Orange soufflé

Who doesn't love the theatrics and taste of a soufflé?  I still remember times when I've had it for dessert when eating out.  My husband and I had the best ones at The Four Seasons Restaurant and La Grenouille in New York City and we still talk about it now and then.
Thanks to this blog, I learned to make soufflé at home.  Back in 2011, I started with a lemon soufflé.  It wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined and it was delicious - it's one of those things that kind of melts in your mouth and disappears quickly.  And I gradually moved on...and tried chocolate soufflé (with orange crème anglaise)a chocolate version with Grand Marnier, as well as a plain Grand Marnier one.

I've had different degrees of success.  Over-whipping the egg whites seems to be my major problem but honestly, when you're not a professional or under the pressure of serving them to paying guests, imperfect soufflés are still really good!  I don't know how restaurants manage to bring soufflés to the table while they're still tall and lofty; my attempts at home start deflating seconds out of the oven.
An orange soufflés flavored with orange zest, fresh orange juice, and Grand Marnier
When wintertime rolls around and the holidays approach, I tend to think about soufflés a lot.  While I love to make and eat them, and I do make the ones I mentioned above occasionally, trying to photograph them to blog about is not so fun. But I was craving soufflé, particularly after looking through a holiday magazine and spotting an orange one (evidently, I have a thing for orange when it comes to soufflé), so I made it and tried to take some pics along the way.

These soufflés rose and rose steadily in the oven, but this is the first time they've cracked as much as they did.  Maybe I over-whipped my whites again, or I was too liberal with my liquid measurements, throwing in a little extra orange juice the way I did?  I'm not sure, to be honest, and as much as I love a "neat" soufflé, there's something kind of endearing about a sloppy, overflowing one as well.  I think so, anyway.
I love digging right into the center with a spoon.  It's steaming hot and so light and pillowy soft inside.  It really is like eating some sort of sweet eggy clouds.  In this case, these were bursting with orange flavor.  A warm soufflé is really good with a cold crème anglaise sauce as a contrast but even without it, they are surely divine just on their own.
My husband and I devoured these.  So I've indulged my soufflé craving, for now...


Oftentimes, making a soufflé is basically a two-part process of making a quick pastry cream or custard and folding in separately whipped egg whites.
The base of this one is made with milk, sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks, flavored with fresh orange zest, juice, and some Grand Marnier (orange) liqueur, and finished with a smidgen of butter.
Since I'm working with small volumes, I whipped the two egg whites by hand, hoping that will prevent over-whipping on my part.  I find that if the whites are over-whipped (to the point where they start to clump and break), it actually prevents the soufflé from rising much in the oven.
This is how it looked once the two parts were combined.  Now on to portioning into individual ramekins.  Can I tell you...this part always trips me up a bit because I often want to make individual size soufflés while recipes will dictate some specific size or other that doesn't work for me.  In this case, for instance, the recipe (which I halved) was supposed to be baked in a 9 1/2 inch glass pie dish!

I didn't want to make a big soufflé so I portioned it out into two 8-oz ramekins. Ramekin capacities always confuse me (I wish they were permanently labeled on to the dishes); mine would be 8-oz. if filled to the brim.  I like to butter and then coat the inside of the ramekin with granulated sugar. 
Then I realized I had a little more batter leftover so I filled that into another, smaller (about 6-oz.) ramekin, shown below.  The "extra" soufflé might not seem like it had much height but since it was only about 3/4 of the way filled, it lifted quite a bit in the oven.
After filling the two larger ramekins, I took the extra batter I had and made this third soufflé, filling a smaller ramekin about three-quarters of the way
As for the other two, larger "main" soufflés, I grabbed them from the oven as fast as I could, dusted them quickly with powder sugar, ran them to the table, and was relieved I didn't break or drop anything in the process.  A few quick snaps of the camera and then my husband and I sat down for a little soufflé break one recent afternoon.  Now that's the life!

Recipe:

Orange Soufflé
Adapted from this recipe from Gourmet, featured in Gourmet Holiday Baking magazine, 2015-2016

- For two 10-ounce ramekins (quantity can depend on size of ramekin you use; I used two 8-oz. ramekins and filled the remainder in a smaller container) - 

1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and more for ramekins
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/2 tablespoon butter, plus more for ramekins
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
2 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter the inside of the ramekins and coat with granulated sugar, tapping out the excess.  Place on top of a baking sheet and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch and zest to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly.  Boil, whisking, for another minute. Remove saucepan from the heat and whisk in butter, orange juice and Grand Marnier until butter is melted.  Then, whisk in the egg yolks.  Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Beat egg whites with the salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer (or by hand using a large whisk like I did).  Whip until they just hold soft peaks.  Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, whisking, until egg whites just reach stiff peaks.

Fold one-fourth of the whites into the egg yolk mixture.  Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites until incorporated.  Divide mixture among the prepared ramekins, filling nearly to the top and smoothing it evenly.  Run your thumb along the inside rim of the ramekins (this is supposed to help the soufflé rise more evenly).  Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately (as soufflés will start to deflate quickly once removed from the oven).







40 comments:

  1. Wow Monica - If these are not perfect, then imperfection is the way to go - they are beautiful with lots of character and gorgeous colors. I can only imagine how wonderful they are to eat! Devour may be just the right term for what I would do to these!

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    1. You're too nice, Tricia! They tasted great and I loved the color, too...but no where near perfect, which is okay with me. : ) I once had a souffle that was so stable and firm at this restaurant that they were able to divide it into 2 portions to serve on separate plates for my husband and I to share! If I tried to do that, it would ooze all over the place at home! : ) I think I took a straight rising souffle for granted but these crazy-looking ones had its own kinda charm, I think. : )

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  2. It looks so puffy and perfectly perfect, Monica. You certainly did an outstanding job!

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    1. Aww...thanks. I feel like I managed and I really loved the sweet orange flavor of it.

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  3. Wow, I'm so impressed! You took soufflé's pictures!!!! Bravo:)

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    1. LOL! So true...the picture-taking was the hardest part! I think I'm more impressed that I didn't break anything, drop anything onto the floor, and took a few relatively decent pics of them in time.

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  4. Hi Monica, you have really mastered souffles, these really look delicious, what a treat!

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    1. Thanks Cheri but I clearly just bumble along. One thing I realized is regardless of missteps and imperfections, they still taste really good! Souffles are a treat, I agree. : )

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  5. I've never actually made souffle and now I am totally craving it, too. I like that you made smaller ones with the extra batter. The smaller size desserts always get me, because they are so cute! (And I use the size as an excuse to eat more) :)

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    1. Souffles (unless chocolate or cheese) are so "light" that you really would need at least 2 small ones! : ) They are a real special treat.

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  6. Your souffles are stunning! They're so technical- amazing job :)

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  7. Soufflés are one of those things I have been meaning to try at home for the LONGEST time! I've had a handful of really amazing ones at restaurants and I'd love to be able to make them myself! This orange one looks fantastic Monica!!

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    1. You can definitely make them...just trying to time the photography and all (if you want to blog about it) is kind of annoying. ; )

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  8. I actually really like the look of your souffles with the crackly surface. What a yummy creation!

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    1. Same here. I wasn't expecting them to spread and crack that much...they rose straight up at first...but then I realized I kinda liked them like that! : )

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  9. What a lovely flavour. There are a couple of little tricks to souffles-all learned through much trial and error. I remember the first time I made them, I had heard that noise deflated them so everyone had to be quiet! :P

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    1. Definitely tricks and some nuance with each recipe. Tastes so good though and no need to be quiet to bake or eat them. ; )

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  10. I have never made a souffle and I think yours are gorgeous! They look so fluffy, light and I love the crackly surface! I can just imagine how wonderfully fresh and delicious these orange ones are :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Kelly. The lemon or orange flavors are so good, if you don't go the chocolate route. ; P

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  11. This is one reason why souffle has not appeared on my blog yet, photographing them is such a headache! Your orange souffle looks so soft and fluffy and delicious!

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    1. Yes, it is a bit of a headache and once you think about it, you tend to want to forget about it! They are very tasty though. : )

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  12. Omg! I would love to dig into this souffle! Looks so perfectly risen and yummy!

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    1. Thank you..I love the moment of putting my spoon right into the warm center, seeing that steam and then taking a taste. So sweet and flavorful yet light and gone so fast...

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  13. LOVE these! Monica, you nailed these souffle! They rose perfectly! I bet they were super soft and fluffy. I think citrus souffle is the best. Light and fragrant. After looking at your photos, I really want a hot souffle now. ;)

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    1. Thank you! I always, always start thinking and craving souffles around this time when the weather turns. Winter = Souffles to me and I got a head start. My craving is good, for now. : )

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  14. This is such an amazing looking souffle, Monica. Love how fluffy and delish it looks. Citrus flavored souffles are the best. YUMMY!

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    1. Thanks, Anu. It's the little things in life and I definitely appreciate a souffle from the kitchen.

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  15. This looks absolutely perfect!!! I have never been brave enough to try a souffle at home!

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    1. Thank you, Ashley. It's such a treat to have it out but it's actually not "hard" to make at home. : ) Hope you're having a nice weekend.

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  16. Your souffles are gorgeous, Monica. Maybe you have something symmetrical as your ideal. But, your puffy, overflowing beauties are "rustic" (if something as glamorous as a souffle can be rustic) which has an appeal that makes it seem approachable as well as overflowing with delicousness. I can imagine the smell of orange filling your house as these baked. I am always amazed at how willing (and talented) you are to tackle recipes that many (i.e. ME) would be intimidated by!

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    1. Thanks so much, Wendy. You are too kind. I think I've really thrown off the need for "perfection" these days so I can try things if I feel the urge even if I'm not sure how it'll turn out. : ) And honestly, things seem to taste pretty good even if they don't come out looking the way they do in a magazine. : )

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  17. Ahh! I really am loving your writing style and of course, your baking style! This looks delicious and mouth watering!

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    1. Very kind of you, thank you, Pamela. : )

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  18. You got me so excited to try this one very soon! The citrus flavor for sweets is what I enjoy these days (or maybe years)... Not so crazy about chocolate as much (getting old?). Love the fluffy top! You got all my attention!! Two thumbs up!!!

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    1. Hi Nami - thank you! I am still huge on chocolate but after that, I love simple cakes, cookies, desserts infused with some light, sweet, fresh citrus. I'm totally with you!

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  19. I tend to like all things citrusy and your orange soufflés sound quite wonderful. All your tips are most welcomed as I never tried to make them before. I remember being in restaurants where it was always required to order a soufflé when ordering your dinner so that the timing would be prefect for presentation. I can imagine what would happen if they had to photograph them before sending them out to the table.

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    1. You're so right about needing or pre-order those souffles! Thank you for your kind words...I'm happy to share my "tips" but given my somewhat unpredictable souffle results, it's more like my experiences and what I've read to be helpful anyway! : )

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  20. Its so beautiful and perfect. Loved it!

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