Serving hot soufflés is a sure way to impress your guests. But their reputation of being difficult makes many people nervous about making them.
In fact the only difficult part is making sure you get them from the oven to the table as quickly as possible, before they start to sink. Did you know that you can make them in the morning and leave them uncooked in the fridge all day? Don’t ask me why, but they don’t sink.
At serving time just stick them in a very hot oven and they will rise impressively above the rim of the dishes. Have your serving plates, icing sugar and sieve all ready and as soon as they come out of the oven it’s all hands on deck to get them to the table, as the guests say “Ooh aah” or words to that effect.
Butter and sugar for the dishes
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest (I used mandarin)
2 Tbs flour
¼ cup Grand Marnier
4 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
Butter four one-cup soufflé dishes, then coat the buttery sides with sugar, tipping out the excess. If baking straight away pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
Heat milk in a non-stick milk pan. In a small bowl mix egg yolks, sugar, orange zest, flour and Grand Marnier with a hand whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the hot milk and whisk to combine, then tip back into pan and return to heat. Cook gently, stirring constantly with a flat bottomed wooden spatula. As soon as custard thickens remove from heat and continue to stir briskly for 30 secs to ensure there are no lumps. Don’t over-cook or you will have scrambled eggs.
With electric beaters, whip egg whites and salt until stiff peaks, then add sugar and continue to whip to a stiff meringue. With a rubber spatula fold meringue thoroughly into custard, then divide between the soufflé dishes. It should come almost to the top. Place dishes on a biscuit tray so they are easy to put in the oven or fridge in one go.
Recipe can be prepared ahead to this point. Soufflés can be kept in the fridge for several hours. Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 mins until well-risen and golden. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with a dollop of thick cream.
Variations: Use Cointreau or another liqueur instead of Grand Marnier. For vanilla soufflés leave out the liqueur and add 2 tsp vanilla essence or the seeds from one vanilla pod. Cut the vanilla pod into 2-3 pieces and put in the milk while you heat it up, then discard.