Tarragon Cheese Soufflé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Four to six


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • cup grated Swiss, Gruyere, or Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 6 eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Using the fingers, rub the inside of a - quart soufflé dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Make certain the butter covers all the bottom and sides. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmesan cheese into the dish. Shake the cheese around inside the dish until the bottom and sides are lightly coated. Place the dish briefly in the freezer or refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour, using a wire whisk. When the mixture is blended, add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute.

  4. In a small bowl, blend together the cornstarch and water and add to the sauce, stirring constantly. Continue cooking for about 1 minute. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the grated Swiss, Gruyere, or Cheddar cheese. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheeses are blended into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cayenne pepper and tarragon.

  5. Break the eggs, one at a time, letting the whites fall into a mixing bowl. Drop the yolks into another small mixing bowl.

  6. Using a rubber spatula, add the yolks to the sauce and beat rapidly with the whisk. Return the sauce to the heat and cook over very low heat, stirring. Let the sauce bubble, stirring constantly, for about 3 seconds, no longer.

  7. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the sauce to a round-bottomed mixing bowl. Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

  8. Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer until they are quite stiff and stand in peaks. (It is all right to add the beaten egg whites to the sauce while the sauce is warm BUT NOT HOT.) Scoop half the beaten egg whites into the sauce and whisk them well into the sauce, using a rubber spatula or a wire whisk.

  9. Scoop the remaining whites into the sauce. Using a cutting-in motion with a rubber spatula, cut down to the bottom, scoop around the bottom and bring the spatula up. Do this several times. Do not overfold or the soufflé will not puff properly. Leave some white specks showing.

  10. Using the spatula, pour the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish. Place the soufflé in the oven and immediately turn the oven heat to 375 degrees. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Some people like a soufflé with a moist interior and for this the soufflé should be baked for the shorter period of time. For a soufflé with a firmer interior, use the longer cooking time.