Macaroni with a Soufflé Top

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4–6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

By Annie Gray

Published 2019

  • About

Macaroni cheese was a much-loved British dish in the eighteenth century. It was also one that early settlers took with them to America, where it was enthusiastically adapted and became more American than British (and very different from the original). This version, with a soufflé top, comes from English Country House Cooking, recipes collected between the wars from cooks at country houses. It originated with Viscount Dalrymple, a Scottish peer who was a prisoner of war during the Great War, which forms the background to much of season 2 at Downton. He was later repatriated through Switzerland and, like many returning soldiers, brought back a recipe he’d acquired on his way home. Soufflés are phenomenally popular at Downton and appear regularly throughout all six seasons.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock or water
  • Salt
  • ½ lb (225 g) macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the dish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • cups (300 ml) milk, warmed
  • ½ teaspoon English mustard powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup (3 oz/90 g) grated Gruyère cheese

Method

Combine the stock and 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Throw in the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for just under the time recommended on the package. (The macaroni will cook further in the oven.) Scoop out and set aside 2 tablespoons of the stock, then drain the macaroni and return it to the pan. Add the 2 tablespoons stock and the oil, season with salt and pepper, toss to mix, and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 2-quart (2-l) baking dish, then coat the inside of the dish with Parmesan, turning and tipping the dish to cover it evenly.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard powder. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Parmesan and Gruyère cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt by hand or with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the now-cool cheese mixture. Gently add about half of the soufflé mixture to the macaroni and fold together until evenly mixed. Spoon the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the remaining soufflé mixture on top, making sure it is no higher than 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so below the rim.

Bake until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

MRS. PATMORE: It can’t be going out!

DAISY: Well, it is. There must be a block in the flue.

MRS. PATMORE: But the dinner’s not cooked. We haven’t even put in the soufflés.

DAISY: There’ll be no soufflés tonight.

~ SEASON 3, EPISODE 2

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