To all who are celebrating love today, happy Valentine's Day! In my line of work I am lucky to be surrounded by love every day, and that never grows old.
My husband and I have gotten away from exchanging gifts (today is our 10th Valentine's Day together!), but I'll use any excuse to bake a fancy dessert, so I thought I'd share the recipe for the Grand Marnier soufflés I decided to make to celebrate this day of love.
I first had this soufflé at Gary Danko here in San Francisco and have been dreaming about it ever since. Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult to make but the key is just to prep all your ingredients in advance and wait to put them in the oven until you are ready to eat them - there's nothing more sad than a fallen soufflé!
Adapted from a Gourmet recipe on Epicurious.com.
Grand Marnier Soufflés with Warm Chocolate Sauce
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter plus additional for buttering ramekins
1 cup sugar plus additional for coating ramekins
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
7 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon orange oil
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
8 large egg whites
1 large bar bittersweet baking chocolate
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter eight 1-cup (3 1/2 x 2-inch) ramekins and coat with sugar, knocking out excess sugar.
In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan melt 3/4 stick butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from sides of pan. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool 5 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together yolks, vanilla, oil, and a pinch salt, and whisk in milk mixture and Grand Marnier, whisking until smooth.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in 1 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat meringue until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk about one fourth meringue into yolk mixture to lighten and with a rubber spatula fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.
Spoon batter into ramekins, filling them just to rim, and arrange ramekins at least 1 1/2 inches apart in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins and bake soufflés in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until puffed and tops are golden.
While soufflés are baking, melt bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat and keep warm.
Remove pan with soufflés from oven and transfer ramekins to dessert plates. With 2 forks pull open center of each soufflé and pour in melted chocolate. Enjoy immediately!