From a Southerner's perspective, pimentos and cheese go together like chocolate and peanut butter. This soufflé is a little savory, a little sweet, and a little spicy. It's perfect paired with a green salad and a mimosa for Sunday brunch. —Mary Catherine Tee
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Mary Tee Malmberg is a Southerner living in Maine and blogging at Sense of Taste.
WHAT: Pimento cheese that fancies itself French.
HOW: Make a classic soufflé, but flavor it with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne. Fold the airy batter with grated white cheddar and diced pimentos, bake, then get it to the table before it deflates.
WHY WE LOVE IT: There’s nothing that says “down home” like pimento cheese dip and nothing that says “fussy and impressive” like soufflé. When you combine the two, you get something that says “I’m fun AND I stay calm under pressure.” And don't we all want to say that? —The Editors
two 5-inch or one 8-inch soufflé(s)
butter (with 1 reserved for buttering ramekins)
Grease two 5-inch ramekins or one 8-inch soufflé dish with butter.
Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the butter and roll the dish around until the sides and bottoms are covered. Freeze the ramekins until you're ready to fill them.
Heat milk on the stovetop over medium-low heat. It needs to be hot when you add it to the butter-flour mixture.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter begins to bubble, add flour gradually, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in the hot milk, and whisk until everything is incorporated. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes or so. Once the mixture begins to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and slowly pour them into the sauce, whisking constantly. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until they begin to foam. Add cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Whisk until egg whites are firm and glossy (soft peaks).
Stir in 1/4 of the egg whites in the egg yolk mixture to lighten up the sauce a bit. Otherwise, it will be a little too heavy to work with.
Once lightened up, pour the contents of the saucepan into the mixing bowl with the remainder of the egg whites. Then, add the cheddar cheese and drained pimentos to the mixture. Gently fold contents of the bowl until ingredients are well incorporated.
Take the ramekins out of the freezer and pour the mixture evenly into the dishes.
Fold a piece of aluminum foil in half and wrap around the dish(es) to make a "wall" that rises higher than the soufflé dish. This will prevent the soufflé from bubbling over and will encourage it to rise. Secure the foil with a paper clip or pin -- whatever you have handy.
For smaller dishes, bake for 25 minutes. For a larger dish, bake for 35, or until the top is golden. Serve immediately.
I’m an old soul. My favorite Saturday morning activity is watching birds on the feeder while drinking strong, black coffee out of my favorite hand-thrown mug. My favorite place to kill time is in antique stores. The less organized the better. I like full-bodied red wines and bitter IPAs. I live for feeling the warmth of sunshine and hearing the stillness of freshly fallen snow. I can thank my stint in Alaska for that. I have salt water in my veins, having grown up in Eastern NC, and (shhh…don’t tell any of my Mainer friends this about me) I prefer blue crab over lobster.