2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, for greasing soufflé cups*
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold
2 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, about 1 ½ lb total, trimmed and chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 Tbsp flour
2 ½ cups half-and-half, warmed
6 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position an oven rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside surfaces of 8 (6 ounce) soufflé cups*. Sprinkle with some of the grated cheese. Set aside.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and thyme and cook until the leeks are tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and let cool.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the 5 Tbsp butter. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute until combined. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, whisking , until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the remaining 1 ½ cups cheese and the leeks. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the leek mixture. Quickly fold in the remaining whites until no white streaks remain. Pour into the prepared dishes. Bake until the soufflés are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
*Available at Zest!