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Daring Cooks - Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Rise and shine!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

Soufflé - one of my many culinary nightmares.

The basic formula for souffles is pretty simple: roux + egg yolk + cheese + filling + egg white. The exact formula? Not so simple. I tend to scale down recipes especially for desserts since I only cook for two. Most of the time it works but it never worked for me for soufflé recipes. I gave up after a few tries and never dreamed of making soufflé since. That was I think 3 years ago, before I started blogging. I don't cook soufflés but I ate a lot over the past few years. One of the most memorable soufflé was Le Gavroche's "Cheese Soufflé Cooked on Double Cream" a.k.a soufflé à la Suissess. I wanted to re-create that dish for Daring Cooks...until I saw the recipe:
  • 140g butter
  • 65g flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 litre double cream
  • 200g grated Gruyere or Emmental cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
Taken from Cooks for Cooks
Oh my...I actually drank that much double cream...some things are better left unknown I guess. The wild boar straight-away gave a NO after I told him about the 1 litre double cream.

I chose this recipe mainly because it is based on the technique used for soufflé à la Suissesse.

Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé

Unlike other soufflés, where you have to make it at the very last minute and serve it as soon as it comes out of the oven, this soufflé is "twice-baked". You bake it in advance, unmold from its ramekin and rebake later when you are ready to serve it. It is known as a pudding-soufflé as it combines the best of its parents, coming out both velvety smooth, yet light and airy. It's supposed to have a "crunchy breadcrumb-lined exterior", but not mine. I think it's because I didn't use finely ground breadcrumbs. The panko was quite coarse and didn't coat the ramekins nicely. The "first baked" soufflés didn't dislodge cleanly from the ramekins.

butternut squash souffle 2

I left the rest intact and baked them in their ramekins the second round. Overall, I was quite happy with the end result. It was smooth, creamy yet very light. Very tasty too.

P.S. There's a secret ingredient in this - chorizo oil. You will know why I added this in another post =P
  • 1 small butternut squash or 1 cup puree
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic - peeled
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko) - finely ground
  • 3 tbs cake flour (I used plain flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs chorizo oil
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese (I used parmesan) - grated
  • Yolks from 3 eggs - lightly beaten
  • Whites from 5 eggs
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Cut off stem of squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds from cavity of squash. Rub all surfaces with olive oil and season with salt. Place a clove of garlic in the cavity of each half and lay the halves, cut side down, on top of a bed of thyme on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast squash for 45 minutes until tender. Allow squash to cool, then scoop flesh out from skin, discard the skin and thyme, and purée the flesh and the garlic in a food processor. Measure out 1 cup of the purée, reserving the rest for another use, such as a soup.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 5
  • Butter six 8-ounce ramekins thoroughly. Holding ramekins one at a time over a bowl, pour some breadcrumbs into the ramekin, turn it, allowing excess crumbs to fall into bowl. Set aside buttered and crumbed ramekins and reserve the excess crumbs for later use.
  • Make a very thick béchamel sauce, which will serve as the base for the soufflés. Over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and stir with a whisk. This is what is known as a roux. Continue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes, without allowing the roux to brown. I did not realise a white roux was needed until I'm writing this out NOW. Whenever I make a roux, Alton brown's "degree of roux-dom" comes into mind: the darker the roux, the more flavour, but also less thickening power. So, I tend to go for a brown roux - somewhere in between a white and black roux.
  • Slowly pour in the milk or half-and-half, a little at a time, continuing to stir constantly. Lower the heat to low, add 3 sprigs of thyme, season with ½ teaspoon of sea salt, cayenne, nutmeg and a few grindings of pepper. Allow the béchamel to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent lumps, sticking and burning.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 6
  • When the béchamel is ready (above photo), turn off the heat, remove the thyme sprigs, and add the cheese. Stir until melted and incorporated. Transfer this soufflé base to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the squash purée and chorizo oil until well combined (see photo). Taste to make sure your base is well-seasoned. It is crucial to have a flavorful base. Add the egg yolks and mix again.
butternut squash souffle
  • Have ready a 9 by 12 inch baking dish with 2-inch sides. This will be the bain marie (so many great culinary terms today!) which will hold the ramekins during baking. Also, bring a tea kettle of water to a boil to fill your bain marie. From this point on, you have to work quickly.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 4
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the beaten egg whites into the batter in the bowl to lighten and aerate it. Then gently fold the other half of the whites into the mixture. Fill the ramekins to the top with the soufflé mixture. Here's a tip: I usually transfer the mixture into a pitcher to help facilitate the filling process. Sprinkle the tops of the soufflés lightly with some of the reserved breadcrumbs (you may not use them all) totally forgot this, the only thing in my mind was "work quickly".
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 3
  • Place the filled ramekins into the bain marie. Place in the middle rack of the oven, then pour the hot water into the pan around the ramekins to come up about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 2
  • Remove from the oven and let rest in the water for 15 minutes. The soufflés will deflate slightly, but will puff up again during the second baking.
  • Run a thin knife around the edges of the ramekin to loosen the soufflés. Then, using a towel to hold the hot ramekins, gently turn over and remove each soufflé. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. I did this for three and gave up as they didn't some out cleanly. I left the rest in the ramekins. They can sit at room temperature for several hours (or refrigerated overnight, and brought back to room temperature before proceeding).
  • When ready to serve, put the baking sheet with the soufflés in a 400˚F (200˚C) oven and bake a second time until puffed up and deep golden brown, about 8 minutes.

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