If you have any pumpkin purée lying around you could use it for dessert like this Pumpkin Souffle for example. This food is colorful to look at and is as rich as it's light to taste. It's also simpler to make, especially compared to a typical souffle recipe out there.

Pumpkin souffle is too easy

If you're not familiar with souffle, it's a baked custard dish that consists of any base (dairy, chocolate, or purée) combined with eggs and other ingredients. It might seem hard at first considering the usual steps.

First, the eggs are separated first for their yolks and whites to be used separately in the recipe.

Each is whipped usually with sugar before being combined with the base; the whipped yolks get added first to the base while it's hot to thicken it (though not all require any yolks) and the whipped whites are added after it cools down to aerate it. And all of this before the whole thing is placed into chilled ramekins--greased and coated with sugar-- to be baked in the oven.

This all might sound complex but it's not really once the right tools are used and the steps are followed to the letter. But what's really remarkable about this Pumpkin Souffle is that the custard can be prepared raw. Just whip the whites in a bowl and fold them into the rest of the ingredients and voilà! The custard is ready for filling and baking.

Tips for Pumpkin souffle

  • Upward strokes when greasing ramekins - When greasing the ramekins, it's best to use a pastry brush and stroke the butter upwards on the inside. This forms a pattern with the sugar that helps to guide the souffle when it rises during baking.
  • Chill the ramekins - Once the ramekins are prepped, place them in the refrigerator to chill so that the butter and sugar coating turns firm. This will prevent the coating from melting right away in the oven.
  • Use eggs at room temperature - Before using eggs, it's best to take them out of the fridge to sit at room temperature. Because the cold inhibits the volumizing of the eggs when whipped, it leads to a flat souffle.
  • Stabilize the whites - Before whipping the whites, make sure to use a clean bowl (non-plastic) and add a little amount of an acidic ingredient like cream of tartar, lemon juice, or vinegar at the start. Whites need to be stabilized during whipping or they won't maintain their new form well.
  • Use a water bath (optional) - Some people pop their souffle straight in the oven while others prefer to place them in a water bath first. The latter is beneficial because the moist heat protects the souffle from cracking and turning rubbery. So it would be a great way to stay on the safe side with these.
  • 5-Minute serving rule - Serve the souffle no more and no less than 5 minutes after they're out of the oven. Souffles can't maintain their form for too long like other baked desserts, so it's best to serve them almost immediately.

The recipe

Equipment:

  • 4 ramekins (4 oz-sized)
  • Pastry brush
  • Unsalted butter for greasing ramekins
  • Caster sugar for coating ramekins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Grease the insides of 6 ramekins with butter using a pastry brush, stroking upwards on the sides.
  2. Add a tablespoon or two to each ramekin, then turn each on a side and rotate to cover all of the butter. Make sure not to spill any of the sugar. Chill the ramekins in the refrigerator.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the pumpkin purée, cornstarch, pumpkin spice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and egg yolks together.
  4. Beat the egg whites and salt together in a bowl using an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachments until frothy. Add the remaining sugar slowly by the spoonful while it beats. Keep beating until it starts to form soft, glossy peaks.
  5. Gently fold 1/4 of the whipped whites into the pumpkin mixture. Make sure to be careful or the whites will deflate. Fold in the remainder until everything is combined to complete the custard.
  6. Divide the custard among the ramekins using a spoon, then place them in an oven-proof dish half-filled with water if desired. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven or until the souffle rises just above the ramekins' openings and jiggles when touched. Remove to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serves: 4

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