Updated Tuesday, August 14th, 2007
Total Time: 20
Yield: 3 servings
Preheat oven to 400° and set a rack to the middle position. Butter a straight-sided souffle dish well, and shake the grated cheese around it to coat.
In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, melt 21/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, then stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and gradually drizzle in milk, whisking continuously. Stir in salt, mustard, and cayenne, then add cheese and mix well. You'll have a thick sauce. Transfer to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes. Stir yolks one by one into sauce and set aside.
In a large, very clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until they form medium peaks. Stir a generous dollop of beaten whites into sauce to lighten it, then very quickly and lightly fold in the rest of the whites. Spoon mixture into the prepared dish and place on the rack in the center of the oven. Immediately reduce heat to 375°. In 25 to 30 minutes, the souffle should be well puffed but still creamy in the center. Let it cook 5 minutes longer and take it to the table, where you've already assembled the other elements of the meal and the guests.
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