Need help improving a family recipe

Hello, everyone!

I need help improving a cherished family recipe. My mother has made this specific carrot soufflé for Thanksgiving for years. She clipped the recipe from a magazine and has followed it religiously since it was published.

I’m looking to improve the recipe without evolving it beyond recognition. I’ve typed the recipe below. I’ve considered roasting whole carrots instead of using canned but this idea was met with great concern on my mother’s part lol. She usually tops the cooled soufflé with a light dusting of powdered sugar, so I’m hesitant to make it overly savory. I’m not sure where to start the recipe transformation. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

Carrot soufflé:
3 (15 ounce) cans sliced carrots, drained
1 stick butter, slightly melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until carrots are well blended.
Pour mixture into a greased casserole baking dish; bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. (Do not overbake.)
An 11x7x1 1/2-inch pan is perfect for this.

Courtcourt
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3 Comments

Lori T. November 17, 2022
I'm not sure what you wish to improve upon- aside from eliminating the canned carrots. In that case, I'd opt to steam or roast them from fresh and proceed from there. You could opt to remove an egg yolk, whip the whites stiffly, and fold them in at the end to help with lift. And you could use less butter, and a sugar substitute, or cut back on the amount of sugar- or use the brown sugar as drbabs suggested. But honestly, if this is a Thanksgiving side dish, you might do best to leave tradition mostly alone. There is a certain comfort in familiar foods prepared in the same old way, and if you are only eating them once a year- might as well indulge and cut back another day. Tweak it for more frequent eating, but prepare it special for the once yearly feast.
 
drbabs November 17, 2022
This reminds me so much of my mother's recipes, most of which came into being in the quick cook era of the 1960s. At the very least, I would roast or pan saute fresh carrots. You'll get much better flavor that way. Do you want to keep it sweet? I find cinnamon to be pretty one-note in sweet desserts, and find that the addition of a little freshly ground nutmeg gives more complexity without offending anyone's sensibilities. You could also substitute dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar. The slight bitterness of the molasses in dark brown sugar also adds complexity. Finally, The recipe will be better balanced (i think) with a generous pinch up to 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Good luck! I hope your mother likes it!
 
Nancy November 17, 2022
CourtCourt - a few reactions and questions.
With the already sweet carrots, sugar and seasoning like cinnamon & vanilla, this sounds more like a dessert than a vegetable side.
Is the desire to improve the recipe widespread or you only?
If widespread, maybe go ahead.
If you only, I would tread cautiously.
What do you think is lacking or could/should be improved?
 
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