Halloween Souffles

October 31, 2012

Halloween Souffles

Page 64, Ottolenghi

Total foodie confession – I have never made a souffle. I have, in fact, been terrified to make a souffle, believing it to be a difficult process wrought with certain failure.  Ottolenghi exhorted me to “try something scary today” for Halloween, and make his Halloween Souffles.  Well, why not.  Samhain seems a perfect time to try something like a squash souffle, given the fact that it’s one of the four main festivals of the Gaelic calendar, marking the last harvest and beginning of winter. Squash harvest has been keeping us in the Plenty this year! So, another of the hubbard squash that A and A grew for me was pressed into use.

The squash was roasted and pureed and replaced the pumpkin in Ottolenghi’s version. It is, so far in our relationship of 9+ years, B’s favorite squash dish I have made. Because here is the sad truth, friends, B does not like squash. It has made for a few sticky moments in our life together as I *adore* squash and would practically live on it in the fall, if given my druthers. I have found some ways to slide squash into our lives with recipes for things like squash cupcakes and squash risotto that she willingly tolerates, but I have hit the squash jackpot with this one! And? It wasn’t even scary or hard to make – despite all of my souffle fears.

So, if you have been avoiding souffles too, this is definitely worth a try. My success with this version has definitely made me more willing to try other souffles. It really seems to be all about the egg whites – whip them until stiff and fold them in carefully to keep the volume.

 

Halloween Souffles
Serves 6 in ramekins or 4 in soup bowls

one 3/4 pound pumpkin ( I used hubbard squash)(skin on)
olive oil
3/4 teaspoon soft brown sugar
salt
1/4 cup whole hazelnuts ( I used almonds) (skin on)
4 tablespoon unsalted butter; 2 tablespoons, melted
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sweet rice flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
5 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup green chile, chopped and drained well
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 1/2 ounces hard goat cheese (I used goat cheddar), finely grated
sour cream and chives, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the pumpkin into eighths. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Place the pumpkin pieces skin-side down in a shallow roasting tin or baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Leave to cool for a while, then scoop out the flesh and blitz it to a puree. You need exactly 4 1/4 ounces for the souffles.
2. Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F and place a baking sheet on the top shelf. Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until powdery. Brush the ramekins generously with the melted butter, then coat the bottoms and sides with the hazelnuts. Place the coated ramekins in the fridge.
3. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce is thick and starts to bubble. In a large bowl mix together the 4 1/4 ounces pumpkin, egg yolks, green chile, oregano, goat cheese and 3/4 teaspoons salt. Add the sauce and stir until smooth.
4. Place the egg whites in a large, clean, stainless steel or glass bowl and whisk until they are stiff but not dry. Add a little of the egg whites to the pumpkin base and stir to loosen, then fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care to retain as much air as possible.
5. Fill the ramekins or bowls up to 3/8 inch from the top. Place the souffles in the oven, on the heated baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown and risen well.

 

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