Hi there! If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of how talented Prerna is…at cooking, blogging, photography…you name it! And not only that. She’s also an amazing mother, wife, and a lovely person all-around. I know I’m preachin’ to the choir, but preparing this post brought back memories of my 1st encounter with Indian Simmer. I don’t recall exactly how I wandered here, but I know the post that started it all for me: her falooda kulfi. Even now I can still feel my excitement growing as I scrolled from one stunning photo to the next. What gorgeous light…and skillful styling! I could practically taste the nutty flavors and feel the cool creamy kulfi melting in my mouth.
Eagerly I turned to her older posts, certain I’d find the hefty archives of a seasoned blogger. But that wasn’t the case — Indian Simmer was just a baby, barely 6 months old! Needless to say I was so impressed I subscribed right then, and every post from Prerna since has made me evermore glad I did. I hope you feel my full sincerity when I tell you what an honor it is to be posting here today for Prerna and for you all. Thanks so much for having me!
The treat I’m sharing today is the love child of my fondness for fresh seasonal fruit (especially citrus) and my obsession with cute, innovative ways to serve food. While these orange soufflés baked right in their shells fit my criteria for blog-worthy desserts perfectly, it’s Chef Stephane of Zen Can Cook who deserves all the credit for coming up with such a creative presentation. Never one to leave a good thing alone, I did add some small twists of my own. Most notably, I swapped out a small portion of the orange juice for milk, resulting in a hint of orange creamsicle flavor in the resulting soufflé. For me this was an improvement. But if you prefer to enjoy your orange desserts without the distraction of dairy, feel free to simply use more orange juice instead of milk.
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I like to be honest about my failures and share the lessons I learned from them. So here’s the truth: I made these soufflés 5 times over 3 days before I got them right. And it was the same problem each time. The soufflés would rise too quickly then collapse and overflow. Though I knew I’d used too much juice the 1st time, I immediately jumped to trying other batter recipes, batter amounts, and baking temperatures rather than ironing out the kinks in the original. It was only after the 4th failure that I realized I’d been using too large oranges the whole time. So what can did I learn (and what can you learn) from my mistakes? (1) Finding recipes with exact measurements and really following them is usually critical with baking, especially desserts as delicate as soufflés; (2) when a recipe isn’t working, try to identify what went wrong before jumping around to other recipes as you may have made a technical error that will sabotage those results as well; and (3) have a sense of humor even if things don’t go as planned. My fallen soufflés were still delicious. Tasting them motivated me to get it right, which allowed me to share this with you. Whether you make these to impress your friends or yourself ;p, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
6 medium oranges (about 2 1/2 inches wide)
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar PLUS 2 Tbsp sugar, and more for sprinkling
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup milk [not skim]
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur OR defrosted orange juice concentrate
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar, to serve
Cut off the top part of each orange (about 3/4-inch) and a tiny sliver from the bottom so the oranges can stand straight. Using a microplane grater, grate the zest from the top part. Reserve 2 teaspoons for this recipe, then freeze the rest for another use. Empty the orange shells with a grapefruit spoon (making sure not to pierce the skin). Press the orange flesh through a strainer. Measure out 1 cup of juice for this recipe. Set orange shells on a large baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Dry orange shells if damp and lightly grease the insides with softened butter. Sprinkle bottoms and sides with excess sugar. Shake out extra.
Separate the eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in the orange juice and milk. 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, Grand Marnier, and salt. Let cool completely.