I love soufflés: they are gorgeous- almost magical- and I’ve always wanted to make them at home.
Recently, while flipping through The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle, I noticed that author Kate Zuckerman has some fabulous soufflés in the book, and that there was a pumpkin version among them. I’d been looking for a sophisticated, yet fairly light dessert for Thanksgiving, and knew these would be perfect. Plus I’ve got so many eggs from my chickens these days, I figured this would be a great way to use them.
These pumpkin soufflés are easy to keep gluten-free since there’s only a small amount of flour (which I replaced with almond flour), and if you’re looking to add a little decadence to these airy delights, I made a maple pumpkin ice cream to keep them company. There’s a little bourbon in both the soufflés and the ice cream- it’s totally optional, but adds some festive “spirit”…
I won’t lie and tell you this particular soufflé recipe is super easy to make. It’s a bit labor-intensive because you need to make a pumpkin custard which is then added to an Italian meringue. An Italian meringue creates a very stable whipped egg white product, one that allows you to fill your ramekins ahead of time and bake the soufflés just before serving. Covered, the filled ramekins can stand in the refrigerator for 4 hours or in the freezer for up to 24 hours before baking. So it’s a bit of work, yes, but you can make these the night before you’re going to serve them, then bake them last minute to delight your guests with pumpkin elegance.
I made the soufflés and the ice cream twice, once with organic canned pumpkin and once with very well-drained fresh pumpkin purée. I got good results with both, but I do prefer the fresh pumpkin. My preferred pumpkin for making purée is the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin. I grew them in my garden this year, but I’ve noticed they’re becoming more widely available at markets too, at least in my area.
I used almond flour to keep the recipe gluten-free, but you are welcome to use regular flour. This number of soufflés you can make with this recipe will depend on the volume of your egg whites/Swiss meringue as well as the size of your ramekins. When I used smaller molds, I made eight; with the large metal ramekins you see in these photos, I made four.
Recipes for Pumpkin Soufflés and Maple Pumpkin Ice Cream
Soufflé recipe adapted from The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle by Kate Zuckerman
Makes 8-12 four-five ounce souffles
For the souffles:
*3 tablespoons organic butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon
* 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons organic sugar
* 1/2 pure maple syrup
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons well-drained pumpkin puree or organic canned pumpkin
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic half-and-half
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 7 large eggs
* 3 tablespoons ground almond flour
* pinch of cream of tartar
*1-2 tablespoons bourbon
For the ice cream:
* 1 1/2 cup half and half or cream
* 1 cup milk
* 1 cup pumpkin puree
* 1/2 cup maple syrup
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* pinch of fine sea salt
* 4 egg yolks
* 2 tablespoons bourbon or amaretto
Prepare the ramekins:
1. Grease ramekins with melted butter. Chill in the refrigerator until butter is firm, then grease and chill again. Dust with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and place in refrigerator until ready to fill.
Make the pumpkin custard:
1. Boil the maple syrup in a heavy bottomed pot until reduced by half (140°F). Allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add pumpkin, half-and-half, spices, and salt. Whisk until all ingredients are warm and fully incorporated.
3. Separate the 7 eggs and reserve the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place 4 eggs yolks in a medium bowl and set aside 2 for later (save remaining egg yolk in refrigerator for another use).
4. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the heated pumpkin mixture into the 4 egg yolks, then whisk in the almond flour until smooth. Continue to temper the egg yolks by whisking in another cup of the warm pumpkin mixture, then add the egg yolk mixture back to the pan.
5. Bring the custard to a boil, continuously whisking and scraping the bottom of the pan, for about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and the bourbon. Transfer to a clean bowl and allow to cool.
Make the meringue:
1. Heat all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar with 4 tablespoons water in a small saucepan on the stove. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
2. Turn your stand mixer on high and beat the 7 egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. When the egg whites begin to hold the lines of a whisk, check on the sugar syrup. The temperature should be about 225-230°F.
3. With the syrup still on the stove and the mixer running on high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, one teaspoon at a time, to the egg whites. They should become shiny and gain volume.
4. When the sugar syrup reaches 248°F., quickly take off the heat and, in a slow and steady thin stream, pour the hot syrup down the bowl into the egg whites. The egg whites should gain more volume and turn satiny white. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and meringue cools, about 3-5 minutes.
Fold the meringue into the custard:
1. Whisk remaining 2 egg yolks into custard. Fold 1/4 of the meringue into the pumpkin mixture until just mixed. Add remaining meringue and fold until all of the egg whites are just incorporated. Use a good folding technique to ensure you maintain the maximum volume of the egg whites.
Fill the ramekins and bake:
1. With a plastic or metal spatula, spoon filling into the prepared ramekins and fill within 1/2 inch of the rim. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 hours (or freeze for up to 24 hours).
2. When you are ready to bake the soufflés, allow any that are frozen to come to room temperature for 1 hour (refrigerated soufflés should spend 30 minutes at room temperature before baking).
3. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange the rack in the bottom third. Five minutes before baking, place a baking sheet on the rack. After five minutes, place soufflés on the heated baking sheet and bake until it is well risen, the top is browned, the edges appear dry, and the center is set (not moving if lightly touched), about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with homemade pumpkin ice cream.
For the ice cream:
1. In a blender, process all ingredients except egg yolks and bourbon. Heat in a heavy bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat until almost boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer.
2. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and then whisk in about 1 cup of the hot pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly.
3. Add the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
4. Immediately pour the mixture through a strainer into a container in which you can cool the custard in the refrigerator until well chilled (overnight is best).
5. When you are ready to make the ice cream, whisk in the bourbon, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This recipe was going to be my entry for the pumpkin-themed next round of Project Food Blog. A few of my blogging buddies were also eliminated from the contest with me, but we had already created our challenge recipes, so we decided to share these delicious treats with you today.
For more pumpkin inspiration, please visit:
And if you celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you and yours a very peaceful holiday.