A note about using muffin liners: I have made these souffles without, but it takes some delicate maneuvering to remove the cooked souffles from the pan. If you can get mini muffin liners, it will save you a bit of work (and patience), though they will taste delicious either way. Of course, you may also cook this as one large souffle, in a 6-cup souffle dish.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen souffle bites
1/2 cup roasted red pepper puree (about 1 large red bell pepper)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
5 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.
Cut the red pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds. Place the pepper cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes until slightly blackened. Remove from oven and run under cold water, then peel off skin with your hands or a knife. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and stir in cornmeal. Gradually add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Whisk in egg yolks and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in red pepper, cayenne, cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff. Fold egg whites into egg yolk and pepper mixture, half at a time, until no traces of white remain.
Using a teaspoon, fill the mini muffin tin with souffle mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully use a knife to remove each souffle and serve.