This pumpkin souffle recipe is a light hearted twist on pumpkin pie. It goes together very quickly and makes a warm and nourishing dessert.
The great thing about souffles is that they are so easy to make. Even if you mess up for one reason or another (you do know not to peek I hope), you'll be ready to try again the next day. If you are new to souffle making, be sure to have a look at these souffle recipe tips.
This pumpkin souffle recipe calls for pumpkin puree, not for canned pumpkin. Long ago I had to learn how to make my own pumpkin puree for the Thanksgiving pie here in France. Making your own is very easy - actual preparation is a matter of minutes. Here you'll find a pumpkin puree recipe.
Of course you can used canned pumpkin and the results will be similar (although I suspect not quite so tasty). Also feel free to substitute other squash in this pumpkin souffle recipe. It willl work fine with a puree of butternut or acorn squash for example.
Separate the eggs into two clean mixing bowls. The egg whites should go into a metal bowl. Allow the eggs to come to room temperature for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare 8 individual serving ramekins by coating them with melted butter. An easy way to do this is to place a teaspoon of butter in one ramekin and melt it in the microwave (make sure the ramekin is microwave safe before doing this). Then use a pasty brush to distribute the butter and coat the other ramekins.
Using a wooden spoon, mix together thoroughly the egg yolks, pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup sugar, half and half, spices and salt.
Add the 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the egg whites. Using a hand held electric whisk, begin whisking the egg whites on low. As the egg whites begin increasing in volume, gradually increase the speed of the mixer. When the egg whites form soft peaks, gradually add in the 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff and shiny.
Blend about a cup of the egg whites with the pumpkin mixture to lighten it up. Add the rest of the egg whites on top of the pumpkin mixture, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the egg whites. Do this with a light touch and quickly - no more than a minute of folding should be needed. If it looks like there are some areas that are not blended, don't worry.
Use a ladle to gently fill the ramekins with the egg mixture. Place all of the ramekins on a cookie tray and place the tray in the oven. Bake for 17 minutes at 375°F (190°C) - no peeking!
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. If you place the ramekins on small plates they will be easier to serve and you will save your table top.