Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spudsy! This One's For You! (try it and leave heaps of praise in the comments section)

Paul The Spud along with being funny and all around good guy (he's even in grad school to become a professional good guy) loves pumpkins. I promised him to publish my recipes for Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle and Pumpkin Soufflé . Something I have tried to do in my sobriety is to keep my promises. Spudsy, here you go. I just got back from an extended trip to L.A. I had three days of studio commitments which turned into four days and then my phone rang. It was the beautiful April. The upshot was that we spent two days together, lounging around the hotel, ordering in movies and room service. Yeah, sometimes life is pretty goddamn good for a grouchy old guitar slinger.

Tonight's Halloween plans include having some good things to offer the adults who bring their children by El Rancho Harpo. We will be serving hot chocolate made with the ganache from the truffle recipe. Where I take a mug of hot milk, add a generous slug of ganache (and, if requested by an adult, I will throw in a slug of liqueur like Gran Marnier, Anisette, Calvados (Ok I know it's a brandy but what the fuck I'm still tired from the road and stuff), or the new Starbucks Coffee Liqueur. There will also be hot mulled cider for the kids and the non drinkers like me. There will be a Pumpkin Trifle, Honey Pumpkin Pie and this Soufflé. Most of the techniques that I will be describing were already covered in the chocolate soufflé so I'm not likely to wax all poetic on that part. If I get bored I might start getting all graphic with remembering my weekend with April....(stop lad back to work!)


1 1/2 cups milk (you can substiture soymilk here but not non or low fat variety)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup baker's sugar
5 tablespoons cake flour
1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin
8 large egg whites

Again, allow me to remind you that the fresher the eggs the finer the soufflé. If you haven't located farm eggs or backyard eggs by now you're slacking and deserve what you get. I am also assuming that you've broken down and purchased a real, honest to gawd ceramic soufflé dish. Get that down now and butter it generously with unsalted butter.

Heat the oven to 375°. In a heavy sauce pan scald the milk, remove from heat, stir in the ginger and steep for thirty minutes. In a non-reactive bowl (meaning glass or pottery) whisk together the egg yolks and six tablespoons of the sugar until lemony yellow and smooth. Add in the cake flour until smooth and glossy. Slowly add in the hot milk through a fine strainer (you don't want any milk skin or ginger bits) whisking constantly to prevent scrambling the yolks. Return this to the saucepan and over a medium heat bring just to the edge of a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat enough to keep your mixture just below the boil and cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon when dipped. Don't worry this only takes a few minutes once your temperature has been achieved. Put this all into a large mixing bowl (again use a non-reactive bowl) and whisk in the pumpkin puree. Set this aside for now.

Take the egg whites and whisk them until they are uniformly foamy. (you can also use the whisk attachment on an electric mixer but I prefer the consistency of a hand whisked soufflé over a machine mixed one even though I have no scientific explanation on why this is so). One tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar (you can also add a 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar here for extra lift) and beat until you have stiff, firm peaks. Again, I stress we want Viagra stiff here. Don't punk out early and stuff.

Gently fold about a third of the egg white mixture into the pumpkin custard to lighten it up a bit. Then gently and thoroughly fold that into the remaining egg whites. The gentler you behave at this point of the recipe will make for a much lighter end result. Go slow. Go gently. You'll be proud of yourself later on if you do.

Carefully spoon this batter into the soufflé dish (or you may use 8 six ounce ramekins, but I prefer the big dish for both presentation and consistency and, quite frankly, isn't a soufflé all about the goddamn consistency?) and put it into a bain marie (you should be familiar with some of these terms by now, if not look it up) on the middle rack of the oven. Take your finger and make a small "moat" around the inner edge of the soufflé, bake for 25 minutes. The soufflé should be risen well above the top rim of the dish and have a wonderful orangey golden brown crust. Take it to the table right away. Spoon out the servings, dust with cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Top that with whipped cream (real stuff not that canned shit) or, if you are a traditionalist like me and 3rdX, Creme Anglais.

Expect the Honey Pumpkin Pie recipe to be out sometime before Thanksgiving Spudsy. And remember, I want to hear about results when you try these. There might be something I can do to explain things better.

crossposted at big brass pumpkins


Blogger Pogo said...

Good to see you back. Damn, I had Little Caesar's pizza and diet Pepsi (both of which I hate on a good day).

8:51 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it's good to be back. we had a great time last night with neighbors and kids stopping by. watch out for the phoenix suns, they look very dangerous this year.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of these recipes are requiring me to go to Williams Sonoma and buy special dishes and cookware! But if you're gonna do it, do it right... right?

I'll have to give orders to tiptoe around the kitchen so it doesn't fall.

When you say to make the "moat" around the inner edge of the souffle, do you mean around the very center of the dish? If I remember correctly, a souffle dish kind of looks like a bundt ... I could be TOTALLY wrong, of course.

11:46 AM  
Blogger konagod said...

You guys will enjoy this one.

3:29 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the tiptoe around the kitchen for the soufflé thing is a myth. take it straight from the oven to the table and there isn't any need for all of that. (you can ask your guests to be extra quiet but it's all for show) Williams Sonoma is a fine store, although Target has a fine kitchen section at a very reasonable price (i loves me some martha stewart she was a political prisoner). by moat i mean to draw a little line around the inner rim of the dish (and it is, by the way, nothing like a bundt pan) which will ensure that the center of your soufflé will rise straight up (or lean like the pisa tower) insteady of butterflying or breaking.

kona you're such a rascule!

3:56 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

and i forgot to mention that one of the best parts of serving a soufflé is when, as the cook and host you take your big ass silver spoon and plunge it through the top crust, there's a crunch and a hiss which is pure flavored steam. it hits you right in the face and forces you to exercise intense control to keep from drooling down your chin....

5:12 PM  

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