Gluten Free French Grand Marnier Souffle

I learned how to make soufflés at Le Cordon Bleu.  The most memorable part of the class was sneaking shots of Grand Marnier with my classmate while the Chefs weren't looking!  A soufflé, from the French verb "to blow," is an airy cake leavened by beaten egg whites and oven heat. Soufflés should be served directly from oven to table, or else they will deflate. The soufflé dish, a ceramic dish with tall, straight sides, is usually greased and then dusted with sugar to help the batter rise up the sides of the dish.  Check out my recipe for gluten free Chocolate Soufflé here!

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup milk
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. Blends by Orly Sydney Blend
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat: Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly butter or oil a 6-cup soufflé dish and dust the sides and bottom with granulated white sugar, tipping out the excess sugar.  To make the pastry cream, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Mix: In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the Sydney Blend, orange zest and salt until pale and well blended. While whisking, slowly add the hot milk.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly so that you don't cook the eggs, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Grand Marnier and vanilla.  Pour the pastry cream into a large bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to bake.

Beat: Remove the plastic wrap from the pastry cream and whisk until smooth. In a  clean and dry bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy and soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. While beating, gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  Scoop about one-fourth of the whisked egg whites onto the pastry cream and, using a rubber spatula, fold in gently to lighten the mixture. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites.  Then fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain.

Bake: Divide the soufflé mixture evenly between the ramekins and smooth with a spatula.  Run your thumb around the inside rim of the ramekin to open a 5 mm channel, which will allow the soufflé mixture to rise cleanly and evenly during cooking.  Bake until the soufflé is puffed and the top is browned, but the soufflé still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.