Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Souffle

Pumpkin pumpkin everywhere!  It's funny that Halloween doesn't generate the gold rush of pumpkin recipes that Thanksgiving does, though it makes sense that carving one pumpkin is enough work with everyone's real focus being on their costume.  This year eight of us went as Freudian Slips -- boys and girls alike in women's slips (hilarious fun shopping for those), with tweed jackets, men's shoes and socks, and little stickers all over saying things like Ego, Id, Ask my Analyst.  Holding cigars because sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
I digress.  The matter at hand is the small Thanksgiving dinner.  Next week we're going to brother Brendan's in Connecticut where there will be a full house with my four nieces and nephews, plus my sister-in-law Karen's family.  Fun.  But there have been other years when it's just been four people at our house, even once just the two of us.  Watching Macy's parade followed by turkey for two is just fine.  And you can prepare things that would just be unmanageable for a larger group.  Like this pumpkin souffle, which has to go from oven to table immediately. 


5 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites (so yes one wasted yolk)
Butter or Pam cooking spray
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
4 T. butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin, canned is fine
4 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 t. each of cumin, ground coriander, white pepper, cayenne
1/2 t. salt
2 T. pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a two quart souffle dish and then sprinkle the parmesan all around the bottom and sides. 

Make the pumpkin and cheese sauce:  Melt 4 T. butter in a saute pan and when hot whisk in flour and cook over medium-low heat for one minute after it begins to bubble, whisking all the while. Whisk in the warmed milk gradually.  Simmer for three minutes, stirring all the while with a wooden spoon. Sauce will reduce and thicken.  Stir in the grated cheese, the pumpkin, the spices and the salt. Cook briefly until cheese is melted and everything is smooth and incorporated.  Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, whisk yolks well then whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot pumpkin cheese sauce.  Then whisk that mixture back into the sauce in the saute pan, whisking rapidly to prevent curdling.  Now pour all of this back into the mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites until nice and stiff.  Fold a third of it into the sauce in the mixing bowl, incorporate well, and then gently fold in the remainder, taking care to not to stir it too much or else the whites will loose volume. 

Spoon this into the prepared souffle dish.  Run a spoon or a spatula through the mixture in circle about 1" from the rim -- this will make the middle part rise higher than the edges, adding to the visual impact of the all-important rising.  Sprinkle the peptitas over the top, they will float on the surface.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, the souffle will be puffed up and golden brown. Take to the table immediately, you want to enjoy it while it's still inflated and nice and hot. 

I've also got a pumpkin popover recipe in the pipeline. Stay tuned.

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