Jacques Pépin's Go-To Liqueur For His Signature Soufflé

Jacques Pépin helped make French cuisine approachable for American households. The charming public television cooking star, cookbook author, and artist who calls France his homeland tackles the notoriously "fancy" cuisine with ease, showing his fans that everyday French food is simple but tastes extraordinary because of fresh, flavorful ingredients. Of course, adding a bit of French flair doesn't hurt. For instance, he might opt to use a capon instead of a chicken in a roasted chicken recipe or shave a little white truffle over a plate of fettuccine.

Naturally, Pépin is no stranger to one of the most French recipes, the soufflé. Whether it's savory or sweet, he is an expert. Over his long career, he has discovered the ins and outs of a perfect soufflé including what kind of bowl is best for beating the egg whites and why opting for organic eggs is usually worth the extra cost. And he certainly knows how to make soufflés taste amazing with flavors like apricot and pistachio, chocolate soufflé with orange sauce, and a rather simple but unforgettable dessert soufflé which includes that special bit of French flair in the form of booze.

Grand Marnier is the star

Jacques Pépin's recipe for a citrus-scented soufflé proves that you don't need a long list of ingredients to make a dish taste unforgettable. In a recipe he's been sharing since 1978, Pépin incorporates a crème pâtissèrie into whipped egg whites with orange zest and Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored cognac liqueur. Much of the alcohol will evaporate in the oven while the soufflé bakes, but the grown-up, bitter orange flavor will remain, making it a wonderful finish to any special meal. On its 40th anniversary, Food & Wine Magazine named Pépin's dessert soufflé one of its 40 best recipes ever printed — and it's definitely worth trying out.

A crème pâtissèrie is basically a mixture of sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, flour, and milk. It is combined and heated until cooked and thickened. Once it's chilled, Grand Marnier and orange zest are added, and then beaten egg whites are gradually and gently incorporated into the mixture. It is added to a prepared soufflé dish and baked until the sides rise and the top is golden brown. Like many sweet soufflés, it is served with a dusting of powdered sugar, but you could also add some freshly whipped cream or maybe even a little vanilla ice cream. However you serve it, do so right away, as the soufflé will deflate rather quickly once it's removed from the oven.