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!
Gingered Carrot Soufflé
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the carrots until soft, 10-15 minutes. Drain the carrots and transfer while still hot to a food processor. Add the butter and puree until the butter is melted and the carrots are very finely chopped.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the carrot mixture and purée for several minutes until completely smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of bowl as necessary; the mixture should have consistency of a thick milkshake with no bits of carrots within. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top and bake for 50-60 minutes, until slightly puffed and almost set (it will jiggle slightly even when done).
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