Sunday, March 31, 2019

Pumpkin Soufflé or Winter Squash Soufflé

Slice of pumpkin souffle with orange slice
Brilliant Use of Leftover Pumpkin

Recipe from The Classic Zucchini Cookbook

For the past year I’ve been obsessed with soufflés. After the classic cheese soufflé, the golden delicious apple soufflé, and my recently posted acorn squash soufflé, I have one more recipe to explore, this time with leftover Winter Luxury pumpkin from Argentine beef stew in a pumpkin, pureed and frozen.  Any kind of cooked, pureed winter squash, or even canned pumpkin, will suit the recipe. It’s that late winter/early spring time of year, when I’m using up the rest of the winter squashes from last year’s farmers’ markets. Alas, I’m recycling the same old soup and baked squash recipes. This recipe can the antidote to baked squash ennui.

As written the recipe has just a hint of sweetness and a whisper of pepper, delicious for brunch or a light supper. According to the authors, the dish can be crafted into a dessert by increasing the brown sugar to 1 cup and eliminating the pepper. Note that different varieties of squash have different levels of sweetness. For example, butternut squash will taste much sweeter and less earthy than pumpkin. So adjust the sugar level to suit your culinary purposes, your squash, and your taste buds.

slice of pumpkin souffle on plate with orange slice
Cheery Dish for Early Spring Brunch
Because this recipe requires no roux, it’s simpler to make than my other soufflé recipes. However, the lack of cornstarch or flour means that the eggs must supply all the thickening power. Thus, it’s rather a loose style of soufflé, easier to serve by scooping than cutting into the usual wedges. It’s also more difficult to reheat than other soufflés The microwave produces hot and cold spots, and steaming can make it watery. Returning the covered casserole dish to a 300 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or so might work, if you’re good at planning ahead. My best leftover idea is to serve it chilled with a splash or two of maple syrup for protein- and Vitamin A-rich treat.

To simplify the prep, be sure to have 2 mixing bowls and 2 sets of beaters (or 2 mixers) handy. Beating the egg yolk-pumpkin mixture requires quite a bit of muscle. Meanwhile, the egg whites must be beaten stiff, without the slightest hint of added fat or egg yolk. I use my stand mixer for the whites and a cheap handheld mixer for the yolks and pumpkin. Much quicker and easier than taking time out to wash and dry the beaters.

Enjoy this simple soufflé as winter turns to spring.

Slice of Pumpkin souffle topped with maple syrup
Leftover Idea: Splash with Maple Syrup
Pumpkin or Winter Squash Soufflé
Serves 6

5 eggs, separated
3 tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter
4 cups pureed pumpkin or winter squash
1 tbsp. orange or lemon zest
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/16 tsp. black pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (375?). Butter and flour a 6-cup soufflé dish. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat egg yolks till light and fluffy. Beat in brown sugar until well blended. Beat in melted butter. At lower speed, mix in pumpkin, orange or lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, and pepper until well blended.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

Add a large spoonful of egg whites to the pumpkin mixture and fold in gently to lighten the pumpkin. Add the remainder of the egg whites to the pumpkin mixture. Fold in gently.

Transfer mixture to prepared soufflé dish.

Bake 40 – 50 minutes, until top is golden brown. Test with a cake skewer and remove when it comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

This is difficult to reheat; the microwave heats it unevenly, and it’s too soft to steam. However, leftovers can be served chilled, with a splash or two of maple syrup, as a light and healthy dessert or midnight snack.

egg whites being folded into pumpkin mixture
The Most Difficult Step: Keeping it Light when Folding in Egg Whites
Bowl of Pumpkin Souffle with orange wedge
Served Hot Souffle is Loose and Casual  

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