Chef Ludovic Lefebvre Cheese Soufflé Recipe
NOTE from Sophie Gayot: French chef Ludovic Lefebvre has not only made a name for himself cooking in America, but a first name. When we hear “Chef Ludo,” we know it’s him. We have been following him in Los Angeles for years, from L’Orangerie to Bastide, to his LudoBites pop-ups that would take OpenTable’s website down when opening the reservations to the public. I remember one day waiting over an hour at one of the pop-ups. Ludo came out of the kitchen to apologize for the wait, explaining that the young couple holding my table, who had a reservation at 6:30 p.m., had ordered every single item on the menu. It was 9 p.m… And let’s not forget the impossible-to-get-a-reservation Trois Mec restaurant.
Ludo is French trained by highly rated chefs: Alain Passard, Marc Meneau, Guy Martin, and the unconventional Pierre Gagnaire, the latest leaving the strongest footprint to his cooking style.
As we know the French love fromage, so here is Chef Ludo’s family-size cheese soufflé recipe.
• Ingredients •
. 3.5 cups + 3 tablespoons of whole milk
. 1 cup of flour
. 8 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
. 6 egg yolks
. 8 egg whites
. 11.4 oz. of grated Comté cheese, or you can use Swiss, Gruyère, Parmesan
. touch of mace (or nutmeg)
. white pepper and salt to taste
• Directions •
1. Grate cheese (big chunks are fine)
2. Melt butter in sauce pan
3. Add flour, mix thoroughly and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. You are cooking off the flavor of raw flour. DON’T burn. This is a roux.
4. Warm milk (DON’T burn)
5. Add warm milk to the roux. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring until completely incorporated and creamy (elastic). This will take about 3-4 minutes, but you need your muscles! When you add the milk to the roux this is a classic béchamel sauce.
6. Add a little salt (not too much, cheese is salty), continue stirring and TASTE
7. Add the mace, stir in and TASTE
8. Separate egg whites. You will only need 6 yolks, so set aside 2 and get creative later.
9. Add egg yolks to béchamel. Stir in completely and cook over medium heat about 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring. Don’t let it burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Add white pepper. This is now a mornay sauce.
10. Remove mornay sauce from heat and fold in grated cheese. It will be a chunky consistency.
11. Whip eggs whites until stiff
12. Fold in egg whites
13. Butter a large pot/Dutch oven in upward streaks. Lightly flour. You want the soufflé to rise up so give the soufflé guides to follow up
14. Pour batter in cast iron pot. (I used a Le Creuset size 22)
15. Bake approximately 40 minutes at 375°. Cook time will depend on your oven. It will be finished when it looks like mine.