Yes I spell beigel like that because my family roots are in Europe not America, because as a teenager my Saturday job was at a small north east London/ south west Essex family-run Jew-ish deli called The Beigel Bakery, and because beigels and bagels are definitely different. I’ll get in to that properly some other time. I’ve already said enough about something that is 100% not involved in this light and fluffy tasty brunch.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese is such an evocative combo for me. My favourite beigel filling and ultimate comfort food. A special treat from childhood, when it was reserved for special family lunches or bought hot and fresh on the way home from one of the many late night bakeries around the Far East of the Central Line. Delicious on toast and easily fancied-up with a squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly cracked black pepper.
This is a lighter, non-bready stodge free way to enjoy one of the best brunch combos of all time.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese soufflés with dill and chives
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
25g plain flour
40grams unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
85g cream cheese
100g chopped smoked salmon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
A few sprigs of chopped dill
2 chopped (bits of? Blades of?) chives
1 – Melt the butter gently in a pan and add the milk and sift in the flour. Stir as the butter melts and the ingredients combine. After about 4-5mins the sauce will thicken until you can just about trace a line with a spoon.
2 – Heat the oven to 180degrees c. Grease and line some ramekins – a note on this – I used 4 of my white dishes (the ones I keep photographing) which were definitely a bit big. Better to share less mixture between 6 dishes.
3 – Once the sauce has thickened, gradually add the cream cheese, and most of the herbs and beat to combine. Kill the heat. Reserve some sprigs to garnish at the end.
4 – Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl. I cannot tell you how life-changing it was when my mum told me to use a big bowl to get more air in to stiffen up egg whites quickly if whisking by hand. (This was about 2 months ago, for the record. Heh.)
5 – Stir the egg yolks and salmon in to the cheese sauce mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then carefully and gradually fold in the stiffened egg whites. Be careful not to mix the whites in and to just gently fold it all together.
6 – Share the mixture between the lined ramekins, and arrange them in a deep oven-proof pan half filled with cold water. Carefully put in the oven for about 15-20minutes, until the soufflés rise and the tops are golden brown.
7 – Remove the ramekins from the water dish and allow sit on a rack until they’re cool enough to handle. Carefully lift the soufflés out of their ramekins and on to a lined flat baking tray. Be brave. They will wobble and feel loose and fluffy but they will hold their shape. If they seem a little tricky to remove, loosen the edges with a knife to pull the soufflé away from the ramekin.
8 – Bake on the flat sheet for a further 10-15 minutes, until puffy. Serve with fresh sprigs of dill and chives on top.
Now, a note. Do as I say, not as I do. I turned mine upside down on the baking tray as thought it would help them keep their shape better. They mostly did, but would have been better left right-side-up.
Serve with a little simply dressed salad. We had rocket, tomatoes and red onions with lemon juice and olive oil, and a dollop of creme fraiche on top of the soufflés.