Pumpkin pie and me? We’re over. Finished. Splitsville. The pie can claim adultery, but I don’t care. I’ve fallen fast and hard for a dramatic, delicious, and naturally gluten-free Pumpkin Soufflé!
Don’t wait until November to try this perfect poem. It’s delicious in all seasons. It comes together easily, too. Just spice up some canned pumpkin with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, fold it into stiffly beaten egg whites, and you’re done. As the soufflé bakes, the egg whites will expand, causing the dessert to rise above the rim of its dish, while a marvelous layer of meringue forms on top.
Please wipe the drool from your chin.
Shall we make the soufflé together, just the two of us?
Take a 6-cup (1 1/2 quart) baking or “souffle” dish, which you can find in any kitchen supply store (I purchased mine from Amazon for $14.99)…
And spread it with softened butter.
Tip some granulated sugar into the dish…
And tilt the dish around and around, until its bottom and sides are coated with sugar.
This next step is probably unnecessary, but I do it anyway: Fold a length of aluminum foil in half, and spray it with non-stick spray.
Wrap the foil around the baking dish (sprayed-side in), and secure it with a simple pin. If the souffle rises too dramatically, the foil collar will hold everything in place.
Put the prepared dish on a baking sheet, and set it aside.
Meanwhile, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
Tip one can of pure pumpkin into a bowl…
And flavor it up with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Stir thoroughly to mix, and then set the bowl aside.
Now separate 5 large, room temperature eggs, putting the yolks in one bowl, and the whites in another. Freeze the yolks — we won’t need them today.
Make sure your whites are at room temperature. Cold whites won’t “mount” to their fullest potential.
Pour the whites into the work bowl of a standing mixer (or, use handheld electric beaters), and begin beating them at medium speed.
When the whites begin to foam, add 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. The acid in cream of tartar will help to stabilize the whites so they don’t deflate easily. Lemon juice is a good egg white stabilizer, too, but we don’t want the taste of citrus in this particular souffle.
With the machine still running at medium speed, add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt…
And 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
Now beat the whites at high speed, and when they form soft peaks, gradually add 1 1/3 cups of superfine sugar.
Why use superfine sugar? Because it dissolves instantly. If you use regular granulated sugar in your egg whites, your soufflé will have a gritty texture. You can find superfine sugar at any grocery store. Even my Lousy Local Supermarket sells the stuff.
Beat the whites until they form stiff peaks — about 5 minutes.
Next, while taking a very blurry photograph, scoop up a big blob (about a cup) of egg whites, and fling it onto the pumpkin mixture.
Use a spatula to fold the white blob into the pumpkin mixture, just to lighten it.
Then pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the remaining whites…
And fold them together gently, deflating the whites as little as possible.
Scoop the works into the prepared baking dish, put the dish (on its baking sheet) in the oven, and IMMEDIATELY lower the temperature to 375°F.
Bake until the souffle is puffed and golden and the scent in your kitchen makes your beagle twitch her nose — 50-55 minutes. Then remove the foil collar, if you bothered to use one.
To make this gorgeous souffle look even better, dust it with confectioners’ sugar. (And just wait until you taste that meringue crust. It’s swoon worthy!)
Here’s the proper way to serve a souffle: Hold a large spoon and fork back-to-back…
And then plunge the spoon and fork into the souffle, and then pull them away from each other.
Now spoon a sensibly-sized portion onto your plate, give it a dusting of confectioners’ sugar if you wish, and dig right in! Trust me, no matter how much you’ve eaten for dinner, you’ll still have room for Pumpkin Soufflé. It’s as light as a feather, and it tastes like a pumpkin-scented cloud!
This blissful dessert is my own, original recipe. Promise me you won’t wait until the winter holidays to give it a test drive.
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Here’s the printable recipe, in which I’ve bravely omitted the foil collar: