Welcome back to the Shaw Academy kitchen! In this post, I’ll be sharing a mouth-watering recipe with you: the Grand Marnier soufflé. Soufflés have a reputation as one of those dishes that only the professionals would attempt, but this recipe is here to inspire you to make your own. Like a pro!
First, you probably want the low-down on what a soufflé is and how it works. Let’s jump right in.
What is a soufflé, Chef?
A soufflé is a French egg-based dish that can be sweet or savoury. When baked, air bubbles in the egg whites expand, causing the soufflé to rise up over the top of the dish, giving the dish its signature inflated look.
What does a soufflé taste like?
A sweet soufflé has a subtle egg custard flavour that is enhanced by any additional flavours you choose to incorporate in the recipe e.g. Grand Marnier. A savoury soufflé follows the same rules and method, but it uses bechamel or velouté as the base in place of pastry cream.
The best way to describe the texture of a soufflé is to imagine eating a cloud — a really tasty cloud that melts in your mouth, and all that remains is the crusty outer shell. Are you getting hungry?
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What makes a soufflé rise?
First, you need to understand each of the individual ingredients in order to understand how they all work together to contribute to this delicious specialty dish. Soufflé consists of a base made out of a stiff bechamel or velouté for savoury recipes and stiff pastry cream for sweet soufflés. The other main ingredient is egg whites that are whipped to stiff peaks and very carefully folded into the base. From this point, you can use any ingredient you wish to flavour your soufflé. In this recipe, Grand Marnier, which is an orange liqueur, is the chosen flavour.
When the egg mixture is baked in a 350°F (180°C) oven, the air bubbles trapped in the egg whites expand, making the soufflé rise. The heat also causes the proteins to stiffen, and along with the fat from the yolk, it forms a kind of scaffold that keeps the soufflé from collapsing. Pretty neat, right? And if that’s not enough, this particular recipe requires the soufflé to be flambéed at the end, so it becomes an even bigger crowd-pleaser.
Let’s get to the recipe then.
Grand Marnier soufflé recipe
Total time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Hard but worth it!
- Mixing bowls
- 4 soufflé ramekins or crème brûlée ramekins
- Mixing spoons
- Hand mixer
- Pastry brush
- Good attitude
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- ¼ cup corn-starch
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp. pastry cream per soufflé
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tbsp. sugar per dish
- 2 tots Grand Marnier per soufflé
Method for the pastry cream:
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and ¼ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg.
Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch, then stir them into the egg until smooth.
When the milk comes to a boil, add a few drops slowly to the eggs, whisking constantly.
Continue to drizzle the hot into the bowl of eggs in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs.
Once the egg mix is warm from the hot milk you can return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring it to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom. If you want to know why it’s important to temper the eggs first, you can find out in the Shaw Academy online cooking and baking course.
When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove it from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.
Method for the soufflé:
Preheat your oven to 356°F (180°C)
Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the soufflé ramekins with butter and then add a tablespoon of sugar to each ramekin. Turn the ramekin around in all directions so the sugar sticks to the butter. This is important if you want your soufflé to rise evenly. Set aside.
In a clean mixing bowl, add three tablespoons of pastry cream and add one shot for every three spoons added (one shot per soufflé) and mix well. Taste the mixture, and if you feel it’s under-flavoured, add a bit more until you’re satisfied. You don’t want the pastry cream to be too slack nor too hard.
Whip the egg whites until just before stiff peaks. As always, be careful not to bump the whites after this step.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the whipped egg whites and mix into the custard well. Then fold the remaining whites into the custard mix. I cannot stress enough how gentle you need to be. This is the difference between walking away like a champ and heavy disappointment.
Spoon the mixture gently into the buttered and sugared ramekins up to approximately half a centimetre from the top of the ramekin. If you find the rim of the ramekin hasn’t got butter and sugar, carefully brush and sugar the rim before adding the mixture.
Place your soufflé in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for about 14 to 15 minutes or until they start to go golden brown and have risen.
About 30 seconds before you take the soufflés out of the oven, you can heat the remaining Grand Marnier so it’s warm. This will make igniting it much easier.
Remove the soufflés from the oven very carefully. Place the soufflé gently on the table, and make sure everyone is watching you. This is the super impressive bit.
Use a teaspoon to make a hole in the top of the soufflé and pour in the Grand Marnier. Using a lighter, light the liquor, and watch your guests faces as the soufflé breathes up and down while flambéing.
Eat these bad boys immediately as soufflé waits for no person.
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