My late wife Paula made this cheese soufflé every Sunday night, pairing it with a simple salad and her Sculley House Vinaigrette. When I could smell the cheese aroma from my study, I would come running for my favorite meal of the week. Paula got the original recipe from a 1970s edition of Joy of Cooking. Sadly, they’ve since changed the recipe—and not for the better, to my taste.’
½ cup unsalted butter, plus extra softened butter for greasing the soufflé dish
½ cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the soufflé dish
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon paprika
Dash of your favorite hot sauce
2 cups milk
½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 475°F.. Prepare a 10-inch soufflé dish by completely greasing its bottom and sides with softened butter and then evenly coating the buttered surface with a dusting of flour.
In the top half of a stovetop double boiler over but not touching boiling water, melt the ½ cup of butter. Whisking continuously, add the ½ cup of flour, the salt, paprika, and dash of hot sauce. When they are thoroughly mixed, continue whisking while gradually pouring in the milk. Keep stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Then gradually stir in the cheese until melts and incorporates completely. Remove the top pan containing the sauce from the heat.
In a mixing bowl with electric beaters, beat the egg yolks until they turn a light lemon-yellow color. Then, while beating the cheese sauce continuously, gradually pour in the yolks. Wash the beaters thoroughly to remove any trace of yolk, and dry them thoroughly. Then, in another clean bowl, beat the egg whites in until they form stiff, but not dry, peaks that hold their shape when the beaters are lifted out. Gently but thoroughly fold the cheese sauce into the egg whites. Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured soufflé dish.
Bake the soufflé in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F and continue baking until the soufflé is well-risen and golden brown, about 25 minutes longer, taking care not to disturb the soufflé by opening the oven door during baking
Serve the soufflé immediately, using a large metal spoon to divide it into equal portions.