The Special Dish Jacques Pépin Uses For The Cheesiest Soufflé

Jacques Pépin is a master of French cooking. The chef and good pal of the late great Julia Child has been helping Americans master French cuisine and become better cooks for generations through television shows like "PBS' Everyday Cooking" and cookbooks such as the groundbreaking "La Technique."

One of the great things about Pépin is that he is the antithesis of the snooty French chef stereotype: He seems to genuinely want to help people learn to cook, and he doesn't gatekeep chef secrets and industry tricks. Over the years, he has dropped tips for how to thicken soup without using flour and how one simple cut can minimize the cooking time for chicken.

When it comes to tackling a soufflé, one of the more intimidating French dishes, Pépin has a few tricks up his sleeve as well. He's got a tip on the egg temperature to use for making the perfect soufflé, and he also advises cooks to steer clear of the traditional soufflé dish in favor of something that helps the dish get the cheesiest crust possible.

Pépin recommends using a gratin dish

Instead of using a traditional round, tall-sided soufflé dish Pépin advises cooks to use a more shallow, wider gratin dish. A medium-sized casserole dish could also work, and in all likelihood, you already have something along those lines in your own kitchen.

By using a wider, shallower dish like Pépin advises, you expand the surface area in which the soufflé comes into contact with the heat of the more. More surface area getting heated increases the opportunity for a deliciously crunchy, cheesy crust all around.

Pépin doesn't just stop there in the quest for the cheesiest soufflé possible. His very traditional, very French recipe for a Gruyère cheese soufflé takes a distinctly home-cooked turn with the addition of American cheese. Pépin tears the squares of cheese into strips and then lays them in a lattice pattern atop the soufflé for a whole extra dimension of cheesiness.

When a master of French cooking like Pépin is telling you that it's ok to tweak those fussy French rules when it comes to something as traditional as a soufflé, you listen. The results are a fun, comforting twist on cheese soufflé that amps up the crispiness and doesn't require you to go out and buy a whole new dish.