This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Mar 1998)
| 6 oz (175 g) Roquefort|
| 8 fl oz (225 ml) milk|
| ¼ inch (5 mm) onion slice|
| 1 bay leaf|
| grating of nutmeg|
| 6 whole black peppercorns|
| 1½ oz (40 g) butter|
| 1½ oz (40 g) plain flour|
| 4 large eggs, separated|
| 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream|
| salt and freshly milled black pepper|
|To garnish: |
| 6 sprigs watercress|
| Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).|
|You will also need 6 ramekins with a 3 inch (7.5 cm) diameter, 1½ inches (4 cm) deep, lightly buttered, an 11 x 8 x 2 inch (28 x 20 x 5 cm) baking tin, and a 14 x 10 inch (35 x 25.5 cm) baking tray.|
Begin by heating the milk, onion, bay leaf, nutmeg and peppercorns in a medium-sized saucepan till it reaches simmering point, then strain the milk into a jug, discarding the rest now. Rinse out the saucepan, then melt the butter in it.
Add the flour and stir to a smooth, glossy paste, and cook this for 3 minutes, still stirring, until it turns a pale straw colour. Then gradually add the strained milk, whisking all the time, until the sauce is thick and cleanly leaves the sides of the pan.
Then season lightly and cook the sauce on the gentlest heat possible for 2 minutes, stirring now and then. Next remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Now crumble 4 oz (110 g) of the cheese into the mixture and stir until most of it has melted – don't worry if some cheese is still visible. Put a kettle on to boil and, in a spanking-clean large bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage, then fold a spoonful of egg white into the cheese sauce to loosen it. Now fold the sauce into the egg white using a large metal spoon and a cutting and folding motion.Divide the mixture equally between the ramekins.
Put them in the baking tin, place it on the centre shelf of the oven, then pour about ½ inch (1 cm) of boiling water into the tin. Bake the soufflés for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack (using a fish slice) so they don't continue cooking. Don't worry if they sink a little as they cool, because they will rise up again in the second cooking. When they are almost cold, run a small palette knife around the edge of each ramekin and carefully turn the soufflés out on to the palm of your hand, then place them the right way up on a lightly greased, shallow baking tray. They can now be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours, lightly covered with clingfilm.
When you are ready to re-heat the soufflés, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and remove the soufflés from the fridge so they can return to room temperature. Dice the remaining Roquefort into ¼ inch (5 mm) pieces and sprinkle it on top of the soufflés, then place them in the oven, on the shelf above centre, for 30 minutes. Then, 2 or 3 minutes before serving, spoon a tablespoon of cream over each soufflé and return them to the oven while you seat your guests.
Serve the soufflés immediately on warm plates and garnish each with a sprig of watercress.