Easy Goat’s Cheese Soufflés with Spiced Hazelnut Crust

  • 80g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 350ml warm milk
  • 85g goat’s cheese
  • 3 tbsp freshly-grated Parmesan, or vegetarian alternative
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 500ml double cream
  • For the crust and salad
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp sweet pimenton
  • Baby gem salad leaves to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until a pale golden and then grind about 60g of the nuts to a rough powder in a spice grinder with half the cayenne pepper, a few good pinches of salt and the smoked pimenton.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and use just over a tablespoon to butter 6 dariole moulds generously. Dust the moulds with the powdered hazelnuts so that they are well coated, keeping back the last tablespoon.

Meanwhile, add the flour into the remaining butter and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time, for a few minutes. This will cook out the raw flour flavour. Add the milk, bit by bit, stirring to create a smooth, creamy sauce.

Now stir in the thyme, goats’ cheese and half the parmesan, and season with a few pinches of salt, the rest of the cayenne pepper and a few good grindings of freshly ground black pepper. Beat in three of the egg yolks.

Whisk the egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl until they hold their shape. Fold half into the cheese mixture with a large metal spoon, followed by the remaining half, being careful not to beat out the air in the whites.

Stand the moulds in a baking tray and fill with enough boiling water to come half way up the moulds. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until they are set and not too wobbly.

Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a few minutes before turning out onto a plate and keeping until you need them. When you are ready to eat, heat the cream in a saucepan, season well with salt and pepper and reduce by a third.

Pour the cream over the soufflés, sprinkle over the extra parmesan and bake in a hot oven (200°C) for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden.

Serve the soufflés with a baby gem salad dressed with hazelnut oil and lemon juice, the remaining toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped and a dusting of the powdered hazelnuts.

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