Mini Grand Marnier Souffles
Served straight out of the oven, while they are still risen high above the sides of their ramekins, mini soufflés always impress when served at the end of a dinner party. And, although soufflés have a reputation as being difficult to make, they are much easier than most people realize. Just make sure that your mixer bowl and beaters are spotlessly clean before you beat your egg whites, and use a light hand when folding the egg whites into the pastry cream. You want to stop as soon as there are no white streaks remaining, and not a moment later.
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) milk
- 6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./77 g) of the granulated sugar, the flour, orange zest and salt until well blended and the mixture turns a shade paler. Continue whisking constantly as you slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture.
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 Grand Marnier and vanilla.
Pour the mixture 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. The mixture can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Let return to room temperature before using.
Preheat an oven to 375°F (390°C). Lightly butter eight 1/2-cup (4-oz./125-ml) ramekins, then coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess.
Remove the plastic wrap from the custard 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 (2 1/2 oz./77 g) granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Scoop about one-fourth of the egg whites into the custard 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 about 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) of the batter into each prepared ramekin, so that each is about three-quarters full. Run your thumb around the inside rim of each dish; this will help the soufflés to rise better.
Bake until the soufflés are puffed and the tops are lightly browned but the soufflés still jiggle slightly when the dishes are gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately. Serves 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen