Roquefort PDO and Walnut Soufflé with Spiced Pear Chutney

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

200g Roquefort PDO

50g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)

50g flour

300ml milk

3 egg yolks

4 egg whites

½ bunch chives, chopped

¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder

100g finely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Spiced pear chutney

1kg pears, peeled, and diced into 1cm cubes

1 red onion, finely diced

30g butter

1 stick cinnamon

1 star anise

1 bay leaf

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

80g brown sugar

½ glass red wine

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Method

Make the chutney first as this can be done days in advance.

Place the onion in a saucepan with the butter. Cook on a slow heat until the onion has started to soften and go translucent. Add the pear and cook for another 5-6 minutes before adding in the wine, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise, orange zest and juice.

Allow to cook on a low heat for a further 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has thickened and the pears are soft. Taste at this stage to check the sweetness and balance is correct.

Allow to chill before serving with the soufflé.

To make the soufflé

Preheat the oven to 190°C and insert a flat tray to heat up for the soufflés to be cooked on.

Melt 50g of butter in a saucepan. When completely melted, add the flour and stir in well. Keep stirring the roux until it comes away from the sides of the pan.  Then add in the milk a little at a time, whisking to remove any lumps. Allow the mixture to come to the boil before you add any more as this prevents lumps.

Once all the milk has been added, add in the crumbled Roquefort and allow to melt off the heat.

Melt the remaining butter and brush the insides of the ramekin moulds in an upward motion.  This helps the soufflés rise evenly.  Once buttered, leave the moulds to set in the fridge.  Once the butter is set, repeat this process again but this time dust the moulds with the finely chopped blitzed walnuts.

Separate the eggs and mix the yolks into the cooled roux one at a time.  Fold in the cayenne, seasoning, any remaining walnuts and the chives.

Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks and gently fold into the roux a bit at a time using a metal spoon. When all is combined, spoon the mix into the ramekins to the top.  Run your thumb around the rim (this will ensure it rises evenly also).

Now place the soufflés on the hot tray and place into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and perfectly risen.

Serve the soufflés in the ramekins as soon as they are cooked. When breaking into the middle of the soufflé, spoon in a tablespoon of the chutney.

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