Hello cheese lover! Comté. Soufflé. We are in heaven.
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A bit about this cheese: First of all, Comté (pronounced con-tay) is produced in France in the Jura mountains bordering Switzerland.
The farmers raise Montbéliarde cows (95% of the herds) or French Simmental (5%), and feed them a natural diet based on fresh grass during the summer months and hay during the winter.
The flora in the Jura Massif is very diverse and, depending on where they are located, cows may graze on different plants. This is reflected in the milk and, ultimately, in the varying flavours of the cheese.
Each day the farmers deliver their milk to their local fruitière (cheesemaking house). Each fruitière has its own distinct profile related to the aromatic characteristics of the Comté that it produces. These aromatic characteristics reflect the terroir (or soil, climate, flora, etc.) of where the cheese is produced.
One fruitière is characterized by aromas of melted butter, milk chocolate, hazelnuts and fudge. When the cheeses are aged beyond 15 months, aromas of toast, plum compote, leather, pepper and dark chocolate are apparent.
Another produces Comté that is dominated by butterscotch aromas with a hint of toast, followed by fruity aromas such as hazelnut, roasted nuts, sweet orange juice and ripe apricot. With longer aging, the aromas of hazelnut and orange become more pronounced.
I cannot read these descriptors and not pine for this cheese. For more information please visit comte.com. It’s a very informative site (and you’ll get a kick out of the picture of the cows)!
Overview of Steps to Make a Soufflé
Melt butter, add flour whisking for 2 minutes,
then whisk in milk.
Let cool slightly, add egg yolks.
Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Fold in grated Comté.
(I spy Tomato Tarte Tatin waiting in the background).
Beat egg whites with a bit of salt until stiff.
Gently fold egg whites into the béchamel mixture.
Fill ramekins (buttered, chilled, with grated cheese on bottom) with soufflé batter. Sprinkle more grated cheese on top and bake at 400°F until golden. Resist temptation to open the oven door while they cook. When they are done, serve immediately!
I hope Fr. Adam and I are able to convey here how easily done, fun, and satisfying it is to make cheese soufflés. We thoroughly enjoyed the process. Perhaps you’ll find this overview inspiring? The recipe we used comes from the engaging Chocolate & Zucchini Cookbook. We’d love to hear about your favorite soufflés too, as there are definitely more soufflés in our future!