Beets Souffle with Cashew Nut Topping
When "M" gave me the challenge ingredient, Beets, I didnt have a brain wave immediately though I had a few ideas ranging from appetizer to dessert, traditional Indian dishes to out of the blue dessert dishes. One main challenge with beets is that fresh beets takes a long time to cook. Except for pressure cooking, everything else be it roasting or boiling on the stove top takes minimum of 40 min. Given that I had only 1 hour to prepare the dish, I had to think of something which fits the time constraint. But since I was allowed to use canned beets, I took that route and saved some time. Also, the last time I had made pearl onion sambar, M said he knew I'd make that. Obviously I wasnt too happy that I was so predictable :-) Hence I really had to think hard to make sure I was as innovative as possible.
This week it was my husband's B'day and as is our tradition I wanted to make some dessert. I thought why not use beets for the dessert I was going to make. My first choice was the Southern classic "Red velvet cake". I was looking for the recipe but nothing suited my taste as the "traditional" red velvet cake contains loads of red food coloring and not beets. After some more search there were red velvet cakes with beets which looked pretty promising. But the problem with cakes is that it is not the best of dessert to make when its just two people sharing it. I am sure my husband wasn't going to complain about eating it all but I do have to consider the health factor what with all the butter, sugar and the frosting.
Now that cake was off the list, I had to think of some other dessert that was easy to make, took just an hour to prepare and could be made in smaller portions. I've been meaning to make souffle for a long time now and so almost on a whim I decided to make beet souffle. I did some browsing to look for souffle recipes with beets and to my joy found it wasnt very popular or made often as I could not find too many hits in my short search !!
I found the basic technique and recipes for carrot souffle, modified it so I can include beets and other ingredients like cream cheese and cashews that I love. Also, to make things easy and less time consuming I have skipped the steps involving separating the egg whites, whipping it for a long time etc. I was a bit skeptical about this initially but the end product put my doubts to rest. Maybe just some day I might give the traditional method a try but till then this recipe will do...
Here is Beet Souffle my Way.......
- Fresh beets can be used as well, though cook it before pureeing. If using canned beets, make sure it contains just beets and water and no salt or flavoring.
- Different ovens behave differently and if you have one like I do, it has its own mind. When I made these souffle, my oven refused to cooperate and didnt go beyond 325F. Hence I had to bake mine for almost 40 min. But if you have a well-behaved oven, then 30 min should be enough. But keep a close eye on it after 20 min.
- This souffle is a bit more dense than other souffles. Souffle does rise above the rim of the ramekins, but it deflates within a few minutes after you take it out of the oven. If you want the big "ta da" finish, I suggest baking it just before you serve. If like me you dont care for the appearance, then by all means bake it whenever you like. But I'd suggest serving it warm.
- Depending on the serving size you would like use appropriate sized ramekins. This recipe doubles or halves very well. I fact I have halved this recipe to give just two portions. Feel free to experiment.
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 lbs cooked beets (or canned)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese (at room temp)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp minced ginger, fresh (or ginger powder)
2 tbsp cashew (chopped into small pieces)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp melted butter
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease 4 to 6 ramekins with butter (only to three quarters of the height of the ramekins) and coat it with some sugar.
- For topping: Mix all the ingredients for the topping. Set aside.
- Transfer beets, sugar, baking powder, flour, cream cheese and ginger onto a food processor. Beat until beets are mashed. Add melted butter. Now add eggs and run it for 30 sec or so.
- Pour this mixture onto the greased ramekins. Do not fill the ramekins to the top just until its 3/4th full. This will give some space for the souffle to rise.
- Sprinkle with topping mixture.
- Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 min or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm.