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.