Friday, July 20, 2007
I'm off at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning for the East Coast and two weeks "down the shore." Although our menus will revolve mostly around hamburgers, corn, Jersey tomatoes, Jenny Lind cantaloupes and peaches sweeter than any ever found in Georgia, I'll also be fixing this sort-of souffle. The recipe sounds awful, but the results truly are tasty and the ingredients are easy to find in Ocean City's rather limited food emporiums.
Don't try to improve this by substituting posher ingredients -- creme fraiche for the sour cream and artisan cream cheese for the Philly briquettes just produce a souffle (and I use the term loosely here; it's more like a puffy pudding)that lacks the original's retro-charm.
Because I still must pack and pay bills and deadhead the roses, I'm going to take a shortcut and reprint the recipe from a write-up I did for the Chronicle's FOOD section last year.
Speedy Cheese Souffle
I like to serve this with a large green salad that includes some bitter greens to play against the souffle's slightly sweet undertone. I usually use a 13- by 9-inch ceramic oval dish, but any shallow dish will work as long as the souffle batter fills it no more than 1-inch deep.
Butter for greasing baking dish
Fine-grated Parmesan cheese for coating baking dish
6 ounces cream cheese, preferably at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
Salt to taste
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
Preheat oven to 375°. Generously butter a 10-cup baking dish and coat it with a thin layer of the grated Parmesan. Put the dish in the refrigerator while you prepare the souffle mixture.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, honey and a pinch of salt. Add the egg yolks and beat until mixture is smooth.
In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add another pinch of salt and continue beating until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do not over-beat.
Stir about a third of the beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture and then gently, but thoroughly, fold in the rest. Ease this mixture into the prepared baking dish, set the dish in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350°. Bake 17-20 minutes, until the souffle is puffed, set and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.