop, about 2 1/2″ diameter. This way, you just scoop once and fill, and disturb the batter (and its essential air bubbles) the least. Otherwise, evenly distribute the batter between the ramekins as best and as gently as you can.
- If you choose to use scallions as garnish, now is the time to gently sprinkle it evenly over the top of each unbaked souffle.
- Stick the whole cookie sheet in the oven and bake the soufflés at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR. If you need to check it, use the oven light and watch through the window, but for the love of all that is holy, do not open that door until it is risen well and golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
This is a basic soufflé and while it would be easy to change up cheeses and toppings, keep in mind that the more bits and pieces you add to it, the more you need to stir and the more air you’re going to lose. Keep it simple and you will have a super puffy soufflé with a gorgeous sort-of creamy-sort-of fluffy-completely-luxurious interior.
Per 1 ramekin soufflé: 167.5 cal, 6.8 g protein, 14.9 g fat, 1.7 g carbs, 0.13 g fiber, 1.54 g NET carbs
- Serving Size: 1 soufflé
Keywords: Cheese, Soufflé, Easter