In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: In the inaugural issue of Food & Wine, legendary chef Jacques Pépin shared his recipe for the perfect soufflé. The accompanying text asked, “why their awesome mystique? Popular mythology has banished them to the thin-aired Olympus of personal valets and private jets. Why does the idea of making one turn fearless kitchen lions into cowering lambs?” Pépin, who had recently published his tome of French cooking, la technique, and would go on become one of Food & Wine’s greatest contributing editors, was the perfect candidate to teach readers about “towering, golden-roofed, steamily fragrant” soufflés, giving detailed directions on everything from preparing the mold and the collar to beating the eggs properly. This ethereal recipe is as good today as it was in 1978, showing that some dishes are simply timeless.
Preheat oven to 375°F with oven rack in lower third of oven. Stir together granulated sugar and flour in a small bowl; set aside. Cut a 24- x 12-inch piece of parchment paper; fold lengthwise 3 times (letter- style). Wrap paper around outside top of a 1-quart soufflé dish to form a collar extending 2 inches above rim; secure tightly with string or tape. Rub inside of soufflé dish and parchment collar with butter. Dust with sugar mixture, shaking out excess. Chill dish at least 15 minutes.
Stir together crème pâtissière, Grand Marnier, and orange zest in a large bowl. Beat egg whites in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Whisk about one-third of egg whites into crème pâtissière mixture until well incorporated. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until soufflé is puffed and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
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