When you hear the word soufflé, you instantly think “this is going to be fancy” and, generally, you will also think “this is going to be good” Yes, soufflés, are a magical airy thing – light and fluffy and a good one will have risen quite a bit out of it’s ramekin. Along with all of these things, comes the misconception that souffles are a difficult – or maybe tricky, thing to make. I say misconception because with a few simple ideas in your mind I feel that almost anyone can have soufflé success!
So I have been craving butternut squash lately, I really love it as a side dish. Butternut squash purée is one of my favorites – but that’s another topic for another post! Well actually, you begin this recipe with some butternut squash purée. So maybe it’s not so off topic after all.
I found the tiniest little squash , and am going to use just about half of it for this. Peel your butternut squash, and then cut the squash into smaller pieces so that it will cook faster. For this recipe we are going to boil the squash until it is very tender. Depending on the size of your squash and the temperature of your cooking liquid (simmer vs. boil) this will take 15- 25 minutes. Once you have cooked the squash enough, purée it down. I like an immersion blender. This recipe uses a pretty small amount of squash, so I also feel like this small hand tool works better than a larger food processor. Purée everything as smoothly as you can. You will need 1/2 cup of purée for the souffles. To this half cup of purée add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.
Next you need to make a roux. Take a 1/2 stick of butter and melt it in a small saucepan on the stove. To the melted butter add 1/3 cup of all purpose flour. Mix until combined and smooth, this is roux! Simple, easy. Now take the 1/2 cup of purée and add it to the sauce pan with the roux. Turn the heat to medium / medium high and bring everything to a boil. The mixture will thicken quite a bit. After the minute has passed, turn off the heat and remove the thickened butternut squash from the stove. Let it cool down. Now would be a good time to turn on your oven to 375 degrees.
It’s time for you to separate three eggs. Keep the whites and the yolks separate. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and whip up until you have just about reached stiff peaks. If you overwhip the egg whites the soufflé won’t rise very well. Once the egg whites are all whipped up set them aside. But keep them close by
Take the thickened and now cooled butternut squash and add the egg yolks to this. Make sure they are completely combined. If the butternut squash is still a bit hot, let it cool down until it is just warm before you move to the next part.
Combining the egg whites and the squash is pretty easy. First you need to take a little bit of the egg whites and mix it with the squash. You can be pretty rough with the mixing at this point. This just allows the squash to soften up and be able to combine with the rest of the whipped egg whites.
Now, little by little start adding the egg whites to the squash, gently folding the egg whites into the squash, trying to preserve as much of the integrity of the fluffiness. Once you have combined all of the egg whites and squash, get your ramekins. Depending on the size of yours, this will make 3 – 4 soufflés. Make sure you either spray the ramekins with non stick spray or rub the inside of them with butter. You want the soufflé to be able to rise freely out of the ramekin in the oven during the baking process.
Fill the ramekins right up to the top, they will take about 22- 25 minutes in the oven. Soufflés are best served pretty quickly out of the oven, as they will begin to deflate as time goes by. Make sure you let your dinner guests know that the soufflé ramekins will be quite hot. This is special enough to be a main course, I feel. I served mine with a little salad and some grilled chicken.
So I was pretty pleased with how this came out. I think if you were making it at home and wanted to make it easier, you might look for a canned squash to try. This was definitely a success in my book.