Zucchini Pudding Souffle

Pudding Soufflé aux Courgettes

Preparation info

  • Servings:

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

The traditional soufflé, raced from oven to table with, its lovely golden head bobbing precariously, is a pretty sight and may have evinced more gasps of admiration than any other single bit of culinary theater. Even served rapidly by an accomplished maître d’hôtel, it has already collapsed into an indefinable ectoplasmic stuff before the tines of one’s fork can reach it (the uncooked heart of the matter, it is said, serves as the sauce).

A pudding soufflé and, in particular, one that has been gratinéed, being thus subjected to two separate cooking processes, is a sublimely different thing: It is first cooked gently in a bain-marie until done, then unmolded when slightly cooled; it settles somewhat, its volume diminishing, but, inundated with a light-bodied sauce (often simply heavy cream) and put to gratiné, it swells again, retaining its newfound volume. It is light—for it, too, is mostly air—but it remains, nonetheless, firm. One of these little puddings, prelude to an amicable chunk of rare meat, might take many a jaded gastronome by surprise.

Soufflés à la Suissesse, the inspirational source for this recipe, are individual soufflés in which a cup of grated Parmesan replaces the zucchini. They are, otherwise, treated in the same way and are particularly exciting if unmolded onto a bed of parboiled, squeezed, and chopped spinach before being drowned in heavy cream, sprinkled with cheese, and returned to the oven. Of possible variations, I have found mushrooms to be the most interesting (about 10 ounces mushrooms—put through a Mouli-juliènne and sautéed in butter until their liquid is evaporated—replacing the zucchini). An addition of puréed, butter-stewed sorrel to the cream is an especially attractive variation on the sauce, in which instance I think that fresh crumbs, first lightly colored in butter, may be a better surface garnish than the grated cheese. The presence of the zucchini—or of mushrooms—in the mixture need not necessarily preclude the addition of cheese as in the soufflés à la Suissesse; try it both ways . . .

The savarin mold permits a strikingly handsome turban-like presentation. If you do not have one, use individual ramekins or custard molds rather than a large mold of unbroken form.

Ingredients

    Method