(This article appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
The inspiration behind this unique soufflé is the sweet and tart citrus flavors that we savor to bridge the passage from Winter into Spring. Like the changing of seasons, this dish transitions between richer flavors such as cardamom, chocolate and ancho, to brighter seasonal flavors of honey and blood orange.
Using the ingredients at Modernist Pantry, we set forth a challenge to prepare a soufflé that could be served without the aid of its traditional serving vessel – the ramekin. The secret technique is to stabilize the egg whites using VersaWhip, a modern ingredient with its base in soy protein. The reinforced soufflé was able to rise with strong enough walls to allow us to unmold it and be completely free formed.
We also wanted to use a head-to-tail approach, as in many recipes that savory chefs prepare. So we candied the Blood Orange Peel and prepared recipes that added great depth of flavor and texture, with zero waste.
Yield: 8 servings
Special Equipment: Immersion circulator, Paco Jet
Compressed Cardamom Chocolate Cake
- 105 g eggs (2 large eggs)
- 300 g granulated sugar
- 115 g vegetable oil
- 70 g cocoa powder (high quality)
- 165 g all-purpose flour
- 6 g baking powder
- 4 g ground cardamom
- 105 g heavy cream
- 200 g whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil in a stand mixer on medium speed.
3. Whisk for 10 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is nice, white, and creamy.
4, Combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and cardamom and sieve.
5, Combine the heavy cream and milk together.
7. Place mixture into a parchment-lined ½ sheet tray  and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted, and it comes out clean and cool.
8. Once cooled, cut the cake to fit into a vacuum seal bag. Sandwich the chocolate cake between two pieces of parchment paper and slide the cake into the vacuum bag. Vacuum seal the cake on high to compress. 
9. Remove the cake from the bag and peel off the parchment paper.
10. Cut out rounds with a 3” ring cutter  and set aside
Blood Orange Soufflé
- 500 g blood orange juice, freshly squeezed (approximately 20 blood oranges; save peel for sherbet)
- 40 g cornstarch
- 360 g egg whites
- 8 g Modernist Pantry VersaWhip
- 240 g granulated sugar
- 20 Orange Flavor Drops
- 8 rounds Compressed Cardamom Chocolate Cake (from above)
- 226 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50 g cornstarch
1. In a heavy bottomed, medium pan, combine the cornstarch and blood orange juice and whisk until smooth. 
2. Place on medium heat and whisk until it simmers. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. [7,8]
3. Remove from heat and place mixture into a bowl to cool. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap directly onto the blood orange base to make sure it does not form a skin.  (This base can be stored and used for 3 days – it will make about 3 batches.)
4. To make the cornstarch coating for the paper ramekins, simply cream together the butter and cornstarch for 5 minutes, or until smooth and light in color.
5. Preheat convection oven to 350°F.
6. On a very low speed in a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and the Versawhip. It’s important to start slowly to create small, uniform, sturdy air bubbles. Mix for 2-3 minutes, or until nice and frothy.
7. Slowly add the sugar until fully incorporated. Whisk on medium speed for 10 minutes. 
8. Meanwhile, prep your ramekins: cut eight 4” by 12” strips of parchment paper. Brush eight 3” wide ring molds with the cornstarch and butter mixture. Brush both sides of the parchment  and place the parchment inside the ring. Finish remaining ramekins and place a slice of cake in each one. 
9. Once the whites are ready, in a separate bowl whisk together 160 g of soufflé base and the flavor drops. Add ¼ of the whites to the base  and whisk together quickly to avoid air loss from the meringue. Add this mixture back to the whites  and gently fold together.
10. Place the mixture in a disposable piping bag  and cut a 2” hole. Be careful not to cut too small a hole, so you are not forcing out the air when piping. Pipe the mixture into the lined ring cutter, piping it to the top of the cutter.  Bake for 10 minutes.
11. Remove from oven, place on serving plate and remove ring mold with tongs. 
Candied Blood Orange Peel
- 20 Blood Orange Peel, Reserved From Soufflé Base
- 1500 ml water
- 1500 g granulated sugar, divided
1. Slice the rinds into ¼” strips. 
2. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, add cut peels and cover with water. Bring to a boil, shut off heat and allow to cool. Strain. Repeat with fresh water 3-5 times, until the rinds are softened and not bitter. 
3. In the same pot, bring the water and 1 kg of the sugar to a boil to dissolve sugar, then re-add peels. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, or until it has thickened to a syrup.  Strain and cool. Reserve the remaining syrup for the sherbet recipe.
4. Once cool, place the candied peel on a cooling rack on a sheet tray and dry overnight.
5. Place the remaining 500 g sugar in a bowl, and coat the dried peels with sugar.  Place back on the cooling rack and dry overnight.
Candied Blood Orange Sherbet
- 950 ml milk
- 300 g reserved candied rind syrup
- 4 lemons (zested and juiced)
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 6.25 g Perfect Sorbet (sorbet stabilizer)
- 200 g Candied Blood Orange Rinds
1. Combine the milk, peel syrup and lemon zest.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and Perfect Sorbet and whisk together until combined. The sugar granules will coat the Perfect Sorbet and assist with its mixing.
3. Add the Perfect Sorbet mix to the milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator. Let the milk cool completely. If you skip this step, the milk will curdle.
5. Once frozen, churn in Pacojet.
Blood Orange Tuiles
- 100 g Candied Blood Orange Peels
- 45 g water
- 100 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 g all-purpose flour
- 0.5 g salt
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a blender, blend the candied orange peels and water until the peels are coarsely chopped. [22,23]
3. Add the butter  and blend until semi-smooth (there should be small bits of the peel left in the mixture). Place the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until it begins to lighten in color, about 1 minute.
4. Sift the flour.
5. Turn the mixer to slow speed, then add all the flour and salt at once. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).
6. Using a small offset spatula, spread a 1/16” thick strip of the batter on a non-stick baking mat.  We like to clean one side of the strip into a perfect rectangle and have the other side be more organic.  The orange peel pieces can make this tricky, but we like the imperfections it makes in the tuiles.
6. Bake until golden brown, and form into whatever shape you like for the dish. 
Honey Ancho Curd
- 340 g Ancho Reyes liqueur, divided
- 3 sheets PerfectaGel silver sheet gelatin, 160-bloom
- 30 g blood orange juice
- 120 g egg yolks
- 175 g honey
- 226 g unsalted butter
- 5 g salt
1. In a small pot, bring 270 g of the Ancho Reyes liqueur to a boil (the remaining liqueur will be added after the curd has been heated). Allow it to reduce by half (135 g), about 2-3 minutes.
2. Using an immersion circulator, preheat the bath to 167°F.
3. Add the gelatin sheets to a container of ice cold water and allow it to bloom. (This is not the water for the recipe, this water will be discarded after the gelatin has bloomed.)
4. In a vacuum seal bag, place the reduced Ancho Reyes liqueur, blood orange juice, egg yolks, honey, gelatin, butter and salt. Place the bag in an immersion circulator that is set to 167°F for 30 minutes. 
5. Once the mixture has been cooked, pour the contents into a blender  and blend for 2 minutes.
6. Add the reserved 70 g Ancho Reyes liqueur and pulse once or twice in the blender
7. Place the curd in a small sealed container and allow it to cool completely, about 2 hours. The gelatin will need this time to set. For plating purposes you can gently heat the curd to thin it out.
2. Place a few pieces of chopped dried blood orange peel in the curd for decoration.
3. Remove the soufflé from the oven and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
4. Place the soufflé in the center of the plate and place a quenelle of the sherbet on the center.
5. Garnish with the tuile and serve.
*Photography by Derek Bissonnette