Sweet potato soufflé

I am a serious sweet potato nut!  My husband and I often joke about my addiction to root vegetables, and sweet potatoes are my favorite. While I'm partial to the white-fleshed Japanese/Korean sweet potatoes (which taste like a cross between sweet potato, potato, and chestnuts), I also love the classic orange-flesh kind and am always interested in different ways to cook with it.
So is it any wonder I've wanted to make sweet potato soufflé for some time now? With root vegetables like sweet potatoes taking center stage during the fall, and with Thanksgiving on the way, I thought it was a good time to give it a go and my family and I enjoyed the delicious result at lunch last weekend.
It was a few months ago that I ventured into savory soufflés with a cheese soufflé that turned out wonderfully delicious.  It made me want to try other kinds beyond the classic dessert variety (though I do love those!) and I think this sweet potato one was a great way to continue that idea.

Now, would this be considered a sweet or a savorysoufflé?  It's a bit of both; while it's not your classic dessert soufflé, there is definitely sweetness both in the natural sweetness of the sweet potato as well as from some maple syrup we add into the mix. Specifically, taste-wise, you clearly get the sweet potato as well as that natural warm fluffy "egg-ness" and texture expected from any soufflé.  My family and I enjoyed it a lot.
I find that I'm partial to the warm, custardy center of a soufflé (it's a bit like the sensation of digging into the center of a molten chocolate cake) but the firmer edges add such a great contrast in texture.  There's really so much to love about a soufflé, whether it's a sweet or savory one.  I'm convinced they're all delicious and we should eat as many as possible!
And I imagine you could turn this sweet potato soufflé into a pumpkin one if you're inclined.  There is a world of possibility for those who want to experiment.


This recipe comes from Martha Stewart; it's been in my file of recipes-I'd-like-to-make for a long time so I'm very happy to check it off now.  And it all starts with the sweet potato, which gives this soufflé both its flavor and bright orange color.  I often roast whole sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven until softened.  I did the same here and used 1-cup, mashed with a fork, for the recipe. 
And with the essence of all soufflés, the magic comes from folding whipped egg whites into the base.  For this base, we make a little roux with a tablespoon of butter and some flour, then adding milk.  Once it's thick, we stir in the mashed sweet potatoes, along with maple syrup and a touch of nutmeg for more flavor.  Instead of adding 1/3 cup of maple syrup, I used 1/4 cup and relied more on the natural sweetness of the sweet potato.  The addition of nutmeg really made me feel like I was baking for Thanksgiving...it conjured up sweet potato and pumpkin pies!
Be sure to whip the egg whites until just stiff.  I find that over-whipping can be a major issue because once the whites are over-whipped and too dry, it breaks and the soufflé will not rise much at all during baking.  After folding the whites into the base, it's ready to be filled into ramekins and baked.
Now, one thing that I find a little tricky about making soufflé isn't actually the process but the sizing.  That is, I usually don't quite know how many I can make.  This recipe called for a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish but that didn't seem right to me.  I ended up using and filling the largest ramekin that I have, a 5-inch round by 3-inch tall container (a little over 2 cup capacity) and placing the remaining soufflé batter into a 3 3/4-inch round by nearly 2-inch tall ramekin.  You might want to make one family-style soufflé or smaller, individual, servings.  
I could have used a couple more spoonfuls of batter to fill up the smaller ramekin so it might have started off with a slight handicap in the lift-off department.  And as you well know, soufflés start deflating the moment they're removed from the oven.  I can literally see it happening in front of my eyes and even as I stroll through the roll of photos that I snapped...
That said, let's remember that while soufflés begin to deflate moments out of the oven, they do stay incredibly delicious.  Plus, the large soufflé managed to stay warm for a good half an hour, which worked out well since my husband likes to save his sweet potato for last, like dessert, which in this case it definitely looked like.
If you're like me though, you like to dig into a soufflé right away, straight out of the oven and piping hot.  It is such a great sensation to poke a spoon into a soft soufflé, watch it break apart and fall into itself, then see the custardy center and steam billowing out of it.  Finally, you taste it and savor the heavenly texture...so light, soft, and totally comforting...
I hope I'm convincing you to consider whipping up a soufflé or two one day.  I'm already mulling over the next variety I should try but in the interim, maybe my family and I need a chocolate one to hold us over until the next experiment?

Recipe:

Sweet Potato Soufflé
Adapted from Martha Stewart

- Approximately 3-4 servings (can make 1 large or several smaller soufflés, depending on size of soufflé dishes used) - 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for soufflé dish(es)
Sugar, for soufflé dish
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes*
3 large eggs, separated, and at room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup (for more sweetness, use up to 1/3 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
Pinch of salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

* Wrap one medium/large sweet potato in foil and bake on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven (I place the sweet potato in the oven while it is preheating) until softened, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Let cool and then remove the flesh and mash with a fork.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare soufflé dishes by buttering and then dusting with sugar, tapping out the excess.  [You should have enough soufflé batter to fill four 6-oz. ramekins; I used a large 5-inch diameter by 3-inch tall dish (a little over 2 cup capacity) and a 3 3/4-inch diameter by about 2-inch tall one.]

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour, and cook, whisking, until golden, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the mashed sweet potatoes and egg yolks, followed by the maple syrup and nutmeg.  Set nearby.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until it just reaches stiff peaks.  Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites using a rubber spatula. Pour mixture into the prepared soufflé dishes, filling nearly to the top and smoothing the surface.  Place onto a baking sheet and bake until puffed (and just slightly jiggly when moved), about 35-45 minutes.  Carefully remove soufflé from the oven, set on a plate, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately. 



