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A souffle is a light and airy baked dish that uses whipped egg whites to create volume and height. Originally a French dish, the souffle can be prepared as a dessert or part of the main course. Carrot souffle uses carrots as the main flavor ingredient. The carrots are typically cooked until soft and then blended in a food processor to make a paste or puree. Cooking with carrots lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes, so a carrot souffle can be prepared either way.
Authentic souffle recipes generally start with beaten egg whites. These should be beaten until they are stiff but not dry, so that the souffle will be light enough to rise in the oven. A mixture of flour, butter and milk or cream makes up the Béchamel sauce that is typical of souffles. When combined with the beaten egg whites, this can provide the base for both sweet and savory souffles.
Souffles generally start with these basic elements and can be made sweet or savory, depending on the seasonings and other ingredients that are added. If the souffle will be savory, then ingredients that can easily melt and blend, such as cheese, will typically be added to the Béchamel sauce as it cooks. Other vegetables such as onions or solid seasonings such as parsley should generally be processed with the carrots to avoid chunks and to keep the souffle's texture light and even.
Seasonings such as garlic and paprika may work well in a savory souffle. Cinnamon and nutmeg are common ingredients in a sweet, dessert-like carrot dish. Any seasonings that are called for can usually be mixed in with the pureed carrots or the sauce. The sauce and the pureed carrots will typically be mixed together after all the ingredients are added, and then the egg whites should be carefully folded in. Vigorous stirring will break down the egg whites and create a carrot souffle that might not rise.
Using a souffle dish is the best choice for all types of souffles because it allows the mixture to rise in the proper shape. Small ramekins for individual souffles are also an option. Buttering the inside of the dish well can help keep the carrot souffle from sticking to the sides, tearing and collapsing as it tries to rise. A carrot souffle should typically be eaten as soon as it is finished baking for the best taste and texture.
Some recipes that contain souffle ingredients without requiring the egg whites to be beaten are probably not true French souffles. If the eggs are mixed in whole rather than beaten, the recipe is probably a carrot casserole that resembles a souffle. It will probably rise at least a little when baking, but may not look or taste like a souffle when it is finished.