I can say that, without a doubt, fall is here. What tipped me off? It wasn’t the dropping temperatures, the red and orange beginning to speckle treetops and sidewalks, or the pop-up Halloween stores. No, I was alerted to fall’s presence by the annual descent of pumpkin mania. Spiced and hot beverages are advertised by every major coffee chain and accompanied by any imaginable pastry of the same flavor. Even several weeks ago, a trip to Trader Joe’s revealed an entire display of pumpkin related products, everything from oatmeal and cereal bars, to corn bread and pancake mix, all featuring fall’s favorite orange squash. As someone who keeps a fair amount of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin on hand throughout the year, I’m not complaining. That day I ended up leaving TJ’s with pumpkin flavored coffee, rooibos tea, and something called pumpkin butter that I’ve been smearing liberally on just about anything. While I don’t restrict my consumption of pumpkin-themed products to the fall months, I must say that it’s exciting when the rest of the world joins in. Why do we fall so hard for pumpkin every time the temperature starts to drop? Sure, the canned stuff takes center stage in grocery stores at this time, but it can usually be found in the baking aisle year round (trust me, I’ve been known to make up pumpkin soup in the middle of July). Part of it, I’m sure, comes from the idea of it being “seasonal” both agriculturally and socially in the way that we’ve assigned certain symbols, activities, and even feelings to specific times of year. And in this social construct, fall looks like piles of leaves, it feels like sweaters and high school football games, it smells like bonfires, and it tastes like pumpkin spice.
Here on campus most of us don’t have a lot of cooking supplies or feel like walking all the way to the end of the hallway to use the communal kitchen. If this is you, but you’d like to make yourself a little piece of the seasonal spirit, I have you covered. This recipe is super simple and pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Canned pumpkin is easy to find and pretty inexpensive. The liquid egg whites (or “egg substitute”) are a mini-fridge staple for me, simply because they’re really versatile and are a lot less messy than their shelled counterparts, but if you have real eggs on hand they should work just fine too. Use 1 whole egg for every ¼ cup of substitute and it should turn out, so without further ado I give you: Microwave Pumpkin Pie Soufflé
A microwave safe bowl or large mug
1 cup of pumpkin puree
½ Cup of liquid egg whites
Pinch of Salt
Cinnamon to Taste
*Place egg whites in bowl and whisk gently a few times with the fork.
*Add pumpkin and mix until the two are well incorporated with one another.
*Add in spices and mix in well.
*After everything is homogenous, place in the microwave for two minutes.
*Continue to microwave in two-minute increments until completely cooked. It should be “solid,” be sure to check the bottom, where uncooked egg likes to hide. The entire cook time is usually about ten to twelve minutes.
*Once cooked through, remove from microwave and let cool (it will be very hot).
*Once cool enough to eat grab a fork and enjoy!