Romantic souffles

Grand Marnier Soufflé … Flambéd

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Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult and requiring great culinary mastery. This simple recipe creates an amazing cloud of orange-y deliciousness in a sky-high ethereal dessert. Then, to make an impressive dessert even more amazing, we flambé it!

Cliff Notes: Preheat oven to 400°. Mix together 1/4 c sugar with the zest from 1/2 an orange. Coat the insides of two 1-cup ramekins with butter and the zesty sugar mixture. Separate 3 egg yolks and whites. Into the yolks, stir 2 tablespoons sugar, the zest of 1/2 an orange, and 3 ounces of Grand Marnier. Whip the egg whites until foamy, add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt and continue beating until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the yolks. Divide the mixture between the two ramekins and bake 15-18 minutes until golden and well-risen. While they bake, prepare the sauce by combining 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice with 3 Tablespoons of the leftover zesty sugar. Cook until the mixture has reduced by half. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of cold butter. After the soufflés come out of the oven, dust with powdered sugar, split the tops open and pour in melted vanilla ice cream, then add 1 ounce of Grand Marnier to the orange sauce. Carefully use a lighter to light the alcohol on fire; let it burn for 1-2 minutes, then slowly and carefully pour into the soufflés. Enjoy!

Make It Your Own:
– Swap the Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) for another flavor – Amaretto, Coffee Liqueur, or dark rum would all be delicious with the orange zest.
– Un-simplify it and make your own Cremé Angleise instead of my melted ice cream short cut.
– Or use a different flavor of ice cream!

Simplify It: The soufflés batter can be made the day ahead. After you’ve put it into the ramekin, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a day. Take it out of the fridge an hour before baking to allow the mixture to come up to room temperature, then bake as instructed … keep in mind they may not rise as high as the do when you bake them fresh. You can also make the orange sauce ahead, and then re-heat and flambé it as instructed.

Like most couples, in our relationship, my husband and I have shared favorites that remind us of times, events, and emotions that mean the world to us, and take us back in time. “Our” song is Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole; “our” movie is Casablanca; and “our” TV show is the British classic, “As Time Goes By.” Where we tend to differ, however, is in food favorites – he loves shellfish, I’ll almost always opt for steak; he loves creamy soups, I go for brothy; he chooses chocolate cake, I choose cremé bruleé … you get the idea. But the one dessert we 100% agree on is the Grand Marnier Souffle – it was served for dessert during our first anniversary dinner almost 30 years ago, and for both of us, it’s always symbolized elegance and romance.

If you’re not familiar with Grand Marnier, it’s a cognac flavored with bitter orange. It’s sweet, orange flavor is delicious splashed into an Old Fashioned cocktail or a margarita. But where I think it really shines is as an ingredient in desserts, like this souffle. Coincidentally, it is also typically the liquor that is used as the fuel source for flambé-ing a Crêpe Suzette.

Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult and have been the butt of many jokes in TV shows and movies, so I was incredibly intimidated about attempting to make one myself. However, once I finally took the plunge, I was shocked by how easy they actually are! There are a couple of small hints that will help you along the way, that are much easier to demonstrate in action than explain in writing, so before you try this recipe yourself, I do encourage you to click on the video and watch my process.

To serve a soufflé, the typical accompaniment is créme anglaise – a sweet, pourable custard. This is where I typically do a bit of a cheat, Intstead of making a créme anglaise, I melt a high-quality, vanilla ice cream and use that instead! Then, inspired by the shared ingredients, when I’m really, really wanting to impress, I make the orange sauce for Crêpe Suzette, flambé (ignite) it, and then as the flames die down, drizzle it into the souffle for an extra kick of bright flavors.

If you love orange flavors, and you’re looking to impress, and you LOVE Love, this is the dessert you simply must try. Just be sure to turn on the light in your oven so you can see the soufflé rise in action, then turn off the lights to see the flames!

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