It's been a helluva year, this one. The Great Barrier Reef is dying, there's racism and sexism and Islamaphobia everywhere you look, climate change is so real there is no going back now. And Donald Trump may become president of the most powerful country in the world. Trick or treat, right? Nooo, Halloween isn't til next week.
That shit is real.
So the world has gone nuts, what can you do? I have been really getting into the whole 'positive vibe' thing. That, and watching a lot of romantic comedies. You get a bit sad in the middle but then that wonderfully bland uplifting music comes on and you realise it's all gonna be alright. That magical music that means they always get the girl/guy and probably ice cream and a puppy.
I think we need some of that music for the world. For the planet, for the people who aren't white, who aren't rich, for the animals. Dammit, we need the music for everything.
But until we can make speakers big enough to blast sappy romantic comedy music across the planet, focus on those positive vibes. And baking. Baking is a good thing to do.
Specifically baking something that really requires focus and concentration, something that'll really immerse you in the moment and make you forget about all the bads. Souffle!
I was looking for pumpkin inspiration for my contribution to this year's virtual pumpkin party when I came across Ottelenghi's pumpkin and goat cheese souffle, aptly titled 'Halloween Souffle'. I thought, hey! Pumpkin, halloween, a project. Let's do it.
I liked the recipe but I had none of the ingredients so I flipped it and made pumpkin pie souffle. It's just like a pumpkin pie, only airier! And more fiddly. And with chocolate.
PUMPKIN PIE SOUFFLE
adapted from Plenty. makes 6 small ramekin souffles.
Preheat the oven to 180c. Cut your pumpkin into chunks, scoop out any seeds, spread into a roasting tin and pop into the oven. Roast for about half an hour or until flesh is tender. When done, cool a little, scoop 120g of the flesh from the skin and mash well.
Turn the oven to 200c and chill your ramekins in the fridge. Put a baking tray in the oven to preheat.
Melt the 30g of butter and brush around the chilled ramekins very thoroughly. Pour in sugar and swirl to coat well.
In a medium saucepan, melt the 25g butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute. Slowly add the milk and cook until thick and bubbling.
Combine the mashed pumpkin with the yolks, panela and spices and mix into the white sauce.
In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the sugar until they are stiff but not dry.
Pour a quarter of the meringue into the pumpkin mix and stir to combine. Gently fold in the remaining meringue.
Working gently and relatively quickly, evenly spoon half the mixture into the ramekins. Lay a few chunks of chocolate in the centre and continue with the remaining souffle mix, leaving 1 cm at the top.
Put your ramekins on the pre-heated baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Sprinkle with panela and eat! Eat quickly!
225g butternut pumpkin, skin on
30g butter, for greasing
30g sugar, for coating
25g plain flour
2 large egg yolks
120g panela (or regular brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
half a block of good milk chocolate, broken into chunks
extra panela, for dusting