I intended to make pumpkin custards last night when I got home, after martial arts, after picking up my dog, after making a batch of bakery-style chocolate chip cookies for my boss as a belated birthday gift (but I’m not gonna actually bake those until Sunday night). But then, I got home and a wave of weariness hit me and all I wanted to do was take a shower and go to bed. So I did, after putting away my groceries and settling the dog and setting my alarms and getting ready for today.
After I got horses turned in and fed before dawn, I figured it was a perfect time to bake them, since the BHG recipe I had called for very little hands-on time. It was mostly baking the things that took the time, not the mixing of the ingredients. I figured by the time 0730 rolled around, I could have all my things packed for the trip to the fair tonight, be dressed for my half-day of work, have fed the dog, fixed my hair, fixed my lunch, eaten breakfast, had a cup of coffee and watched some of the TODAY Show (and been subsequently fed up with the media for yet another day).
At least I was dressed by the time 0800 came around and the custards came out of the oven.
Let me backtrack a minute. The whole reason I had to bake them now or never is because at some time between now and two’o’clock this afternoon, I will be packing a small bag, the dog, his kennel and our driver (ha!) in a Ford pickup truck and going to the Georgia National Fair in Perry for the night and most of Saturday. I am quite excited – it’ll be my first time attending without having to work in some capacity. And since the whole point of baking these things is for the October First Thursday Smackdown in all its orange glory, I have to have it baked, photographed and submitted to Michelle by noon Sunday, without baking time or kitchen availability until Sunday morning. So the only time to do this was pretty much 0600 this morning, before work or packing or what all else. I figured they were different enough to get by with, and I would probably enjoy them. After seeing Jayne’s sweet potato brulee for this week’s TWD, I was expected something like that.
I should’ve known better. There’s no yolk or heavy cream in these, no cooking the custard. I was expecting a heavy, eggy, silky custard, such as brulee delivers – instead, I got fluffy, risen pumpkin soufflés. Not what I was expecting, but I’ll go with it. In fact, I’m working myself up to be happy – I’ve never made a soufflé before, intentionally or otherwise, and these were fairly successful – but still, it’s just not what I expected. My plans had to change a little. Originally, I was going to follow the directions to a tee on two of them – dollop some sweetened whipped cream and call it dessert. And then I was going to take the remaining two and brulee them as brulee should be – with a sugar topping. Can you do that with soufflé?
What the hell. I’m all about experiment. Sometimes.
The soufflés as directed were surprisingly good. As one of my flatemates put it, “like pumpkin pie, but not.” And honestly, I shouldn’t have been surprised with that. Of course it was like pumpkin pie – pumpkin, spices, a little big of binder… what else could there be? Airy, not creamy, and not overpoweringly sweet with or without the cream… it was good. I liked it.
I guess I just didn’t expect a pumpkin pie soufflé. I got my hopes up with custard instead. But it was still good.
As for the brulee… well, I only tried it with one. And it didn’t deliver. It just wouldn’t… well, it wouldn’t brulee. The sugar would melt but never caramelize. I ended up with half-melted sugar on pumpkin soufflé – not even worth photographing. But I still have one left, and I’m going to throw that one under the broiler when I get back from the fair this weekend to see if it was user error or the soufflé itself.
In any case, I liked my pumpkin soufflé. It was good – maybe not good enough to make it a go-to recipe, but I’ll recommend it to you. Who knows, you may like it more than I do.
Created for the First Thursdays: October challenge.