Relax on Easter Day by making these individual soufflés the day before – then just reheat them for 20 minutes before serving.
- 2 medium leeks (400g/14oz), well washed, drained and finely sliced
- 60g (2oz) butter
- 60g (2oz) plain flour
- 300ml (½ pint) semi-skimmed milk
- 3 large eggs separated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g (5oz) firm goat's cheese (mild English goat's Cheddar)
- 30g (1oz) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- To serve:
- 142ml pot double cream
- 4 tsp freshly grated Parmesan
- A few salad leaves, e.g. rocket or lamb's lettuce, to serve
- 8 ovenproof ramekins lightly buttered using about 10g (¼oz) of the butter
- Roasting tin for a bain-marie
Set oven to moderate, gas mark 4 or 180°C. Blanch leeks in boiling water for 2 mins, drain, cool under cold running water or in iced water. Pat dry in a tea towel.
Melt butter in a fairly large pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes until it forms a paste, then gradually add the milk, stirring. Continue to cook, stirring, for another few minutes, until sauce has boiled and is thick and smooth. Cool for a few minutes.
Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Season well and crumble in the goat’s cheese, add blanched leeks, sun-dried tomatoes and thyme. Stir in gently. Whisk egg whites until soft but not too dry, then gently stir about a third into the sauce, then, using a spatula, fold in the rest.
Divide the mixture between ramekins and stand dishes in a roasting tin. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up sides of dishes. Carefully put tin in oven. Bake for 25-30 mins, until just firm when you press the tops with your finger.
Lift out dishes on to a wire rack; leave to cool for 5-10 mins. Slide a knife round the edges, and take out soufflés and put them on a buttered baking tray. When cold, cover tray with film and chill.
To reheat: Set the oven to fairly hot, gas mark 6 or 200°C. Spoon cream over each soufflé and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 15-20 mins until piping hot. Meanwhile, arrange a few salad leaves on each serving plate. Serve the soufflés hot, garnished with a small thyme sprig, if you like. (Not suitable for freezing).
The soufflés can be served straight away after the first baking without cream and Parmesan, or put cream and Parmesan on and bake for 10-15 mins until golden