Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Souffles...Scary Stuff

I am excited to finally be posting about my second ever attempt at making souffles. It has taken me a bit longer to get this post up than I had anticipated. My first try at making these left much to be desired. I usually allow myself to settle for outcomes much less marvelous than what I imagine, but I was convinced that I could not make a souffle that had risen about a foot above the rim of the ramekin, and then fallen, creating a massive crater, look even slightly pretty.  I'll admit while my second attempt was not perfect, I was satisfied, considering what I had seen just before. Souffles really can be rather scary to make!

Back in July, in one of the very first posts on this blog, I featured my gluten free variation of a recipe for lemon and goat cheese ravioli, that I had come across in the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Ever since I bought Plenty I decided to slowly work my way through it- and I have loved every recipe I have tried thus far.

When I saw Ottolenghi's Halloween Souffle, I immediately knew I wanted to make it, but naturally I thought it would be best to wait until Halloween time. I certainly didn't want to jump the gun. It has been somewhat shocking to me how quickly time has flown by. Nearly November already, honestly?

The souffle marries a superb variety of flavors. The pumpkin and goat cheese are mild enough to let all the other ingredients shine through. In my own variation I added chopped green chile and oregano. Oregano, because I am particular about what marjoram tastes good in, as it is rather perfumey. Green chile, because I slip chile into pretty much every recipe I possibly can- and also pumpkin pairs particularly well with it :)

If you would like, drizzle a little "black olive oil" on top of the souffles for an extra Halloween-y effect. I was inspired to use it as garnish after seeing it in an inspirational quarterly magazine I enjoy, Sweet Paul.

Check back very soon! I have a couple more Halloween related goodies that I will be featuring. I am trying to squeeze in as much cooking and baking time as I possibly can. Perhaps too much... but I would never say that :)

Halloween Souffles
Serves 6 in ramekins or 4 in soup bowls

one 3/4 pound pumpkin (skin on)
olive oil
3/4 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1/4 cup whole hazelnuts (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 goat cheese or farmer's cheese, grated
black olive oil, 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. If you would like, blitz black olives and olive oil together in the food processor, to serve on top of the souffles.

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty

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