35 comments:

  1. I was wondering if this should be eating as savory or sweet as well... :) It definitely looks very good and due to the maple syrup I think I would rather like to have it as dessert.

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    1. We pretty much started by planning to eat it *with* lunch but ended up mainly having it last and more like as dessert (the large one was still nice and warm); the original recipe does suggest serving it with whipped cream as an option (which I don't think it needs). : )

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  2. I love sweet potatoes too, although I'd be the only one in my family who would love these pretty souffles!

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  3. You are my hero! This looks magnificent and absolutely perfect. I still haven't made a "real" soufflé but am inspired once again from your beautiful posts! We make a sweet potato soufflé for the holidays but it's not a real one like this. Bravo! Have a happy Halloween with your son - fingers crossed for good weather!

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    1. YOU are my hero, Tricia. Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words. I have seen other sweet potato souffle recipes so I think I know what you mean and I bet it is just as delicious. I know you will make some amazing souffle when the mood and timing is right for you. Yes...enjoy Halloween with your grandkids. We are expecting good weather here.

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  4. Monica, your sweet potato souffle is a thing of beauty! You were even able to get it to stay high until you got a few amazing photos. I love sweet potatoes too and hopefully with all of your helpful hints I can make a successful one too!

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    1. haha - thank you, Bobbi. I feel like being able to transfer the hot souffle from the oven on to a plate (without breaking it), dusting it with confectioners' sugar, and then running it to the table (again, w/o breaking anything) and taking a couple of decent photos is where I nail it. haha! ; )

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  5. I love root vegetables too especially beet and sweet potato! This is so awesome! I have to make this at least once to taste it.Such an incredible colour and light texture.

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    1. I was curious about tasting it too but really, it's sweet potatoes, a little extra sweetness, a hint of nutmeg, and that overall eggy fluffiness of a souffle. Lovely, really. : )

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  6. I am such a big sweet potato fan and can't stop drooling over this gorgeous souffle! It looks beyond amazing! I've never tried a savory souffle and love tat this is a little bit of bot! Love the maple syrup too!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! I'm glad you like it. Hope you and the kiddos enjoy Halloween! Boo!

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  7. Hi Monica, I'm a huge sweet potato fan too and I bet this is delicious. You make this soufflé sound so easy to make. Pinned for later. Take care!

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    1. Thanks, Cheri. I have a feeling you'd love a cheese souffle and enjoy this too. It really isn't hard...just don't think too much about it. : )

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  8. I love sweet potatoes, and I love that this soouflé celerbates the sweet and savory elements of the vegetable! So yum :)

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  9. Holy moly I love this! I am also obsessed with sweet potatoes of all kinds but rarely bake with them! Must try this! It's like you made it just for me :) Hope you had a great weekend Monica!

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    1. haha!! You can safety assume that any/all sweet potato recipes posted here have you in mind, Ashley! ; ) I share your love of it and I always love seeing your creative uses of the sweet potato!

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  10. What a beauty! I too love sweet potato and this is such a lovely recipe to use this sweet root veggie!

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    1. Thanks, Angie...we enjoyed it a lot!

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  11. How pretty is this! What a lovely colour and such a delicate thing to make from sweet potatoes.

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    1. Yes, I'm always amazed that souffles will still life with the "heavy" ingredients in the base...

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  12. Me too, Monica! Yesterday I made sweet potato gulabjamun for Diwali and I still have 2 boiled one kept in the fridge. This souffle is going to be mu breakfast tomorrow.

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    1. Hi Monica, Just made the souffle but they didn't puff up like yours. I used gluten free all purpose flour and 2% milk. That's what I had. What could be wrong?

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    2. Hi Bal - first was so happy to hear you were going to make it but now bummed it didn't rise for you! Is it possible you over-whipped the whites? I ask because that's the one instance where I hardly get any lift from a souffle...if the whites started to break and be dry, the souffle won't rise much at all. I'm not familiar with using gluten free flour but my gut tells me that using that small amount and the low fat milk should not have made a huge difference. Sorry it didn't work out the way you expected...hopefully, it tasted good.

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    3. It could be the over whipped whites. Mine was like a cake but was tasty. Will try again.
      Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    4. I love how you try so many new things and persevere. I'm glad it tasted good and good luck when you try again. I just whip the whites until it's just stiff...without sugar to stabilize, whites break and over whip fast. PS - I'm still daydreaming about your Italian anniversary trip. I told my husband we have to start planning something, even if it's years away! ; )

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  13. Oh Monica...your sweet potato souffle looks awesome, so light and airy and I love the way it puffed up...I can only imagine the taste of it...yum!
    Thanks for the recipe...have a wonderful week :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana - it was pretty awesome and I was happy I finally made it. You enjoy the rest of the week, too.

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  14. Hello Monica - like you I am addict to sweet potatoes. This is the first time (I think) that I come across a dessert that includes sweet potatoes. Your soufflé looks scandalously delicious. I am blown away by your creativity and cook skills. You really have to publish a dessert book. Honestly

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    1. It's like dessert and savory at the same time...very interesting. And honestly, I simply follow tried and true recipes out there. I can't take credit except for bumbling along in the kitchen, trying, like all of us do. : ) Thank you though!

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  15. We are also sweet potato nuts in our Family! This is perfection!

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    1. Yay for us sweet potato "nuts"! Thank you, Ashley!

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