Sunday, March 23, 2008

Soufflé glacé à l'orange (Deep-frozen orange soufflé)

Frozen soufflé is not a true soufflé but a frozen mousse. It is a custard mixture usually thickened with gelatin and lightened with egg whites or whipped cream or both. Its presentation looks like a soufflé because the mixture is frozen in a soufflé dish that’s been wrapped with a tall paper collar so that it looks like a soufflé has risen out of the dish like a baked one.

I tasted an amazing frozen soufflé by one of the best chefs in our city, Stephen Vardy from Beckta (however, he’s no longer at this restaurant). It was a passion fruit soufflé and his recipe didn’t include gelatin or egg yolks so it was a bit simpler than the one below: Italian Meringue + passion fruit purée and a touch of lime + whipped cream. He served it in an espresso cup with raspberry gelato. Yum!

Italian Meringue
Meringue is simply sweetened egg whites. It’s more stable than meringue made with egg whites and spoonfuls of sugar. It is believed that an Italian baker named Gasparini from the Swiss town of Meiringen created meringue. There is more interesting history in this article.

When making meringue, superfine sugar is recommended since it dissolves faster, but I used regular sugar since I was making a sugar syrup. The heat of the syrup cooks the eggs and allows it to hold its shape much better than an uncooked meringue.

Use room temperature eggs to increase the meringue’s volume. To get stiff egg whites, the bowl must be free from grease and the whites must be free from any yolk. Stiff peaks mean the whites are glossy and very stiff, and the peaks are stiff enough to hold their shape.

Whipped Cream
Cream with 30%-36% fat can be turned into whipped cream by whisking it with air. Prepare whipped cream just before using since it won't stay whipped for very long. The cream should be cold when whipped to make sure it doesn’t collapse. Don’t overwhip the cream or it will curdle and separate. It should double in volume and form soft peaks.

Recipe for Soufflé glacé à l'orange

adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Dessert Techniques

2¼ teaspoons (1 7-ounce package) granulated gelatin
4-6 tablespoons water
½ cup water
1 cup sugar, divided
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
3 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

Prepare the ramekins or soufflé dishes. Cut strips of wax paper or parchment paper about 2½ inches wide. Wrap around the outside of the soufflé dish so that it comes about 1½ inches above the top. Tape in place.

Dissolve the gelatin in 2 tablespoons water until it’s spongy.

Combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan. Boil sugar to soft-ball stage (245°F). Heat the orange juice to boiling, cool slightly, and then dissolve the gelatin in it. Whisk the egg yolks with the orange rind and pour in the syrup in a thin stream, whisking continuously until the mixture is pale and creamy. Then, fold in the gelatin dissolved in the orange juice. (I had to leave this to go run an errand and when I came back the gelatin had set so much that I couldn't fold it in. I added a bit of boiling water to soften it again.)

Combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan. Boil sugar to soft-ball stage (245°F). Cool slightly. While boiling the sugar, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually whisk in the syrup to make an Italian Meringue. Whisk until cool (feel the bowl - it should be cool to the touch). The meringue should be firm and glossy and doubled in volume. (The first time I did this, I didn't cool the syrup and poured it in too fast. The egg whites collapsed and I was left with a liquid mess. The next time, I took it slower and it worked just fine.)

Whip the cream until thick, but not stiff. Fold it into the yolk mixture. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture.

Pour the soufflé mixture into each dish so it comes near the top of the waxed or parchment paper. Level the top with a spatula dipped in water. Chill for several hours or overnight until set.
Tasting Notes
This is a light dessert after a heavy meal. It can be served frozen or at room temperature like a mousse. There are lots of opportunities to play around with this recipe with flavorings and ingredients. I think orange is mild, but a dash or two of Grand Marnier would spark this up a bit.
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Running total: $252.69 + $5.01 = $257.70

Butter used so far: 4 pounds, 27.5 tablespoons


Anonymous said...

Wow! You really amaze me! The frozen souffle looks so fancy! Thanks for sharing =D

Anonymous said...

Wow - this looks amazing. I once had a chance to try Stephen Vardy's frozen soufflé as well. It was good but you've really nailed the presentation here as well. If it tastes as great as it looks, Stephen will have to start working harder!!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I saw this photo and had to stop by to say that I love the way you presented this dessert. Very nice work!

Frozen Food said...

thanks for nice recipes knowledge share..