I heard the Brahma that morning. She squawked, squawked, and squawked. I could hear her from inside the house… clear on the opposite side of the property. When Mr. RGBistro brought in the GIANT egg, I understood right away. Ouch is an understatement; the rock weighed in at 105 grams. (A typical large-sized egg is 56 grams.)
Scrambling the eggs for breakfast seemed so thankless and insignificant for such a gift. But I didn’t know what else to do with it. So for three weeks, the giant Brahma egg stared at me from the kitchen counter… in all its bulbous glory, tempting me to crack it open. Every morning, I thought long and hard about how I’d make it up to her. Damn, she did good. Now what do I do?
Enter Mr. RGBistro’s birthday, a celebratory occasion. After all, he is turning thuh-tee wuhn, agaaaiiin. (Not really.) I don’t know what you do when it’s your beloved’s birthday, but I always make a big fuss. Are you familiar with The Five Love Languages? I’m the gift-giver. This year, I treated my sweetheart to an underground jazz concert in the Hollywood Hills. The venue: a private home. The artists: Grammy winners. He had no idea what we were doing until we were seated in the foyer. And then the band played a tune he had hummed to himself for over 30 years. Thirty years!!! Turns out, the guitar player wrote that song in the 70s. I may have won Wife of the Year Award for that one.
But that was Sunday, and the big day was Wednesday. How do you top a bad-ass jazz concert? And what do you do with the giant Brahma egg that’s STILL perched on the counter? With a Grand Marnier soufflé, that’s what. And you top it off with a little crème Anglaise. Because over-the-top is how we celebrate birthdays around here.
Grand Marnier Soufflé with Crème Anglaise
A celebration-worthy dessert; this sweet, airy cloud of a soufflé is dressed up with Grand Marnier for a splash of citrusy decadence. Right out of the oven, pry it open with two matching forks, pour in some crème Anglaise, and enjoy immediately. Special equipment needed: A small sieve, eight 6-ounce ramekins and two 9×13 baking pans.
~ Serves 8 ~
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 45 grams (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
- 60 grams (¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon) sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) butter
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier liquer
- Butter, for greasing ramekins (approximately 1 tablespoon)
- Sugar, for sprinkling (approximately ¼ cup)
- 5 large egg whites
- 20 grams (1 ½ tablespoons) sugar
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- Rinse the inside of a nonaluminum saucepan with water and shake out the excess water. Pour in the milk, place over medium-low heat and cook until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolk and sugar and whisk just until blended. Gradually whisk in half of the hot milk, then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Set over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not allow it to boil.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Makes about 2 cups. Next:
- For the soufflé base: In a small saucepan, combine the flour and sugar. In another small pan, bring the milk to a simmer. Slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth. This won’t take long, and the mixture will already be thick. Place over medium heat and stir in the butter, then the egg yolks, one at a time, then the Grand Marnier. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl with spatula, and allow to cool. (Note: if making ahead, stop here. Continue onto step 5 when ready to cook and serve. Just remember to bring to room temperature before continuing.)
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil; keep at simmer.
- For finishing: Heat oven to 425 degrees. If you have a choice, do not use the convection option, as the top will brown before the centers are cooked. Butter the interiors and outer rims of eight 6-ounce soufflé dishes. Generously sprinkle the buttered areas with sugar, tapping out any excess. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually beat in the sugar. Continue to beat just until the whites are stiff but not dry; do not overbeat. With a rubber spatula, fold a large spoonful of the beaten whites into the soufflé base, then fold the base into the remaining whites just until blended.
- Divide the mixture among the prepared dishes, filling to about 1/4 inch from the top. Run a knife around the inside edge of each dish to about halfway down to release the batter from the side of the dish.
- Place the dishes in two 9×13 baking pans, and add enough simmered/hot water to the pans to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the dishes. Bake until the soufflés are well risen and lightly browned, about 13 minutes. Serve immediately. Note: pry the center of the soufflé apart with two forks and fill the hole with crème Anglaise at the table just before eating.
- Crème Anglaise: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/creme-anglaise.html. Slightly modified by the RGB.
- Grand Marnier Soufflé: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/dining/grand-marnier-souffle-recipe.html. Slightly modified by the RGB.
Other recipes consulted:
- Epicurious: Grand Marnier Soufflés with Crème Anglaise
- Zen Can Cook: Orange Soufflé with Grand Marnier (Note: Try using oranges instead of ramekins next time.)
Proof that you can freeze crème Anglaise and turn it into ice cream: http://ruhlman.com/2009/04/vanilla-sauce-in-black-and-white/
Bistro Eats is a collection of recipes we think could work in a bistro setting, i.e. the brick and mortar Rustic Garden Bistro. Click on this category to see a snippet of what the menu may look like.