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If you are looking for an elegant dessert or entree for that special occasion, you certainly cannot beat a souffle. This delightful egg dish is light and fluffy, providing the perfect base for your favorite fruits or vegetables.

To make a basic cheese souffle, you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, mix up a white sauce made of 1 cup of milk, 1\4 cup of flour, and 1\4 cup of butter. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat and cook until frothy but not brown. Heat the 1 cup of milk and add to the butter mixture, stirring briskly with a wire whip until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste and bring the mixture to a boil. Then allow to cook until barely thickened and set aside to cool slightly. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time and add 1 1\2 cups of grated cheddar or Swiss cheese. Stir slowly and set aside. Beat 4 egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the sauce. Pour the mixture into a buttered souffle dish or deep baking dish and place in the oven to bake for between 35 to 40 minutes or until golden but slightly creamy in the center.

When baking your souffle in a baking dish, you can extend the sides if they are not tall enough by using a 4-inch strip of buttered aluminum foil to wrap the outside of the dish. Tie the foil in place with a string. For a different type of souffle, you can add meats that are minced, well drained flakes of tuna, salmon, clams, ham, or poultry. Simply replace the 1 1\2 cups of cheese with the meat of your choice.

To make a dessert souffle such as coffee or chocolate, you should preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then mix 1\2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a sauce pan and gradually add 1 cup of milk as you heat. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it has boiled for one minute. Take the sauce pan from the heat and beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Then add 2 tablespoons of vanilla and lay a piece of wax paper flat on the surface of the mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature. While it cools, beat 4 egg whites with 1\4 teaspoon cream of tartar until they are stiff. Do not over beat the egg whites until they are dry since this can cause the souffle to be dry. Add 1\4 cup of the sauce to the egg whites and then gently stir in the remainder of the sauce. Spoon this mixture into a 1 1\2 quart souffle dish and bake uncovered for approximately 45 minutes or until brown and puffy. This should be served at once with a sweetened whipped cream or custard sauce. If you want the dessert souffle to have a coffee flavor, simply substitute 1 cup of strong, cold black coffee for the milk in this recipe. For a chocolate souffle, you will need to use an additional 3\4 cup of sugar to the recipe above. Then before you add the egg yolks, stir in 2 ounces of grated unsweetened chocolate and reduce the vanilla to 1 teaspoon.