Orange Cup Soufflés
When the weather is coldest here in the Berkshires, you know it’s the season for citrus fruits. The bright juicy fruits add color and a good dose of Vitamin C to our diets. It’s time to try something new – adding a bit of color and excitement to your desserts.
Many folks shy away from making soufflés because they had heard horror stories of the soufflé collapsing or failing to rise. It’s really not a difficult recipe –you make the base, fold in whipped egg whites and bake. But there are a few “secrets” that help ensure your soufflé will be a light airy treat. To make the presentation even more spectacular, we bake the soufflés in individual oranges – less dishes to wash and a bright lovely dessert! You can simply dust the orange cups with confectioner’s sugar, add a little piece of dark chocolate or even dust with a little edible gold-leaf to add sparkle to a holiday table.
Here are some tips:
Use fresh, room temperature eggs. The eggs will whip up much better if they are not cold, so take them out and let them sit in a bowl until you’re ready to crack them, separate them and whip them.
Be extremely careful when you are separating the eggs. You don’t want any specks of yolk (fat) in with the whites or they will not whip up properly and you’ll have to start all over. For the same reason, use an impeccably clean bowl for whipping the egg whites – any residue of grease or fat will prevent the egg whites from beating into a foam. Adding in a little acid (cream of tartar) will help stabilize the egg whites.
Do not overfold! One of the most important ingredients in a soufflé is AIR. When incorporating the egg whites into the orange mixture, gently fold in the white only until the streaks of white disappear. You might feel like you are under-mixing the ingredients, but you don’t want to deflate the mixture so less is best.
Although you can make this soufflé with a variety of oranges, I’ve found that the most delicious are the blood oranges. Their slightly more astringent flavor is a great counterpoint for the soufflé and you can’t beat the dark ruby color for effect!
• 4 large navel oranges , 6 Honeybell oranges, or 8 blood oranges
• ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 3 large eggs (at room temperature), separated
• 1 tablespoon orange marmalade, with any large pieces of orange finely chopped
• Pinch of cream of tartar
• Confectioners’ sugar and pieces of chocolate, for serving
You will need a small bowl and two medium bowls
Preheat oven to 400°.
To make the oranges stand up on their own, carefully trim an extremely thin slice off the bottom.
Cut a 1-inch slice off the top of each orange and reserve.
Using a small paring knife or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the flesh/segments of the orange into a bowl and set aside. Continue hollowing-out the oranges, removing the white pith, but do not pierce the skin.
Using a microplane or fine grater, grate 1 tablespoon of rind from the orange tops and set aside. Discard remaining tops.
Squeeze the juice from the reserved flesh/segments and strain into a bowl. Measure ½ cup of the juice into a small saucepan (save the rest of the juice for another use – like breakfast!). Stir in 2 tablespoons of the sugar, orange marmalade, and rind into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, constantly whisking, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch and remaining sugar until smooth. While continuing to whisk, drizzle the hot orange mixture into the bowl. Return the egg-orange mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat - continuing to whisk - until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
Rinse and dry your medium bowl, then pour the heated orange mixture from the pan into the bowl to cool slightly (this will take about 20-30 minutes).
Using a hand mixer, in another medium bowl, beat the 3 egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form. You want the egg white foam to be a little stiff, but not dry.
Gently fold the egg whites into the orange mixture – only until most white streaks disappear. Do not overmix!
Place the reserved orange shells upright onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil. If you want to secure the shells upright, you can place additional crumbled parchment paper or foil between them. Carefully spoon the orange mixture into each orange shell two-thirds full (about ¼ inch from the top).
Bake for approximately 12 minutes until the soufflés have risen and are lightly browned on top.
Serve immediately, lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar or with a slice of chocolate tucked in near the top.