Godard'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.