Frozen Grand Marnier Soufflé
A frozen Grand Marnier soufflé is a thoroughly elegant dessert. It is also one of the tastiest. Some say it’s similar to ice cream. But not in my book. Frozen soufflés are rich and heavenly. They are light but luxurious. Back in my restaurant days, I made them almost daily.
Regular diners loved them, and they were a great item for large parties—so I made a lot of them. Like rice pudding and creme brûlée, I filed this recipe away in the “overdone” category when I left the kitchen. I’m not sure what prompted me to make these again after so many years. It may have been my conversation with Jacques Pepin, and his (and my) love of the classics. If you’ve never had a frozen Grand Marnier soufflé, you are missing out.
There are two different styles of frozen soufflés; both are somewhat easy to make, so don’t be intimidated. One type is light and uses an Italian meringue (egg whites beaten and “cooked” by slowly folding in a hot, sugar syrup). The other, like my recipe, is creamier and has an eggy base that takes on whatever flavoring agent you add, such as the Grand Marnier. The base here is technically considered a Bavarian cream, which is a type of custard. With this method, egg yolks are gently cooked with sugar until thickened. With either type, you need to remember eggs can be somewhat tricky so making a frozen soufflé does require some focus. But it’s very doable.
This make-ahead dessert is a perfect way to finish an elegant dinner for a few or many, especially in the warm Summer months. All you need is some freezer space. To make a frozen soufflé have a dramatic appearance, you wrap a strip of parchment paper about 4 inches in height around the ramekins and tape it in place. This will hold the custard (which is the consistency of a loose whipped cream) in place, vertically, while it freezes. The result will be visually appealing with good height. Removing the parchment strips and adding an orange peel for garnish is all the work you need to do right before serving—it does not get easier than that!
On the spoon, a frozen soufflé can look like ice cream; but to me, it’s much better. The creaminess from the egg custard makes the flavor more complex and worth the calories. Just slightly melted, the aromatic flavor of the Grand Marnier coats the mouth subtly (and I am someone who does not love Grand Marnier on its own). Some add a fruit puree on the side, such as raspberry, in addition. While it can complement the Grand Marnier nicely, I don’t think you need it. I prefer the straightforwardness of the orange liqueur to offset the richness of the frozen custard. So with the temperatures heating up out there, give this frozen soufflé a whirl whether you’re cooking for one, two, or a larger group.
Frozen Grand Marnier Soufflé
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- Orange pee, for garnish (optional)
- Cut four 12x4-inch long strips of parchment paper. Wrap one parchment strip around a small 2/3-cup ramekins or shuffle dish and secure it with tape. Note: This will allow the soufflé custard to stay in place while it freezes. Repeat with the remaining ramekins and set aside.
- Fill a double boiler with about 3-4 inches of water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling add the sugar, Grand Marnier, egg yolks, water, orange juice, and zest to the top of the double boiler. Note: if you do not have a double boiler, use a small and medium saucepan that fits together well enough to mimic a double boiler. Ideally, if you do not want the water to touch the top pot.
- Whisk the egg mixture continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and turns a nice bright yellow color, about 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 140 degrees F. Be careful not to overcook or "scramble" the egg mixture. Reduce the heat slightly if you are concerned.
- Remove from the heat pour the custard into the bowl of a kitchen mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat on low until cool, about 3 minutes. Pour the custard base into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Clean the mixer bowl and add the heavy cream. Beat on high until stiff peaks have formed. Mix in the confectioners' sugar.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard being careful not to over-mix and deflate the cream.
- Using a spoon, divide the soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins. Using the back of a spoon, even the tops of as best as possible.
- Place the soufflés in the freezer and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To serve, remove the parchment paper and top with an orange peel for garnish.