Cheese for dessert is very European and a nice change from an overly sweet indulgence. This savory dessert puffs up so high itâ€™s gorgeous; make sure folks are around when you take it out of the oven. An after-dinner experience.
Preheat the oven to 350Â°F. Prepare four 8-ounce ramekins by greasing them with softened butter and then coating them with sugar, tapping out any excess.
Make a thick bĂ©chamel sauce base by melting the 3 tablespoons of butter over low-medium heat in a thick-bottomed pot. Just as the foam subsides, add the flour, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to coat the flour with fat and remove the starchy taste; do not allow the roux to brown. Add the warm milk to the mixture and continue to whisk until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cheese until incorporated evenly. Chill the mixture while whipping the egg whites.
In a separate clean bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar just until soft peaks form. Fold one third of the beaten whites into the bĂ©chamel mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and place on a cookie sheet. Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes.
The soufflĂ© is done when it has puffed over the rim, the outside is golden, and the center jiggles slightly.
While the soufflĂ©s are baking, make the compote. Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, and chamomile in a pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and add the dried figs; bring back to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Crack open the top of the soufflĂ©s and pour the compote inside, and serve immediately.
Edited: October 12th, 2009