Goat Cheese and Walnut Souffle

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
4 large eggs — separated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk — heated
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh goat cheese — crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Generously butter a 6-cup souffle dish. Sprinkle the dish with 1 tablespoon of the walnuts.

Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl. Place the egg whites in another bowl.

In a small saucepan, melt the 2 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and well blended. Remove from the heat. Gradually stir in the hot milk, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until thickened.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks until blended. Don’t add it all at once, or the yolks may scramble. Stir in the cheese.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to high, and beat until the whites hold soft peaks, about 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold one quarter of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites. Fold in the walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish.

Place the dish on a rack in the insert of a large slow cooker. Carefully pour water around the dish to a depth of 1 inch. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, or until the souffle has risen and is set in the center.

Carefully remove the souffle dish from the cooker. Serve immediately, scooping the souffle from the dish.

Serve 6

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