Orange Soufflé with Grand-Marnier

Have you ever found yourself craving a dessert after a nice hearty meal on a cold winter day to realize you don’t have anything besides a few oranges in a basket? I love oranges, and there’s nothing wrong with simply slicing an orange for dessert but sometimes you feel like you’ve been working hard and therefore you deserve a little bit more. Or maybe what you need is to show off to your friends and loved ones sitting at the dinner table, a behavior often associated with err.. being French. That’s when my survival instincts usually kick in and i turn into the MacGyver of the kitchen: “Give me an orange, a fire extinguisher and a match and i’ll give you a soufflé. Watch!!” Not quite, but all it took to make this dessert was 6 oranges, a few eggs, some sugar, cornstarch, a splash of Grand-Marnier. Twenty minutes after having spotted the oranges on the kitchen counter these orange soufflés (baked in the orange skins) were on the table. I got my applause. Mission accomplished.

The bonus is that there’s no washing up to do. No soaking ramequins to get rid of the caramelized sugar sticking to the bottom. The orange skins go straight to the garbage can. Doesn’t seem like much but you’ll thank me later. Yes, yes, you will.

As challenging it can be to photograph a soufflé, i think those particular ones quite enjoyed being in the spotlight. As they came out of the oven i went into my usual panic mode to find my camera to snap a few shots only to realize a few minutes later those soufflés, while being softly set in the center as a good soufflé should be, just wouldn’t deflate. No air pump. No tricks. I love when food cooperates with me! I’m not sure if it’s because of the curve of the orange shell, the aged egg whites, or the sugar i sprinkled inside the shell that hardens on the inside and provides stability as well as sexiness in the mouthfeel department, but they wouldn’t go down. Is there a scientist in the room who could help me solve this mystery?

  • Orange Soufflé with Grand-Marnier

  • Serves 6
    • For the orange soufflés:
    • 6 large oranges
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/3 cup sugar +  2 tablespoons + more for sprinkling
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon Grand-Marnier
    • Powdered sugar
    • For the orange soufflés:
    • Cut the top part of each orange and a tiny sliver on the bottom so they can stand straight. Using a microplane grater, grate the zest from the top part and reserve. Squeeze the juice and reserve.
    • Empty the orange shells with a grapefruit spoon (making sure not to pierce the skin) and squeeze the inside through a strainer. Reserve the juice and discard the rest. Sprinkle some sugar inside the skins.
    • Preheat the oven to 400’F. Separate the eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in the orange juice. Place the mixture in a saucepan and heat over medium heat while stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove from the heat and add the zest and Grand-Marnier. Cool.
    • In a kitchenaid, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, gradually add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and keep whisking to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the orange cream until fully incorporated and fill the orange skins with the mixture. Flatten the tops with a spatula.
    • Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and golden on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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  • Xiaolu

    What a stunning dessert! I love the presentation using the orange shells and I must say the fact that these stay up longer makes me more inclined to make them. Definitely going on my to-bake list. Happy holidays!

  • Nina

    Heels teeth, this is NICE!!! Love the idea of no dishes!!!

  • Stacey Snacks

    He’s ALIVE!!!!

  • Bogna @Pots and Frills

    This is beautiful They look like lanterns with light beaming from inside. I also love desserts involving the combination of Grand-Marnier and natural orange. I am looking forward to your next post

  • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    These are absolutely inspired. I loved them when I saw them on Twitter and now I love them all over again. I am intrigued as to why they would not deflate. Never tried making soufflé with aged eff whites but this might just get me to try. So beautiful!

  • Nisrine | Dinners & Dreams

    Zen, this souffle looks very fancy especially baked inside an orange. I love the idea.

  • Haumea

    These look beautiful Chef. I will try this. Good to see you putting recipes and beautiful photos up. I love oranges too. Do you think it would work with Clementines? I know they are small but I have 2 boxes here. Just was curious. :-)

  • TS (eatingclub)

    Oh wow, what a great (and good-looking, and cleanup-free) presentation idea!

  • Anonymous

    This is so beautiful!!! Thank you for giving me something so lovely to look at (and crave) at the end of a busy day teaching my 2nd graders. Much needed moment of serenity…

  • Colloquial Cook

    Tes spatules ont des poignées ergonomiques?



  • eatGREEK

    it looks delicious! and your presentation is perfect!!! 😀

  • Oui, Chef

    Absolutely gorgeous AND ingenious! Great to see you back and nice to see you haven’t lost your touch….as if! – S

  • Sommer Collier

    That is truly brilliant! I’ve got to try this!

  • Adelina Badalyan

    I am so glad to hear from you! I missed your posts and your sense of humor!!! I am going to thank you now and not later :) Thanks for your genius spin on these. They look adorable. I love them!!!!

  • Heather

    Wow, how cool is that?? Love it.

  • Em

    I think your souffle didn’t fall because you are an amazing chef! But I’ll give it a try and let you know if it really is the orange.
    I like that there are only 6 ingredients in this recipe, too. :)

  • Cindy

    This looks so adorable,
    I just wanna eat the whole orange all in one bite!

  • Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot

    Beautiful! I love how you baked them in the orange skins.

  • summersher

    These are so cute in the orange peel…what a great idea! Made my first souffle a few weeks ago, and these might have to be my second attempt!

  • S. Stockwell

    Fabulous! We will be doing this soon.

  • Cakebrain

    Very pretty! I love the idea of the orange shells and they look so festive too!

  • Nontasha

    how can you make the orange cup doesn’t go brown? I realllyy love your dish presentation. perfect 10 with the souffle rise soo high..

  • Anonymous

    It cooks pretty quickly so the skins don’t have time to turn brown. Just a bit caramelized on the bottom. Thanks for your comment!

  • Becky

    Can you tell us a little more about the aged egg whites (or did I miss that conversation?)

  • Anonymous

    Egg whites become more liquid as they age (usually 7 days in the refrigerator but overnight at room temp’ works too). So they incorporate air more evenly when they’re whipped resulting in a smoother meringue which is particularly crucial when making things like macarons. Souffle are also more stable and rise higher when made with aged egg whites. In the old days in France, chefs would keep a bucket of egg whites out at all times. Not a practice that’s possible anymore with health department restrictions.

  • Jonny

    I wonder if there is some sort of collagen in the oranges that keeps the souffles all inflated? As you know, I am no scientist, but I do know that wanting to impress friends and family is not just a French thing, though making orange souffles (rather than encouraging your guests to neck shots of homemade gin) is somewhat more refined than the English approach.

  • dinah

    Nice! I gave this a trial run this evening and it was very good. It’s light, easy, and inexpensive. I filled the oranges in the afternoon, refrigerated them and put them in the oven about three hours later. No problem. However, my oranges were maybe too juicy. When I make it again I’ll use less juice and maybe a bit more Grand Marnier. Also, I figured you had baked the tops, as the edges appear brown. Mine didn’t color at all, and weren’t nearly as pretty. Is there a trick to making the tops flat and browned at the edges? Thanks for a lovely recipe.

  • Stella

    Nice job! I really like your blog :)
    question: can you also use Limoncello, instead of the Grand-Marnier?

  • ciao chow linda

    I’ve made cold orange souffles in the orange shell, but this hot version is a show-stopper.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely! It would be great.

  • Anonymous

    Good point about the amount of juice. It might have to be adjusted since oranges are more or less juicy. And every oven varies, so if yours didn’t color maybe you can raise the temperature a little or bake them a little longer until they do. All you have to do to get a flat top is to flatten the batter with an offset spatula so they raise evenly. Also, be careful not to over whip the egg whites.

  • Mark

    You make me look like a culinary genius! Made these for Christmas dessert everyone loved them, and marveled at my cooking abilities, so Thank you for that. Some were alittle too successful as they got too big and toppled, a little less custard next time me thinks.

  • Alexisstjohn

    can’t wait to make these. i work as a yacht chef and prepping in advance is key. could i make these a day ahead and refrigerate?

  • Anonymous

    You could prepare the orange skins and the custard a day ahead but i would recommend to whip and fold the egg whites not more than a few hours before serving.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad! Thanks for trying the recipe.

  • Shirley@kokken69

    And who says you need a ramekin for soufflé??!! And you don’t even need to butter the inside of the orange! I have to make this!

  • Cook Kath

    Is the Grand-Marnier necessary? I’m planning to make this fantastic dessert in a few nights and just want to be sure. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    The Grand-Marnier is absolutely optional!

  • Ginny Burnight

    A couple of questions for Zen… Since “large oranges” can vary in size and juiciness, would you please translate to how many ounces of juice? (I plan to make these for a fancy dinner on 2/1/11!) Also, I really like that this dessert can wait in the fridge for 3 hours before baking. But if they were put from the fridge into the over, they would be pretty cold and need more time, which is probably why they were not brown (and maybe why they were “too juicy.”) for one respondent. Wouldn’t they be better taken out fo the fridge an hour before baking? But would that keep the egg whites high? Thank you.. Ginny

  • Koager

    A year later but the reason as to why the souffle didn’t deflate is because of the orange juice. Neutral and slightly acidic elements have more stable bubbles. Egg whites are around ph8 which makes them basic. The orange juice downs the ph level and thus allowing the bubbles to become more stable.

    Back on topic, these are adorable and I am planning to make them soon!

  • Caroline Ford

    I”ve made these several times now – the most ambitious being for a dinner party for 14 people. I’ve gone back to using ramekins with grease-proof paper collars and use slightly more corn flour. I make them the day before and cook straight from the fridge. Practice first for an important event but they’re BRILLIANT!!

  • Jude Wilkins

    Yes, I AM a scientist! I’d be more than glad in the name of science to explain the chemistry behind this! …but I feel it’s important to properly replicate the recipe *precisely* which is why you must fly out here bringing plenty of Grand Mariner (in order to repeat the experiment enough times to know it will always come out delicious).

    Okay, I lied but I’m almost a scientist …sort of. Dang, now I have to go out to buy some Grand Mariner. Would Cointreau work too?