Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Valentine Gift to You

          Valentine’s Day is this week, and I know you’re wondering what glorious, decadent dessert you can make for your sweetheart.  Okay, maybe you’re wondering what glorious, decadent dessert they’re making for you, but either way, this is the answer.  It’s my killer Orange Soufflé with Vanilla Cream Sauce. This picture shows it just as I pulled it out of the oven:
          You may remember that I used to post recipes on this blog, under the “What’s Cooking with Joni” tab.  Then it became overwhelming, so I left the existing recipes up, but just didn’t add any new ones.  Until now.  I simply MUST share this with you and you must stop living a life of FFD (French Food Deprivation).
          Do not be scared to make a soufflé.  I have simplified this for you and you will be thrilled with the result. (If you want it to be pink for Valentine’s Day, just add a teaspoon of red food coloring and use a teaspoon of strawberry or raspberry extract instead the quarter-cup of juice.  Omit the orange zest entirely—it will be fine.)
          Orange Souffle
          Here’s what you need:
                1 6- or 7-inch soufflé dish, buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray
          3 Tablespoons butter
          3 Tablespoons flour
          ¾ Cup heavy cream
          ¼ Cup sugar
          ¼ teaspoon salt
          1 Tablespoon grated orange zest (use a rasp if you can)
          ¼ Cup fresh orange juice
          4 eggs, separated
          1 teaspoon powdered sugar

                Here’s how to do it:
1.   First, do like the French, and get all your stuff laid out before you start combining things.  This is called mise en place and has nothing to do with mice.  It basically means “put in place,” and you’ll be glad you did.  So separate the eggs into two bowls, butter or spray your soufflé dish, get your orange rind grated, etc.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Next, whisk the butter and flour together in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring until it makes a smooth paste (takes about 1 minute).  I use a gravy whisk which looks like this, but use any whisk you like.
3.   Now SLOWLY pour in the cream, whisking as you go, until it’s thick and smooth.  You’re basically making a white sauce.  Keep stirring as you add the sugar, salt, zest, and juice.  Cook for 3 minutes more, then remove from heat.
4.   Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon yellow.  Pour a tiny amount  of the white sauce into the yolks, whisking vigorously.  Pour in a little more, then a little more, stirring all the while, until it’s all poured in and well mixed.  By pouring it in gradually you keep the hot mixture from cooking the yolks.
5.   Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, in another bowl, then gently fold into warm mixture.  Spoon into the buttered soufflé dish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Place in a roasting pan and pour hot water into the pan until it comes up 1 inch high on the sides of the soufflé dish.  This is called a water bath—be sure not to use cold water.  Now bake 45 minutes and you’re done!  Serve immediately.
6.   WHILE IT BAKES, make the Vanilla Cream Sauce.  Trust me; this is going to take your soufflé to Swoon Level.  Serve this sauce warm or room temperature over the soufflé, which you will spoon into serving dishes. 
Vanilla Cream Sauce

Here’s what you need:
¼ Cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 Cup plus 1 splash of heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Here’s what to do: Stir sugar and yolks in a small sauce pan until well mixed.  Add cream and vanilla, cooking over medium-low heat until it’s a thick enough custard to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes.  Don’t scald it or it will curdle.  Pour through a fine wire strainer, discard residue, and allow sauce to cool slightly as soufflé bakes.  Spoon over soufflé servings.  Serves 6. 
I know you’re going to want to thank me, and the best way is to buy my books!  Be a Valentine Sweetheart and check ‘em out at this link!

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