Our Claim to Fame
Many people know our garden because of our neighbors to the south. Twice a year, in late September and then immediately after Halloween, the empty lot across our street becomes an urban holiday wonderland. As the trees along 7th Avenue turn with the seasons, dropping their leaves I almost feel like I am transported to New England. And behind the trees and the low fence, are mountains of pumpkins, bundles of dried corn stalks, and a few scarecrows for good measure. Fall is my most favorite time of year, because it gets you back into the kitchen cooking again. Summer produce begs not to be mussed with – add a little olive oil here, a little salt there. Grill slightly, or blanche until just done, but for the most part it is fresh, simple food. Fall is about more robust flavors, turning on the oven, and filling up the house with sweet smells. It is also all about pumpkins.
One of my most favorite ways to cook pumpkin is actually my most favorite way to cook anything. Turn on the oven real hot, slice your orange beast, add some salt, and roast until the natural sugars caramelize and your humble squash has become anything but. As much as I love pumpkin curry, and pumpkin soup, or diced and fried pumpkin added to most anything (salad! rice! pasta!), pumpkin really does make such a delicious dessert. I found this recipe a few years ago and love to wow people with the name. Soufflés always seemed fussy, and a little old fashioned, but I’m so glad I looked past that nonsense to make this most ultimate delight. Enjoy!
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces brioche cubes, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
7 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
4 egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin purée, at room temperature
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream to a simmer over low heat. Place brioche cubes in bowl. Remove milk mixture from heat and pour half of the liquid over the brioche.
In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and egg yolks, beating well. Add pumpkin purée and the other half of the heated cream and milk.
Fold the soaked brioche into the pumpkin mixture. Beat the egg whites and sugar until they form stiff peaks and gently fold into the batter. Butter and sugar 8 three-inch ramekins, then divide batter evenly among ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Baked brioches can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then heated in the oven wrapped in foil or microwaved until warm.