Daring Cooks’ Challenge – Basil and Gruyere Souffle

Daring Cooks’ Challenge – Basil and Gruyere Souffle


Basil and Gruyere Souffle

Basil and Gruyere Souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

I adapted their recipe for the Watercress Souffle by substituting basil and Gruyère and didn’t use the mustard.  Here’s my adaptation:

Basil and Gruyère Soufflé

Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish, 2 as an entrée


2 Tbsp 1 oz/30g butter plus additional for the soufflé dish
3½ Tbsp (55 ml) 1 oz/30g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup/8 fluid oz (240ml) milk
½ cup (120 ml) 2 oz/60g Gruyere cheese, finely grated plus additional for the soufflé dish
1/2 cup (250ml) 2 oz/60g finely chopped de-stemmed fresh basil
4 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
Salt and pepper to taste * If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ ½ tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted


 1. Butter the soufflé dish(es) thoroughly, then grate a small amount of cheese in each dish and tap so that the sides are evenly coated with the cheese. Place the dish(es) in the refrigerator until needed (according to some sites, this helps the soufflé climb).

Butter and Cheese the bowl

2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350˚F/180˚C/gas mark 4

3. Wash and chop the basil if you haven’t already.

4. Finely grate the Gruyère cheese

5. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook 1 minute, then add the milk, a little at a time, and stir until just thickened, about 1 minute. Add the cheese and stir until it’s just melted. Remove from heat then add the basil and salt and pepper.

Melting butter


Making the roux

Roux with cheese

6. In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes.

Tempering the egg yolks

7. Mix the egg yolks into the basil sauce.

8. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.

9. Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed, but you don’t lose too much volume.

10. Remove the soufflé dish from the refrigerator and spoon the mix into it. Use a spatula to even the tops of the soufflés and wipe off any spills. (I forgot to wipe off spills!)

Ready to bake

11. Bake 25 minutes for small dishes or 40 minutes if using a large soufflé dish, then serve immediately.

The souffle came out very tasty although it didn’t rise as much as I would have liked and it deflated very quickly as I was spooning it onto the plate.  Next time I’m doing chocolate!

Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Churning

Many people think only of ice cream in the warmer months, but as a child, my dad occasionally made it in the winter, with snow and the old-fashioned hand crank machine.  Of course, living in the desert now, there isn’t much snow and I have a nice electric model but I still love home-made ice cream.  Butter Pecan is generally my favorite flavor, but for some reason I have never made it, usually opting for some type of fruit or a plain vanilla batch.  This time, a friend requested butter pecan so I gave it a try and it is now my very, very favorite.  It is easy and by caramelizing the pecans almost like a brittle, they are sweet and crunchy.  This recipe  for Butter Pecan Ice Cream from Better Homes and Gardens is definitely a keeper!

Butter, Sugar and Pecans

You start by caramelizing the pecans. Butter, Sugar and Pecans, what could be better?

Caramalized Pecans

Cook until the sugar is thick and caramlized.  Then pour it onto the foil to cool.

Caramalized Pecans cooling

 Then you make the ice cream, crushing up the pecans and putting them in at the end of the churning.

Finished and ready to harden in the freezer

Peanut Butter and Apple Slice Cheesecake

Peanut Butter and Apple Slice Cheesecake

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake

As we all know, cheesecake is a favorite at our house and going with the fall theme and because I had a bunch of apples and cream cheese to use, I created this version is in honor of son-who-loves-cheesecake who will be here for Thanksgiving.  Also, cheesecake freezes really well so I’m trying to do things ahead so I can enjoy the visit from kids and the rest of the family.

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Slice

    Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Servings: 16
  • 2 cup(s) of peanut butter sandwich cookies
  • 18 ounce(s) of cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) of peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup(s) of heavy cream
  • 2 cup(s) of applesauce
  • 2 cup(s) of peeled, cored and sliced apples
  • 2 tsp. of cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor, pulse the cookies until finely ground then add 2 oz of cream cheese and mix. Pat into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes
  2. In food processor, or a mixing bowl, process remaining cream cheese with brown sugar until light and fluffy, add peanut butter, mix, then add flour and mix until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, then the cream mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared crust.
  3. Drop the applesauce by spoonfuls and gently swirl through the batter but not mixing them completely together.

    Batter with applesauce mixed in

  4. Gently layer the sliced apples decoratively on top of the batter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and cinnamon.

    Apples on top

    Apples topped and ready to bake

  5. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 250 and bake for about 50-60 minutes longer until the center is set but still has just a little jiggle to it. Turn the oven off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven letting it cool slowly to prevent cracks. When the oven has cooled remove and refrigerate until serving.

Slice of Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake Custard with Cherry Compote and Cherry and White Chooclate Shortbreads

Lemon Cheesecake Custard with Cherry Compote and Cherry and White Chooclate Shortbreads

Lemon-Cherry Cheesecake Custard with White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

This dessert was inspired by a recipe I saw in Food & Wine magazine, Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits.  My kids are not big fans of blueberries and red seemed like a better holiday color, so I substituted dark sweet cherries.  I also decided to use the Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread recipe from the Joy of Baking with dried cherries instead of cranberries.  I considered using cranberries instead of the cherries and think that would also work really well.  I especially like the cheesecake custard I can think of a lot of things it would go with and will definitely make it again!

Step One, get the recipes for the cheesecake custard and the shortbread cookies.

Step two:  Make the shortbread cookies according to the recipe substituting whatever dried fruit you prefer.

Cherry White Chocolate Shortbread ready to bake

Cherry White Chocolate Shortbread

Make the rest of the recipe for the cheesecake custard, again using whatever fruit you choose. 

Incorporating the cream cheese

Cheesecake Custard ready to chill

It makes a beautiful presentation.

Cherry Lemon Cheesecake Custard

Cherry Lemon Cheesecake Custard

Cherry Lemon Cheesecake Custard