Cream cheese gives these individual broccoli custards a refined flavor and extraordinary smoothness.
1 medium bunch broccoli
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1/2 cup medium or whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
6 lemon wedges for garnish
1. Separate the broccoli into flowerets cutting large flowerets in half to promote even cooking. Reserve the stalks for another use. Boil or steam the flowerets until crisp-tender. Transfer to a colander set under cold running water. Drain well and scatter over absorbent paper. Blot dry. Chop the broccoli coarsely and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter 6 timbale molds or individual soufflé dishes. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, and cream. Stir in teh salt, cayenne, and Gruyère cheese.
3. Thransfer the broccoli to a large skillet. Place over medium heat and stir gently to evaporate all traces of water. When the broccoli begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, remove lt from the heat. Immediately add the butter and toss, allowing the melted butter to coat the broccoli.
4. Combine the broccoli with the cream cheese mixture and ladle into the prepared molds. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Add hot water to the depth of 1 inch. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the blade of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the timbales from the hot water and allow them to stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each timbale and unmold onto a serving plate. Garnish with lemon wedges.
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