- 1 ½ oz butter, extra to grease
- 1 ½ oz self-raising flour, extra to grease
- 1 ½ cups, milk
- 1 small onion, cut in half
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 black peppercorns
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 7oz Knockdrinna (or Gruyere) cheese, grated
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3.5 oz walnut halves
- 3 firm ripe pears
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
These make a very elegant cheese course and are quite easy to prepare. You can make these ahead of time and they will puff up again when you place them back in the oven.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour x6 ramekins
2. Pour the milk into a small pan and add the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and grated nutmeg. Bring to a steady simmer slowly, then remove from the heat and strain into a jug.
3. Melt butter, in a small pan and add the flour to make a roux, whisking until it’s combined. Slowly add the warm milk until you have added it all and are left with a thick white sauce.
4. Transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl. Then whisk in the egg yolks and three- quarters of the cheese.
5. Beat the egg whites until light and fluffy and forming soft peaks, then gradually mix it in with the cheese mix.
6. Divide the mixture amongst the ramekins and place in roasting tin. Pour boiling water around the base of the ramekins and place in the oven for 15 minutes the soufflés are well risen and lightly golden.
7. Allow to cool slightly and then remove the soufflés from the ramekins and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
8. Cover with cling film and chill for up to 24 hours. To finish cooking the soufflés, remove them from the oven while you preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
9. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until they have puffed back up and are heated through.
10. Meanwhile, make the pear salad. Toast the walnuts in a baking dish for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool a little and roughly chop.
11. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife cut the pear into wafer-thin slices and toss in the lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Add some salt and pepper and set aside until you are ready to serve.
12. Cover each plate with a layer of slightly overlapping pear slices and drizzle with olive oil. Put a soufflé into the centre of each plate and add a grinding of black pepper. Scatter over the walnuts to serve.