The technique for preparing this individual squash souffle, rich with the flavors of orangeHokkaido squash and Gruyere cheese, is straightforward; it makes an elegant lunch with mixed greens.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter four 12-ounce ramekins, and line bottoms and sides with parchment paper. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the half-and-half, thyme, and bay leaf to a simmer. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Cover, and keep warm.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Whisking, add hot half-and-half in a slow stream; cook, whisking, until mixture has thickened, about 2 minutes.
Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in the squash puree, followed by the egg yolks and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper, and fold in the cheese; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt just until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into squash mixture in three additions. Spoon batter into ramekins. Bake until souffles stop rising and a cake tester inserted gently in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.
If you can't find orange Hokkaido squash, you can use butternut instead.