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Cheese Souffle' from Jacques Pepin

This is the recipe chef Jacques Pepin's mother used to make her souffles. It goes against common wisdom on how to make a nicely rising souffle' by using the whole egg and not seperated into the yolks and then folding in the whipped whites to get lift. This is very easy and makes a satisfying souffle'. This doesn't have to be cheese. You can make it sweet or even use it to top another dish. Such as you can saute' shrimp in garlic butter and then top it with the souffle' and bake. Use your imagination. Note that you don't need a gratin dish or even a souffle dish. This can be made in a skillet, or even a coffee cup. Jacques likes the gratin dish because it gives a larger crispy top.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional to butter a 6-cup gratin dish

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 large eggs

10 ounces grated Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère (about 2 1/2 cups)

3 tablespoons minced chives

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 6-cup gratin or baking dish with butter; set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium; whisk in flour until well combined. Cook 10 seconds, and whisk in milk until well combined. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and is thick and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in salt and pepper. Let cool in pan 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl until well combined. Gradually whisk eggs, cheese, and chives into cooled butter mixture until well combined. Pour mixture into gratin dish. Bake in preheated oven until puffy and browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Soufflé can be assembled and can stand, covered, at room temperature 2 to 3 hours before baking. It can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated up to 1 day before baking. Allow mixture to come to room temperature before baking. Note: Again, this is just a basis. Use different cheese, make it sweet with sugar and orange zest, or chocolate. Add stuff in with the base, like ham or shrimp. This recipe is very versatile.

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