The Herbfarm: Pumpkin Bay Soufflé with Orange-Thyme Custard Sauce

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What began as a six-course lunch offered by Rob Zimmerman and his wife, Carrie Van Dyck, at their nursery has become one of the Pacific Northwest's most popular—and charming—restaurants, the Herbfarm.
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The bright, warm flavors of pumpkin, orange and thyme are both stimulating and comforting.

Pumpkin Bay Soufflé with Orange-Thyme Custard Sauce
Serves 8

In this Herbfarm dessert, the warm flavors of bay laurel and pumpkin meld with a bright citrus sauce.

Pumpkin Bay Soufflé:

Soft butter and sugar for preparing the ramekins
1 1/2 cups milk
8 fresh bay laurel leaves (not California Bay), or substitute two 3-inch sprigs rosemary
1/2 vanilla bean, split
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, divided
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pumpkin purée (if using fresh pumpkin, drain overnight in a strainer lined with cheesecloth)
8 large egg whites

1. Generously butter interiors of eight 6-ounce ramekins and coat with sugar. Arrange in a shallow baking dish.

2. Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lightly crushed bay leaves and vanilla bean; cover and steep off heat for 20 minutes. Strain milk and return to pan.

3. Beat egg yolks with 6 tablespoons sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in flour, then hot milk. Transfer mixture back into saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it boils and thickens. Scoop mixture back to mixing bowl and whisk in pumpkin purée.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they begin to turn white. Slowly beat in remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold a third of the egg whites into pumpkin base, then gently fold in the rest. Fill ramekins to top with batter. Pour an inch of hot water into baking dish and bake soufflés for 20 to 25 minutes or until they rise high above the rims and begin to brown.

5. Serve immediately. Have your guests poke a hole in the top and pour in sauce at the table.

Orange Thyme Custard Sauce:

2 cups whole milk
4 sprigs fresh thyme (3 inches each)
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugarBring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in thyme and orange zest; cover and steep off heat for 20 minutes; strain.

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then whisk in infused milk. Return custard to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon. Pour back into bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.

309 cal., 10g fat, 43g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 1g fiber

To learn more about the Herbfarm and other eco-friendly restaurants, read the article “America’s Top 5 Eco-Friendly Restaurants.”

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