Gingered Carrot Soufflé
This is one of those seductively sweet, orange-hued side dishes that often appear around the holidays. Technically, it’s not really a soufflé, but rather a baked purée of carrots, butter, brown sugar, and eggs that has a fluffy and delicate soufflé-like texture. It’s along the same lines as a sweet potato casserole — that is to say, not quite dessert but almost sweet enough to be.
While most versions of carrot soufflé are cloyingly sweet, this one tones down the sugar and kicks up the heat with pungent fresh ginger. Carrots and ginger are a classic combination (just think of dishes like Glazed Carrots with Ginger, Carrot and Ginger Soup or even Japanese Carrot & Ginger Dressing); the spiciness of the ginger balances out the natural sweetness of the carrots.
The best part about this dish, unlike a traditional soufflé, is that it’s incredibly easy to make; you don’t have to whip up any egg whites or keep your oven door closed lest it should fall. All you do is boil the carrots, purée them in a food processor with the other ingredients, pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake. It’s that simple.
This “soufflé” is most impressive served right out of the oven, steaming hot and slightly puffed, but don’t let that stop you…it only deflates a bit and tastes just as delicious once it falls. It also reheats beautifully and makes for fabulous leftovers. Enjoy!
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Gingered Carrot Soufflé
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons milk
¾ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
5 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook carrots until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain carrots and transfer while still hot to food processor. Add butter and puree until butter is melted and carrots are very finely chopped.
3. Add remaining ingredients to carrot mixture and puree for several minutes until completely smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as necessary; the mixture should have consistency of a thick milkshake with no bits of carrots within. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, smooth top and bake for about 50-60 minutes, until slightly puffed and almost set (it will jiggle slightly even when done).