Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin and White Chocolate Souffle

     The flavor combination of white chocolate and pumpkin is superb!  This is a very nice autumn and winter season souffle recipe.  Souffle for dessert is very easy to make and it is very stylish.  I posted a very nice bleu cheese souffle with an accompanying sauce in my blog a few months ago.  Today's dessert souffle needs no accompanying sauce.
     A variety of textures can be created by altering the basic souffle recipe.  Not all souffles are best when they are dense and moist.  Light airy souffles that are not overly moist are better for particular ingredient combinations.  Returning a portion of egg yolk to a souffle batter instead of making a straight roux souffle will produce a particular texture.  A souffle base that is bound with only egg yolk and no roux will produce yet another kind of texture.  I do tend to tailor the souffle base to best suit the ingredients of a souffle recipe.  Any experienced chef does the same thing.  Souffle should not be a "one size fits all" format recipe.
     If a tall souffle ramekin is used, then no parchment paper collar is needed, as long as the souffle ramekin is filled no more than 3/4 from the top.  Souffles that puff past the top of the mold or collar will flower.  Souffles that flower drew criticism in the old days, but flowered souffles are okay for some modern presentations.  I used to like a souffle that flowered more than a restrained collared souffle, but I got over my own personal preference.  Good chefs do not cook to personal taste!  Now I only occasionally allow a souffle to flower.
     Pumpkin and White Chocolate Souffle:
     Roast a six ounce piece of pumpkin in a 325 degree oven till it is cooked soft.
     Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool.
     Trim off all of the rind and caramelized flesh from the roasted pumpkin.
     Very finely chop the roasted pumpkin flesh.
     Place 1 cup of water in a small sauce pot.
     Add the chopped roasted pumpkin flesh.
     Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 small pinch each of:
     - allspice
     - cinnamon
     - sea salt
     - nutmeg
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of dark bead molasses.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 3 ounces of brandy.
     Simmer and reduce the mixture, till half of the liquid is evaporated.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the pumpkin puree becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Add 3/4 ounce of small pieces of white chocolate.
     Stir till the chocolate melts into the puree.
     Press the pumpkin puree through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot.
     Keep the puree warm over very low heat.
     Separate the yolks and whites of 2 eggs into separate small mixing bowls.
     Mix 2 ounces of cream with the two egg yolks.
     Add the egg yolk and cream mixture to the warm pumpkin and white chocolate puree in the sauce pot, while constantly stirring.
     As soon as the egg yolks start to bind and thicken the puree, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
     Set the mixing bowl aside, so the puree cools to room temperature.
     Whisk the two egg whites in the other mixing bowl, till medium soft meringue peaks are formed.
     Gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin and white chocolate mixture, one third at a time.
     Lightly brush a 10 ounce souffle ramekin with melted unsalted butter.
     Lightly dust the melted butter with flour.
     Shake off any excess flower.
     Pour the souffle mixture into the souffle rameken, till it is 3/4 full.  (Place any extra souffle mixture into a second smaller souffle mold!)
     Place the souffle ramekin on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
     Note:  DO NOT DISTURB THE SOUFFLE!  Do not open the oven door excessively, because a constant temperature is best for baking a souffle.
     When a light crust is formed on the puffed up souffle, remove it from the oven and place it on a plate that has powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on it.
     The center of this souffle should be moist.  The crust should have a soft cake like crust texture.  The flavor and texture of this souffle is exceptionally light and airy!  This souffle is light as a feather and it is not overly moist or wet.  The flavor of roasted pumpkin and white chocolate are a nice match.   Yum!  ...  Shawna

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