It feels like fall in earnest now. The crisp cool air. The wooly sweaters. The leaves changing colors on the branches. It’s like the J. Crew catalog! But to anyone who will listen, this is also a season that calls out a challenge. It says: PUT PUMPKIN IN EVERYTHING! Well, Fall, I’m calling your bluff.
Pumpkin and nutmeg are wonderful in many things and they play a huge part in my olfactory memories of fall. I love pumpkin pie, and pumpkin soup, and pumpkin scones, and pumpkin lattes. But in a soufflÃ©? I wasn’t so certain.
I was also a bit worried about making a soufflÃ© because the last time I tried, I failed to beat the egg whites to the proper level of stiffness and everything collapsed horribly. This time my luck and/or wrist strength was a bit better (although I’m no Julia Child) and the soufflÃ© stood up on technical merits.
But back to the Fall Challenge. Does pumpkin belong in everything? I would argue that it doesn’t belong in this soufflÃ©. It doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be sweet or savoury and it doesn’t really walk the line all that well. I’m sure there will be a mob at my door for saying that pumpkin and frothy egg foam aren’t a match made in heaven, but it just didn’t work for me. So, 10 points for trying, but I think I’ll get my foamy pumpkin flavor in the form of an overpriced latte.
1 cup canned or thick mashed cooked fresh pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine pumpkin with nutmeg, lemon and sugar; mix well.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Add salt; fold into pumpkin mixture. Fill greased 1-quart baking dish or individual molds two-thirds full; set in pan of hot water. Bake in preheated 350°F oven about 40 minutes for large mold, 25 to 30 minutes for individual molds. Yield 4 – 6 servings.
The recipe featured in this post is from The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking, published in 1982.