Christmas Memories that Last a Lifetime

What I loved most about Christmas (and still do) is the excitement of the season.  Excitement at that time of year is pretty well given, but it couldn’t exist without the anticipation.   The anticipation of things to come, the anticipation of creating memories, the anticipation of joy, reconciliation, and lightheartedness, and most of all the anticipation of the birth of the Christ Child.  All this was created, learned, and passed down from generation to generation as we prepare for this wonderful celebration with family and friends surrounding us.

One of those vivid memories of anticipation centers around an experience we shared at our grandparent’s home at the dining table and in particular it is a dish that was served at Christmas dinner.  When it was served it meant the long-awaited anticipation was culminating into a wondrous experience that was destined for all to enjoy (just like the birth of the Christ Child).  And so that dish became so engrained in my taste and food memories that I still attempt to make it at Christmas time so it may again be shared with family and friends.  This dish was not normally made at any other time of year so it was eagerly anticipated throughout the advent season and especially when we approached our Grandparent’s home for dinner and sharing.

I would like to share this dish (in the form of a recipe) with all our family & friends and hope that you may anticipate it as much as we do.  Happy Advent Season!  Our family dish is called:

Grandmother Robbie’s Christmas Cheese Soufflé

¼ cup butter

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup (1/4 pound) grated Gruyere or Sharp Cheddar cheese

4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Serves 6 – Melt butter in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and blend in flour and salt.  Stir and cook 1 minute.  Add back to medium heat and stir in milk.  Cook until sauce is of medium thickness, stirring constantly (about 1 minute then turn heat to low).  Stir in the cheese.  Beat egg yolks until they are thick and lemon colored.  Add a little of the cooking sauce to the egg yolks and then stir the yolks into the remaining cooking mixture.  Add Cayenne.  Beat egg whites separately until they are foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until the whites stand in soft, stiff peaks.  Gently fold into the cooked mixture.  Butter the bottom (not the sides) of a 1 ½ quart soufflé dish and pour in the mixture.  Place the dish in a pan of hot water.  Bake in a preheated slow oven (325 degrees) for 1 ¼ hours, or until soufflé is well puffed and browned.  Serve ASAP!!

God Rest All Ye Gentle People – J.P. Parsons

Sarah Stahlholiday recipe