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cheese souffle

Appetizers/ HotApp

Cheese Souffle Puffs

Little clouds of souffle you won’t soon forget!

This week I’m teaching a class on souffles at Williams Sonoma.  Up until about 2 years ago I had never made a souffle of any type before (I thought). I have always been afraid to attempt making something so fragile that if you breath on it it might fall.

I don’t know why after being married for 40 years and catering for 20 years I would be afraid to attempt anything. I just don’t like failures and I guess I have envisioned pulling out a beautiful souffle to serve to guest and having it fall right before my eyes.

A few years ago on a mother/daughter trip we took with a friend and her daughter we had dinner at the Culinary Institute in Napa. We had two souffles that night. The dessert souffle was to die for and what they did was bring it to the table, inserted a spoon in the middle to collapse it and then poured a pitcher of cream angalise over it. Delicious!

But, before dessert arrived we started the meal with this huge bowl of French Onion Soup topped with Cheese Souffle. My version, Souffled Onion Soup is fantastic. I knew after enjoying this soup that I was going to have to make it. I went to work one day hoping to get someone to tell me how they made a souffle and I couldn’t find anyone who had made one before. Guess I wasn’t the only one who feared making a souffle. So, I bought The Joy of Cooking (can’t believe that wasn’t in my cookbook library) and set about making my version of the Soup. You simply make your favorite (or my recipe) of French Onion Soup, top it with a cheese souffle and bake in the oven. I serve this in my little lion head soup bowls and I really think that the steam from the hot soup keeps the souffle from falling. In fact, it doesn’t fall the whole time you are eating the soup.

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Souffled French Onion Soup

Souffle like you have never had before.
 This is a wonderful recipe. A couple of years ago, my daughter and I took a mother/daughter trip to Napa Valley. We ate at the Greystone restaurant which is part of the Culinary Institute of America. We kept seeing these big bowls of “something” being served and decided we wanted what “they had”. Turns out it was French Onion Soup with a Cheese Souffle topping. I have made it several timesAnd it is very rich and I have used croutons instead of bread and not used any bread at all. I serve this in my Lionhead Apilco bowls I got from Williams Sonoma. (I work there part time so I get a great discount)
Anyway, here’s the recipe I came up with, hope you enjoy it as much as we have. It always brings back memories of our trip to Napa. I adapted both of these recipes from The Joy of Cooking. You can take any onion soup recipe and any cheese souffle recipe and make this recipe. Bon Appetite!

Souffled French Onion Soup


  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. Cognac
  • 3 1/2 c. beef broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Cheese souffle recipe follows

Cheese Souffle Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ground nutmeg
  • 5 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded Gruyere
  • 3 egg yolks beaten
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions and thyme and stir to coat with the butter/oil mixture. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until they start to caramelize. This may take 30-40 minutes. You want a rich brown color.
  2. Stir in the cognac and increase temperature to medium high. Stir in the beef broth. Reduce the heat and let simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Keep the soup hot while you make the cheese souffle topping.
  3. To make the white sauce you want to melted the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour until well blended and smooth. This will take about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the 1 cup milk. Return the pan to heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue to cook, whisking until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove the white sauce from the heat and let stand for 30 seconds. Add, stirring well the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the whites into the cheese mixture. Now you are going to ladle the soup into the bowls, leaving about 3/4-1″ at the top. Put the souffle topping on each bowl of soup. Put the bowls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for about 20-25 minutes or until they are browned.
  4. Try this first without the bread or extra cheese on top of the soup and you may find that you do not need the bread or croutons. I have never had this souffle fall. I think it is because the soup is hot and steaming and even after removing from the oven, we have never had them fall. I sometimes sprinkle more parmesan on top of the souffle before putting in the oven. Hope you like this one.