Made from cognac and bitter orange zest Grand Marnier is a beautiful liqueur with a stunningly ugly website. But before I had seen the website I wanted to make these souffles after finding a recipe in a book I had not opened for close on ten years: Georges Perrier's Le Bec-Fin, named after his velvet-carpeted Philadelphia restaurant. I have not eaten there. But I see that they have a $35 three course lunch, which would have to be the way to go. Also a happy hour between 5 and 7!
So his was the inspiration, or perhaps the weather was, but I changed the recipe to include whipped egg whites, to lighten it a little, orange zest, to brighten, and chocolate to undo everything that I just tried to achieve.
And if I make it again I will do worse: I will omit the egg yolks altogether and add some fresh orange juice, reduced to syrup. Why? Although pretty frothy, this was too heavy for my tongue and taste: The Frenchie loved the souffles, though, so if you adore egg creams, egg nog and anything triple cream (XXX) this may be for you.
Oh. And it's easy to make!
So, you need 6 little ramekins. And foil. Fold the foil three times so that it is three times thick, then curl it around each ramekin to make a raised collar. I secured each end with Scotch tape. The foil should make a collar about 2" taller than the top of the ramekin, as the souffle mixture will be piled up above the lip. Wax paper might work, too, but not I'm sure if the tape will stick to it. Perhaps elastic bands?
Now lightly coat the inside of the foil with vegetable oil.
The souffle as I made it:
You will need three large bowls.
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons Grand Marnier (you could substitute Triple Sec, which is similar but very different)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
8 egg whites
1 cup cream
3 Tablespoons finely grated dark chocolate, orange-flavoured (I used Lindt).
Whip the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture is very pale yellow and fluffy - about five minutes if you're whisking it by hand. By all means use a machine if you have one. Add the orange zest and the Grand Marnier and stir well.
Whip the cream till light and fluffy and able to hold a wave shape.
Whip the egg whites (with a very clean,dry whisk) until they can hold soft peaks. If they are too stiff and dry they break apart and cannot bland well into the other ingredients.
Spoon the cream into the egg yolk mixture, stirring and turning gently to incorporate it smoothly. Now add 1/3 of the egg whites, stir and turn, and add the rest. A spatula works well, here. Slice through the mixture, lift and turn it back into itself. This way you don't squash the important bubbles.
Lick the spatula.
Spoon the mixture gently into the ramekins, bringing it well above the ceramic lips. Freeze for at least three hours. If you are keeping them until the next day you should also cover them gently with plastic to prevent freezer burn and drying out.
Just before serving, pull off the foil gently, and dust the top of each souffle with the finely grated chocolate. You could also sift over high quality cocoa or hot chocolate powder.
I only photographed my souffle, which was the lowest of the bunch - the others were more impressive...