We love this recipe for pumpkin soufflé from chef Nicolas Gaulandeau at Le Jardin Secret at the fairy tale looking Château du Rivau in the Loire Valley. The chateau is famous for its beautiful gardens and the Gargantua vegetable garden of the castle is also the Conservatory of Vegetables for the Centre region. This dish makes for a delicious light lunch or a tasty, impressive starter.
200g peeled pumpkin
2 onions cut very finely
3 grated cloves garlic
6 yolks and 6 egg whites
For the béchamel:
200ml milk (7 fl oz, 0.42 pint)
How to make pumpkin soufflé
If you’re using fresh pumpkin, chop it into cubes, remove the seeds and rind and any stringy pulp before you weigh. You can also frozen pumpkin. Put the pumpkin, fresh or frozen in a saucepan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover the pot and set over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin has softened.
Sieve the pumpkin – press down with the back of a spoon to remove the excess liquid. Leave to drain for a few minutes, then purée in a blender.
Sweat the chopped onion and garlic in butter until soft.
Separate the eggs.
For the béchamel sauce first make a roux – melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When it bubbles, add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon for about a minute to allow the flour to cook. Add the milk and whisk vigorously and it will quickly thicken.
Mix the béchamel with the pumpkin puree, add the onions and garlic and stir in the egg yolks. You can also stir in some grated cheese at this point (about 50g/20z/
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and stir about a third into the pumpkin mix. Then fold over the rest of the egg whites gently until complete mixed.
Pour into buttered souffle mould/s and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 180ºC/Gas Mark