For a challenge… or more of a party really. Especially since everyone at our gathering has agreed soufflés are easier than expected! You can see all the delightful puffy creations at Our challenge soufflés little party. Here’s my contribution: gluten-free broccoli and cheese soufflés that are delicious, good for you, easy, fluffy and cheesy! Even if you don’t adore broccoli you’ll appreciate the lovely flavours given a wonderful kick by a blend of nutmeg and cayenne pepper. And if you love broccoli like me you’ll be over the moon and back. Woosh and woohoo! 🙂
What’s a good soufflé?
Soufflés should be light and fluffy like a cloud but there are varying opinions on how soft a soufflé should be inside. Some advocate a gooey marshmallow-like centre and others mention it should be set. Set but very soft I suppose and you might notice from the photo that I veer towards ‘pretty set’, perhaps too much. But it’s up to you how you do them and when you’ve made soufflés once or twice you’ll know your preference and oven timings. I’m not an expert but would think a good soufflé is partly one you love eating!! 🙂
The inspiration for this recipe was Delia’s broccoli soufflé with three cheeses. Then I changed the quantities and used two cheeses, cornflour instead of plain to make it gluten free, added sugar and adapted the method, making a roux using equal parts flour and butter.
- Have your eggs at room temperature or out of the fridge at least 2 hours.
- Steam the broccoli between 10 and 20 minutes till just tender and let cool to just warm. Then pulverise to almost a purée in your food processor, or chop and mash like crazy.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (static, non-convection oven) or 180°C/350°F (fan-assisted).
- Grate the nutmeg finely.
- Prepare 7 or 8 small ramekins (8.5-9cm/3.5inches diametre x 5cm/2inches high) or one large dish measuring 14cm/5.5 inches in diameter and 7.5cm/3inches high (bake 50 mins). Butter your moulds then coat with flour or grated parmesan. Cornflour clumps up but still works. Use the method for buttering and flouring moulds on my basics page. Once coated don’t get any fingerprints in there and place in the fridge to cool.
- 400g broccoli with the thick stems trimmed off (around 500g originally, before trimming)
- 1 tablespoon freshly-grated parmesan or grana padano cheese
- 50g/2 oz freshly-grated gruyère, emmental or cheddar cheese
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- good pinch of Stevia sugar substitute or sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg, or a little more to taste (another quarter tsp)
- scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3 large egg yolks (around 56 to 60g, from medium/large eggs) beaten in a small bowl
- 150g/half a cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat milk (you can also use skimmed, oatmilk or almond milk)
- 30g/3 tablespoons and 1 tsp cornflour or plain/all-purpose flour
- 30g/2 good tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large egg whites or 6 small-medium ones (about 180-200g) in a very clean standmixer bowl or large bowl
- Topping (optional): 25g/1 oz (less the 1 tablespoon used in the white sauce) freshly-grated parmesan or grana padano cheese
- Melt the butter over low heat in a small/medium heavy-based saucepan until sizzling.
- Add the flour quickly and stir well with a silicone or wooden spoon. Stir and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll have a soft pale yellow mixture. This is your roux.
- Add the milk gradually over a very low heat while stirring well and continuously to combine and eliminate lumps. Bring to a simmer or boil then take off heat when it thickens to a white mixture. This will take a few minutes.
Pour and scrape into a large clean bowl. Whisk in the black pepper, salt, Stevia or sugar, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Add the beaten egg yolks little by little while whisking constantly till smooth and combined.
- Stir in the broccoli and cheese until well combined. Now taste and add more spices as required. It should taste fairly strong but the added egg whites will later dim and normalise flavour levels.
- Whisk the egg whites on your standmixer or by hand until you just reach stiff peaks, where your whites don’t fall out of the bowl but are still quite soft. Don’t overwhisk. When whites are too dry soufflés don’t rise as well.
- With figure of eight motions, fold in a quarter to a third of the whites into the broccoli mixture to lighten it. Combine fairly well.
- Gently fold in the remaining whites till just combined. Do not overwork or the mixture will flatten out. A few tiny streaks of white are fine.
Spoon carefully into your moulds, trying not to touch the edges. Fill three-quarters full or almost to the top. Clean the rim with a piece of paper. Some people use their thumb or a butter knife to create a small groove between the rim and soufflé batter. You could also freeze quickly for 20 mins to an hour or so as apparently this provides a thermic shock that gets the soufflés to suddenly rise.
Bake in middle of the oven for around 18 to 25 minutes, depending on how soft or set you prefer them. Don’t open the oven door the first 18 minutes. If you insert a skewer and see they are too gooey you can put them back in the oven a few minutes. Keep in mind that once out they continue cooking a little while in their moulds.
You can keep unbaked soufflés in their moulds, covered in plastic film in the fridge. Bake the next day or even the day after. They might require a little longer to bake, like 30 minutes. I’m also keeping some baked leftovers to add to my Chinese stir-fry.
Serving and partying
Serve hot soufflés immediately as a starter or with a nice salad. They´ll start deflating in a few minutes but stay puffy and delicious. So, I’m quickly taking these over to two lovely food parties, Fiesta Friday and Simply eggcellent. Come and have a look at the delicious offerings. And whether you’re a recently-converted or long-standing soufflé fan you’ll love the contributions made by my baking friends at our soufflés party. You can still bring your own soufflé too if you like!
Do mingle and help yourself to a little snack.
A second opinion from a broccoli hater
My poor friend happened to be visiting when these came out of the oven. ‘Poor’ because she hates broccoli. Still, she allowed herself to be bustled towards a chair and given a spoon to play guinea-pig! She thought the look and texture were great, as well as the spices. She loved the nutmeg and cayenne pepper kick. But she could still make out the taste of broccoli, which is… um… good news?!
Before bidding you farewell sweet savoury reader, I’ll just say I do recommend you make these Broccoli and cheese soufflés or generally get to enjoy the soufflé experience! 🙂
Nice to see you again and I wish you a weekend that is perfect in all its ups and downs! Happy baking and eating! 🙂 x