What exactly defines a soufflé? I don’t know. Maybe one of you do? Despite not knowing the exact definition, this dish is still killer. We are still having cold days, so hearty dishes are occasionally still a must. The calendar has declared spring, and I can definitely tell a difference in the days, despite the the brown grass and dead look everything has. The sunshine (when it’s out) is so much warmer, and the birds starting their spring songs are sure signs that yes, warmer days are indeed on the way. The other day, I ran into the grocery store for a quick last minute item pick up, and I was confronted with a big cart boasting of bouquet’s of tulips, pots of ready to bloom hyacinth’s, and mini daffodils. I couldn’t just walk by and not get something. Flowers this time of the year are irresistible to me. A living plant with bright and cheery flowers to boot. That is also why I have a lot of indoor plants in my house. We all need a reminder from time to time that things are still alive when its the dead of winter.
So, back to this dish. This soufflé is filling and extremely satisfying. Anything with bacon in the title, I am instantly drawn to. Let me break this dish down for you. First, you make a buttery, flaky crust. Then, a mix of vegetables are seasoned and roasted in the oven until tender. Those vegetables are then mashed and mixed with a little left over bacon fat, chopped cooked bacon, egg yolks, and milk. Egg whites are whipped to form stiff peaks and are folded into the mashed vegetables to create a light and fluffy mixture. Shredded cheddar cheese is layered over the bottom of the pie crust and topped with the vegetable mixture, then baked to perfection. Talk about a killer savory pie. I served the pie wedges on a small bed of greens to balance the meal. This made a great lunch for the next day as well. So, if you are still suffering through snow on the ground and cold nights, then this dish should be moved to the top of your “to-make” list immediately.
Recipe heavily adapted from For the Love of Pie
For the crust
- 6 ounces (about 1 cup plus 6 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3-6 Tablespoons cold water
For the filling
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin half moons
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
- 1 medium red potato, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3-4 Tablespoons minced fresh chives
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
- To make the crust, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
- Coarsely grate 1 ounce of the butter and mix into the flour mixture with your fingertips until completely incorporated and has the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Cut the remaining butter into small cubs. Rub the cubed butter into the flour/butter mixture with your fingertips again until there are no pieces larger than peas. Try not to overwork the mixture, or it will result in a more dense crust instead of flaky. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the water. Work the crust with your fingers, mixing only until the dough holds together. Add more water if the dough is too dry, 1 tablespoon at a time. You don't want an overly wet dough, and it shouldn't be sticky.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a thick disk. Refrigerate for an hour before rolling and filling.
- When the dough has chilled, flour a work surface. Unwrap the dough and place it on the floured surface. Flour the top of the dough. Gently roll the crust with a rolling pin, starting from the center, then moving to the outer edges. Continue to roll around the crust, until you have formed a 12-13 inch circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch pie plate. Press the dough in around the edges, and crimp the top edges with your thumbs and pointer finger. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Slice the sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and red potato into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place in a large pan with 2-inch sides. Toss with the grapeseed oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until coated. Lay the rosemary sprigs over the top. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 50-60 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 400ºF, remove and discard the rosemary sprigs. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Fold in the milk and butter until completely combined. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Roughly chop the bacon and stir it into the vegetable purée, including the left over bacon grease from the pan. Mix in the eggs yolks, chives and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the vegetable mixture using a rubber spatula. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and sprinkle the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the cheese, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the filling top with cumin seeds. Brush the egg wash over the crimped edge of the pie crust. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the center is firm, browned and slightly puffed. Slice into wedges, serve hot with a side salad (if desired). Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.