Since double baked cheese soufflés are baked twice, there's no stress over them falling. They make a wonderfully decadent appetizer, side, or even a main dish with a salad.
Why Double-Baked Cheese Soufflés are the BEST
It's been a long time since I've made a soufflé. Like forever.
For starters, they collapse so quickly that by the time they reach the table people wonder why I'm serving a pancake for dessert. And there's a lot of fuss around having a clean ramekin top and edge so nothing interferes with the rise. Although really, if they collapse in a nanosecond, does that really matter?
So double-baked cheese soufflés, also called twice-baked soufflés, are right up my alley.
The first baking is done just like a regular soufflé. And it collapses, just like a regular soufflé. And it's ok. The photo above is post-collapse. You can do this step the day before and refrigerate until 30 minutes before dinner the following day. Or, this first step and the second baking can be done sequentially. It's up to you.
If you choose to split it between two days, slide the soufflés out of the refrigerator roughly 30 minutes before dinner, and preheat the oven. Top the soufflés with a couple of slivers of artichoke hearts, slices of cheese, and pour cream around them. I like to add a little cheese and fresh thyme to the cream, just because. Bake a second time to get another little rise, and serve as a fluffy, deliciously cheesy side dish.
Double-Baked Artichoke & Cheese Souffles
- 1 (13.75-oz) can artichoke bottoms. sliced in quarters (about 1 cup or a little more)
- ½ cup half & half
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¾ cup lightly packed grated Gruyere cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, divided
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 2 jarred marinated artichoke hearts, thinly sliced into a total of 8 slices
- 8 slices Gruyere cheese, small enough to place 2 on top of each soufflé
- ⅔ cup cream
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F, and butter the bottoms and sides of four 1-cup capacity ramekins. Line the bottoms of the ramekins with parchment paper. Place them in a large baking dish.
- Add the artichoke bottoms and half & half to a blender or processor fitted with a metal blade, blitz it like crazy until smooth.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, whisk in the flour, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to whisk every 15 - 20 seconds. The flour should brown and cook, but not burn.
- Stir in the artichoke cream, ½ cup of the cheese, ½ teaspoon of the thyme, and the salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes until the cheese melts. The mixture will be thick. Remove from the heat.
- Separate the eggs, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat them to medium stiff peaks. I use a hand mixer for this. You'll know they're ready when you dip the beaters into the egg whites and turn the beaters upside down. The egg white tips should be defined but droop.
- Temper the egg yolks with the artichoke mixture but whisking the artichoke mixture into the eggs one large spoonful at a time. I use a large serving spoon for this.
- Fold in the whipped egg whites. The best way to do this is by folding in only ⅓ of the whipped egg whites at a time, using a large spatula. There will be some lumps of whipped eggs whites when you're done.
- Ladle the soufflé batter into the prepared ramekins, about ¾ full. Pour very hot or boiling water into the baking dish, about half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 10 minutes, and reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully lift the ramekins from the pan, and place them on a cooling rack. Allow them to collapse.
- Empty the baking pan of the water, and dry it.
- Once they cool a bit, run a sharp knife around each ramekin and turn them upside down to flip out the little soufflés. Arrange them in the baking pan. Place a couple slivers of artichoke hearts on top of each soufflé. Layer 2 small slices of cheese on top. Pour the cream around the soufflés. Add a little grated cheese to the cream, if you want.
- Bake for another 10 - 12 minutes. Serve warm.