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Lavender-Scented Goat Cheese Soufflé
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups milk
4 large eggs, separated
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh lavender petals, or 1 teaspoon dried lavender
10 ounces soft goat cheese
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375°F and spray eight 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ramekins with olive oil spray or grease lightly with butter.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Stir in milk, raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring, another 3 minutes or so, until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, thyme, lavender, 6 ounces of the cheese, and salt. Whisk mixture until cheese is melted. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Using an electric beater, beat whites with a pinch salt until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites and remaining cheese into yolk mixture until combined.
Arrange the ramekins in a large baking pan and divide the mixture evenly among them. Carefully pour hot water into pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake soufflés in preheated oven until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve soufflés immediately, or remove from ramekins by running a knife around the edge and inverting the ramekins, let cool at room temperature then refrigerate up to 48 hours. Before serving, reheat soufflés on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a preheated 425°F oven for about five minutes.
© Sally Bernstein, 2005