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Grand Marnier Soufflé

Grand Marnier Soufflé
A soufflé, whose name derives from the French verb "to blow," is an airy concoction leavened by beaten egg whites and oven heat. Soufflés should be served directly from the oven, before they have any chance to deflate. The soufflé dish, a ceramic dish with tall, straight sides, is usually greased and then dusted with sugar (or, for savory soufflés, bread crumbs) to help the batter "climb" the sides of the dish. For some high-rising soufflés, a collar is fashioned out of parchment paper to give more support.

Ingredients:

For the pastry cream:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Crème anglaise for serving (see related recipe
      at left)

Directions:

To make the pastry cream, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the flour, orange zest and salt until pale and well blended. While whisking, slowly add the hot milk.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the liqueur and vanilla.

Pour the pastry cream into a large bowl and gently press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to bake.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 6-cup soufflé dish and dust with sugar.

Remove the plastic wrap from the pastry cream and whisk until smooth. In a deep, spotlessly clean bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy and soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. While beating, gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Scoop about one-fourth of the egg whites onto the pastry cream and, using a rubber spatula, fold in gently to lighten the mixture. Then fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Scoop into the prepared dish. Run a thumb around the inside rim of the dish to keep the batter from sticking and help the soufflé rise.

Bake until the soufflé is puffed and the top is browned, but the soufflé still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with the crème anglaise.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002).