From Too Many Chefs -

October 23, 2005
A Bout with a Souffle (Butternut Squash Souffle)

Butternut Squash SouffleGodard's famous film Breathless is titled in French A Bout de Souffle. Well, I don't speak French, so when I saw the title at a college film society many many years ago, I thought "A fight with a Souffle?"

And that's what this Is My Blog Burning - #20, Has My Blog Fallen? has been for me - a fight with a souffle. I've made the beasts before - plain cheese, cheese and spinach, and even a vermicelli pasta souffle one time with Meg in Paris. I'd never tried to make up my own souffle filling and recipe.

The idea behind a souffle is simple. Egg whites, flour, and milk proteins form a baloon that steam from the water and fats in the recipe inflate. Of course if the filling is heavy, more lift is needed to inflate the souffle beyond the bounds of the rim of the casserole dish and into the air.

Unfortunately, this filling is a little heavier than the lifting power of the ingredients. This souffle remains puffy and light, but never solidifies completely or lifts out of the confines of the casserole dish. That doesn't stop it from being delicious.

I mixed sweet and savory flavors together with the squash again in this recipe. Apple cider and brown sugar are absorbed into the squash along with mustard powder, cayenne, garam masala, nutmeg, and black pepper.

I hope you'll try and enjoy this version of a Butternut Squash Souffle.

Butternut Squash Souffle
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
1 1/2 to 3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnut or walnut pieces
3 tablespoons butter, plus butter for the casserole dish
3 tablespoons AP flour
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to tase
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
1 cup grated or shredded gruyere

In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine the spices (except the salt) with the squash and apple cider. Cook on high heat until the cider boils. Stir well, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft. If the pot goes dry, add 1/4 cup apple cider and cover again.

Mash the squash or blend it. Crush the walnuts (I used a plastic bag and a small hammer), and stir into the mashed squash.

Prepare a 1 1/2 quart casserole by greasing it with butter. Sprinkle the parmesan into the casserole and roll it aorund until the sides and bottom are well coated.

Preheat an over to 400 F.

Heat the 1 1/4 cups milk in a small saucepan. Don't boil it.

In a medium or large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir well. Cook until the roux (that's the butter/flour mix) takes on a little color. Pour the hot milk into the pot all at once and whick until it is combined well with the flour.

Add the cheese and whisk until it is melted. Take two cups of the butternut squash mash and stir it into the mix very well.

One by one, whip the egg yolks into the mix.

Using an electric mixer or grim determination, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they keep stiff peaks. Fold this mix into the squash and milk mix. Fold. Don't beat or whisk or mix.

Pour the whole mess into the prepared casserole dish and put it in the center rack of the oven. Reduce the heat to 375 F and bake for 30-35 minutes until only the center of the souffle wobbles a little when you jiggle it gently.

It will be a little moist, still, but that's OK. There's a lot of liquid in that squash. Serve with garlicky Italian greens.

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Posted by Barrett in Maryland at October 23, 2005 10:44 AM | TrackBack

Wow, Barrett, that sounds wonderful. I like the spice mixture in particular. By the way, I've read that having a greased paper collar on the dish can make all the difference in the rising of the finished product. Not that it needs in necessarily, but (as I understand it) that's the way to really wow your guests!

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 23, 2005 at 12:05 PM

Oh and another note: au bout means "at the end of" or "at the limit of"...not a boxing match. And souffle and soufflé both have their origins in the infinitive souffler, to blow or breathe.

Nice idea, though, probably would have made it an interesting film...!

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 23, 2005 at 12:07 PM

I knew it wasn't the actual translation, but I liked the idea of fighting a souffle.

Posted by barrett on October 23, 2005 at 12:57 PM

I had to do forty individual souffles on my second day of culinary school. With a wisk.

It was fun.

Barrett, I grew up in West Virginia, and when I was little, I had never really heard French spoken, except when I saw Julia Child now and again on television.

So, the first time I saw the word, souffle, I thought it was pronounced "soofl." (I read about the dish in a Nancy Drew book.) When I went to ask my Dad if he had ever tasted a soofl, I thought he was going to die laughing.

Later, considering the atrocious hick-accented French I learned in junior high school, it is a wonder I can tolerably pronounce anything having to do with that language.

Your misreading of "bout" just happened to remind me of all of that....

BTW--that soofl looks awfully good.

Posted by Barbara on October 24, 2005 at 8:18 AM

i love the variety & scope of recipes that each IMBB event brings; although i have less time to dive into them nowadays & dream about when i'll have time to try them all. i am definitely going to try your soofl, promise. such a great seasonal recipe.

Posted by kelli ann on October 24, 2005 at 10:28 AM

I do remember Nancy Drew and those souffles! I love the flavours plus the spices of your souffle - perfect for autumn.

Posted by boo_licious on October 24, 2005 at 4:46 PM

This looks good! The addition of the greens along with this seems a perfect light supper. Mmmm.

Posted by chronicler on October 24, 2005 at 5:54 PM

Uh oh--I seem to have infected someone with my ignorant hick manner of saying "souffle." ;-)

I am at least comforted by the fact that I have had several French chefs tell me that my accent when speaking French is not as bad as most Americans. ;-)

Yeah, Boo--she was always eating those things--I wonder how Nancy stayed so slender with all those eggs and cheese?

Posted by Barbara on October 25, 2005 at 7:02 AM

Wow, a bout indeed, and you seem to be the victor, enjoying your spoils. Kudos! Its sounds delectable!

Posted by Rachael on October 26, 2005 at 9:52 PM

I adore garam masala and I'm really intrigued by combination of Indian spices with squash and apple cider. It sounds wonderful! And I agree with Rachael -- you won your bout with souffles.

Posted by Kitchen Chick on November 2, 2005 at 5:32 PM

It would be nice to know what size squash in pounds or cutup cups and also how many people this dish is supposed to feed.

Posted by hattieruth on September 23, 2006 at 3:59 PM