When the instructions in this week’s souffle recipe read, “Serve immediately,” Dad followed that to the letter, spooning the fluffy finished product out of the dish so fast, that I wasn’t able to catch any still shots before cutting into it. But I got video!

Grand Marnier Souffle
from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 6-8
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons sifted cocoa powder
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
5 large eggs, separating out and reserving the egg whites.
1 tablespoon grated orange zest from 1 medium orange
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2-quart porcelain soufflé dish with 1 tablespoon butter, making sure to coat all interior surfaces. Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cocoa in small bowl; pour into buttered soufflé dish and shake to coat bottom and sides with thick, even coating. Tap out excess and set dish aside.

2. Whisk flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk, whisking until smooth and no lumps remain. Bring mixture to boil over high heat, whisking constantly until thickened and mixture pulls away from sides of pan, about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into medium bowl; whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until combined. Whisk in yolks until incorporated; stir in orange zest and Grand Marnier.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1 teaspoon sugar at medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frothy and no longer translucent, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, sprinkle in half remaining sugar; continue beating until whites form soft billowy peaks, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running, sprinkle in remaining sugar and beat until just combined, about 10 seconds. The whites should form soft peaks when beater is lifted, but should not appear Styrofoam-like or dry.

4. Using rubber spatula, immediately stir one-quarter of beaten whites into soufflé base to lighten until almost no white streaks remain. Scrape remaining whites into base and fold in whites with balloon whisk until mixture is just combined, gently flicking whisk after scraping up side of bowl to free any mixture caught in whisk. Gently pour mixture into prepared dish and run index finger through mixture, tracing circumference about 1/2-inch from side of dish, to help soufflé rise properly. Bake until surface of soufflé is deep brown, center jiggles slightly when shaken, and soufflé has risen 2 to 2 1/2-inches above rim of dish, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

This one was fun and surprisingly easy. The anxiety behind souffle making is that one cannot make any noise while it’s baking for fear it will collapse in on itself, deflating like a withering balloon. But this America’s Test Kitchen recipe has a secret weapon. The cream of tartar added supplies a small amount of strength to the batter. After watching this episode, Dad learned that we only needed to be as quiet as we could for the first 15 minutes of the baking time. After that, we could feel free to clatter and clang about the kitchen as much as we wanted with little fear of souffle destruction.

Since it was just the two of us, we cut the recipe ingredients in half, but I doubt the original intended 6-8 servings would really serve that many people. Cutting the recipe was just enough for me and Dad. The flavor is very light and the slightly browned crust holds the orange flavor of the zest and liquor very well. It’s just enough sweetness. It’s consistency reminded me that of bread pudding or a mushier quiche.

The preparation is definitely the hardest part. Measurements and consistency of liquid ingredients have to be just right for everything to work out. Although I don’t doubt this would be a crowd pleaser, it’s probably too stressful to prepare fresh while your guests are waiting in the other room patiently with their coffee. Dad found another recipe for Chocolate Souffles from ATK that we’ll have to try. That batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to bake and serve.