Pumpkin pie is one of the classic autumn desserts, but it's not the only way to use the versatile ingredient. For a show-stopping variation on the theme, try this dramatic â€“ and surprisingly easy â€“ soufflĂ©.
TOTAL TIME:2 hours
- 4 medium or 6 small gingersnaps
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Âľ cup canned pure pumpkin puree
- 6 large eggs, divided
- Â˝ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Âľ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Âľ tsp. ground ginger
- Â˝ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground clove
- Âľ cup whole milk
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- Â˝ cup granulated or super-fine sugar
- The soufflĂ© will begin to fall within minutes of coming out of the oven -- sooner if you walk through cold drafts along the way -- so be sure to call everyone back to the table when it's just about ready.
- If you don't have a soufflĂ© dish or suitable baking dish, prepare individual soufflĂ©s rather than one large one. Use individual buttered ramekins in any size you have, from 4-ounce to 10-ounce, and divide the mixture between them. Bake them from start to finish at 375Â°F, and shorten the baking time. Small soufflĂ©s should be fully baked in 12 to 15 minutes, while larger ramekins might take up to 20 minutes.
Crush the gingersnaps to crumbs with a rolling pin, or pulse them in a food processor until they’re broken into fine crumbs. Butter the soufflĂ© dish and then pour in the gingersnap crumbs. Swirl the crumbs until the inside of the soufflĂ© dish is completely coated, and shake out any excess crumbs. Set the soufflĂ© dish aside.
Measure the pumpkin puree into a mixing bowl, and then stir in the egg yolks, vanilla and spices. Set this aside. Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over a moderate burner and stir as it warms, until the mixture begins to thicken, approximately 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the heat and whisk the pumpkin mixture into the hot milk. Chill the mixture for at least an hour in your refrigerator, or prepare it up to two days ahead of time.
Bring the egg whites to room temperature while the soufflĂ© base chills – at your holiday meal, refrigerate the base and leave the whites out while you eat the other courses. Heat your oven to 400Â°F.
Beat the egg whites with a whisk or mixer until they’re light and airy, and then slowly add the sugar. Continue whisking until the whites are glossy and form soft peaks. Stir 1/3 of the whites into the thick pumpkin mixture, to lighten and soften it, then gently fold in the remaining whites in halves or thirds.
Scoop the mixture into the soufflĂ© dish, spreading it more or less evenly with the back of a spatula. Moisten a finger, and run it around the inside of the soufflĂ© dish to make a small groove between the soufflĂ© mixture and the dish (this step is optional, but it gives the finished soufflĂ© a prettier, more classic look).
Slide the soufflĂ© carefully into your oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 375Â°F and continue baking, without opening the oven door, for another 25 to 30 minutes. By this time the soufflĂ© should have risen 2″ to 4″ above the rim of the soufflĂ© dish, and should be golden brown on top.
Remove the soufflĂ© from your oven and carry it directly to the table, placing it on a trivet so it doesn’t damage your tabletop or tablecloth. Serve immediately with your favorite rum sauce, caramel sauce, or a simple vanilla custard.