from Kitchen Diaries

Over the past year, each day I open Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (2005) to read the day’s entry. I tend not to read ahead. His recipes represent the best that approximate directions can achieve. It pays to revisit the recipes I like, because occasionally they don’t come out quite right in the translation from his British kitchen to my American one. But this one was a winner.

His recipe runs like this:

a little butter
freshly grated Parmesan – 135g
large eggs – 4
soft English goat’s cheese – 300g
double cream – 100ml
a tablespoon of chopped thyme leaves (about 5 stems)

Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6. Lightly butter three shallow ovenproof pasta bowls or soup plates. Dust them with a little of the grated parmesan.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a bowl big enough to whisk them in. Mash the goat’s cheese into the egg yolks, then stir in the cream, chopped thyme and a seasoning of black pepper and a very little salt.

Whisk the egg whites till they are almost stiff, then fold them firmly but tenderly into the cheese mixture, using a large metal spoon. Lastly fold in all but a couple of spoonfuls of the grated parmesan.

Divide the mixture between the three buttered bowls. Scatter over the remaining Parmesan, put the dishes on a baking sheet and bake for ten to fourteen minutes, by which time the centre should be lightly risen and creamy inside. I usually test one after nine minutes by opening the middle of it carefully with the edge of a spoon. If there is any sign of liquid at the bottom, I close the oven for a couple of minutes.

Serve immediately, with [a salad dressed with walnut oil and a handful of toasted walnut halves], while they are still puffed and golden. Enough for 3.

My version went like this:

I weighed everything on my digital kitchen scale. My local market sells little jars of Devon double cream and used a little over half a jar for this recipe. I set the oven to 400. Most importantly, I divided it among four, not three, medium-sized ramekins. I used a KitchenAid mixer to whisk the egg whites. Otherwise, I followed his directions.

Last thoughts:

No one who has eaten one of these delectable souffles complained about the portion. Dividing this amount by three would be more than I could eat. They really do need to be eaten right away, but one friend kept an uneaten ramekin overnight in the fridge and enjoyed it cold the next day.

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