This is one of Sarah Tuck's favourite recipes ever. Don't be intimidated by the idea of a souffle - it is so easy! It's twice cooked, so there's no need to stress about it rising or not. Plus, those soft, pillowy cheesy mouthfuls are well worth any effort required.
200g cauliflower, cut into small florets (about ¼ large cauliflower)
50ml white wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
sprig of thyme
4 tablespoon plain flour
½ cup firmly packed Gruyere cheese
4 free range eggs, separated
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese extra
6 x 1½ cup capacity ramekins
Put cauliflower florets in a medium frying pan and add wine, cream, garlic salt & pepper. Cook over a gentle/medium heat for 25 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and most of the cream has reduced. Cool for 10 minutes then whiz in a food processor until smooth.
Put milk into a medium saucepan with bay leaf and thyme; bring to a simmer over a gentle heat for 5 minutes then strain into a jug. (Alternatively heat in a microwave for two one-minute bursts and leave to stand for 5 minutes). Heat butter in the same pot over a gentle heat, and whisk in flour. Whisking continuously pour in half of the milk. Once it thickens add remainder of the milk, cook a few minutes more, whisking until thick and smooth. Stir in the Gruyere cheese, whisk well and remove from the heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, then combine with the cauliflower puree, stirring to incorporate well, set aside to cool.
Grease and line the bases of six 1½ cup capacity ramekins with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, to firm peaks. Add ⅓ of the egg whites to the cauliflower mixture, folding in to loosen the mixture slightly then add the rest of the egg whites, folding in gently.
Divide the mixture between prepared ramekins and place in a small roasting dish. Pour very hot water into dish, coming half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes until soufflés are risen and lightly golden. Do not panic if they are slightly one-sided or have exploded at the top – they will be fine.
Remove ramekins from the roasting dish and allow to cool for an hour – they will deflate and settle down. Once cool run a small knife carefully around the inside of the ramekins to release the soufflés slightly, and tip out onto into another roasting dish or individual oven-safe dishes and store in the fridge until ready to finish and serve. Soufflés can be prepared to this point the day before serving and stored, covered in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Put the soufflés in a baking dish and sprinkle with remaining Gruyere and pour over the remaining cream. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the soufflés are lightly puffed, golden and delicious, switch the heat source to grill for the last minute (watch them closely) to ensure a golden bubbling top. Serve with remaining cream drizzled around the base and with a small bitter green salad.