Wednesday 3 November 2010

Soufflés of Pattison Courgette and Carrots

Recently we met Cynthea Gregory, who lives near Sainte Maure de Touraine and has just written a cook book due to be published in March next year. It's in French and will be sold in various outlets, including the Post Office (one of a series that they sell).

She sent me one of her recipes to try out and has kindly allowed me to share it with you, so here it is, including her preamble and tips. Pattison (or pâtisson) is another name for a sort of large patty pan squash. It's often listed as one of France's légumes oubliés ('forgotten vegetables') but it is readily available in the autumn in the supermarkets and is often grown in private potagers. Cynthea was given one by her vegetable supplier and came up with this recipe to use it. Like me, I think she finds pattison needs to be used as a base for other more flavourful things, and was pleasantly surprised at how well this combination turned out.

Ingredients for soufflés of pattison courgette and carrots.
'Moelleux' of Pattison Courgette and Carrots

A 'moelleux' is a sweet or savoury soufflé with a soft and runny centre. (Moelleux au chocolat' has become a real favourite in many French restaurants.) These little soufflés can be served as a starter or an accompaniment to a main course - they are great with duck. I usually make my 'moelleux' in silicone mini-muffin moulds or non-stick tins, as they are so easy to unmold. If you wish to make larger ones use ramekin dishes. I like them as they can be re-heated after the initial cooking and also can be stored in the freezer and then reheated from frozen and they are still light and moist. You can obviously make your own carrot purée, but I buy one from Monoprix which I think is particularly good.

For about 16 little soufflés

Preparation time 20 mins
Cooking time 50 mins

Cynthea's ingredients.
1 Pattison Courgette (100g only required)
100g carrot purée
2 eggs
75g goats' cheese (demi-sec or sec)
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
150ml milk
1 tablespoon oil
40g flour
1 teasp. baking powder
1 dessert sp. corn flour
Pinch ground cumin
1 dessert sp. fresh coriander chopped
  • Do not cut up the courgette, leave it whole and in a large saucepan boil it for around 30mins. Lift it out of the saucepan with a large slotted spoon and leave it to cool a little before cutting off the top and scooping out the 100g you need for this recipe.
  • Preheat the oven at 210°C and put oiled ramekin dishes or a mini-muffin silicone mould on a baking sheet. Season the carrot purée to your taste with cumin.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onion and garlic 3-4 minutes. Add the milk and the crumbled cheese. Stirring the mixture continuously, heat it 2-3 minutes to allow the cheese to melt, and then remove from the heat.
  • Put the 100g of Pattison courgette into the bowl of a food processor and add the milk, cheese and onion mixture, then blend for a couple of minutes.
  • Break the eggs into a large bowl and then, with a wooden spoon, progressively beat in the flour, the corn flour and the baking powder to achieve a smooth batter.
  • Pour the mixture from the food processor into the egg/ flour mixture and mix well.
  • Put a small amount of the courgette soufflé mixture into each of the ramekins or moulds. Add a teaspoonful of the carrot purée and then cover this with more of the courgette soufflé mixture.
  • Put the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 18- 25 minutes (the cooking time depends on the size of the moulds used). Allow the soufflés to cool a little before serving.
  • If you wish to freeze some of your soufflés, they can be successfully reheated in a hot oven 18 minutes from frozen. The remaining courgette can be used in soups and vegetable gratins.
Cynthea's finished moelleux
I had cooked pattison only once before, using Ken's very nice stuffing recipe. Unfortunately, whilst the stuffing was tasty enough to use again, pattisons are probably the most tasteless vegetables I have ever come across (and I grew up where you periodically found chokoes on your plate!) Consequently, when it came time to make Cynthea's recipe, I avoided the pale off white pattison on the supermarket shelf and bought an orange one instead. It was much nicer - more or less pumpkin, really - but that left me with another problem. Simon was tramatised by a scoop of mashed pumpkin in his infancy and simply cannot face the stuff. Heyho, I made the soufflés anyway and served him different vege.

Because my pattison was orange I didn't think there was any point in keeping the carrot and the pattison purées separate, so I combined the two. Cynthea subsequently told me that she had put the carrot purée in the middle to give a good 'moelleux' texture, all squidgy in the centre. Coriander leaf is impossible to get in these parts unless you grow it yourself, and my small crop is finished, so I used a couple of finely shredded sage leaves and some chopped parsley. Due to the temporary nature of our kitchen, I wasn't equipped with 16 small soufflé dishes, or even a suitable silicone mould, so I made bigger ones in a rather motley collection of dishes.

My soufflés, just out of the oven.
I thought the end result looked and tasted good and I will enjoy eating them over the next few weeks. It's a great advantage that they freeze so well.Unfortunately, I mentioned to an elderly French lady I was visiting that I was making this recipe, and with a wicked gleam in her eye, she promptly gave me three of the white ones! Since I've recently been to the Paris Store (the excellent oriental grocer chain with shops in Tours Nord and Blois) I now have some lovely fresh coriander leaf. Does this mean I should make the recipe again, properly? Sigh...anyone want to take some pattison off my hands? I can give you a great recipe for pattison soufflés.



wcs said...

This recipe sounds great! Unfortunately I cannot take your pattisons, because we still have several of the white ones from our own garden. Not to mention flesh frozen for future use!

Tim said...

WE CAN... [at least one anyway]and you can come an fetch some of the Flag Iris before the bief gets too high [people up t'Aigronne are opening their sluices before the winter rains!]
I notice you have some of the Duchy Originals little pots [or were they the Ü ones?

Diogenes said...

New banner for the blog? I like it...

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