Individual Butternut Squash, Apple, and Maple Soufflés

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  9 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 25 minutes

Individual Butternut Squash, Apple, and Maple Soufflés

A little bit fancified, these light, yet earthbound vegetable and fruit soufflés work as a side dish or as a dessert (they’re pretty killer with a nutmeg crème anglaise poured down the center).

Ingredients

2¾ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly cut

2 medium-sized tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 12 to 14 ounces total)

2 large egg yolks

½ cup (64 grams) Wondra flour

1½ teaspoons roasted, ground cinnamon (see Kitchen Tips)

1 teaspoon roasted ground cardamom (see Kitchen Tips)

1 teaspoon salt

5 large egg whites

½ (100 grams) cup maple sugar

Nutmeg Crème Anglaise, for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 385°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on it, cut side down, and cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Arrange the apple chunks around the squash, cover again, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until both are soft and completely cooked.
  2. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash and apples into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for about  20 to 30 seconds until completely smooth. Allow to cool.
  3. Add the egg yolks, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt to the squash mixture and mix to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. The mixture should be thick but not paste-like. (It can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day before cooking.)
  4. Adjust the oven temperature to 400°F. Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or, if you are using a whisk and doing this by hand, into a bowl. Either way, be sure your bowl is impeccably clean and free of grease; see Kitchen Tips). Mix at medium-high speed until soft peaks form (see Kitchen Tips). Gradually add the maple sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  5. Spoon one-third of the egg white mixture into the squash mixture and whisk to lighten in texture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture and fold until just blended.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among 9 (4-ounce) ramekins. Working quickly, place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 28 to 30  minutes, until puffed and lightly browned on top. Serve immediately for the biggest and showiest puff, but they will be just as delicious and light when they sink. Serve with creme anglaise if you are using these souffllés as dessert.

Kitchen Tips

  1. To toast spices, pour the ground or whole seeds into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute, until fragrant. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn.
  2. When beating egg whites, an impeccably clean bowl is a must; even a bit of grease can keep them from firming up to form soft or stiff peaks.
  3. Egg whites first reach the soft peak stage when they are glossy and foamy, retain their basic shape but droop a bit, and don’t entirely cling to the bowl. Keep beating and egg whites reach the stiff peak stage, when they are glossy and very firm, retain their shape and cling to the bowl. They will stand straight up from the overturned beater; yet they will still be creamy and flexible enough to fold in with other ingredients.

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