Pierre Koffmann is known for the robust cuisine of his native Gascony. The French-born chef won three Michelin stars for his ability to extract great flavors from often humble ingredients and his most famous dish is pig’s trotter.
But he’s also a master of desserts: case in point, a recipe for orange souffle omelets, lighter and fluffier than your usual omelets and particularly handy for dinner parties as you can prepare them in advance and reheat. Other fruits also work if you prefer, including passion fruit and lemon.
I don’t enjoy dinner parties and never host them, so no one will put my omelets to the test. I didn’t find preparing the ingredients too onerous: It was the actual cooking where I stumbled. I burnt the first, undercooked the second and my third was less-than-perfect, but I photographed it anyway and that is the one in the picture.
Things weren’t helped by the fact I don’t possess the kind of small frying pan recommended in the recipe. I used a medium pan and then found it difficult to fold over the omelet during cooking. Pierre said the one in the picture was fine, if a bit brown.
It tasted very good indeed: Fresh, light and citrussy. This recipe (along with the others I have published recently) should be achievable by novice cooks like me. The souffle omelet was more challenging than some of the others but tastes good enough to be worth the trouble and Pierre says it is fine to add some Grand Marnier if you want to liven things up a little. The recipe serves four.
2 oranges: finely grated zest of 1, the other peeled
6 egg yolks
250 grams (8.8 ounces) caster sugar
8 egg whites
50g unsalted butter
For the orange sauce:
250 milliliters (8.5 U.S. fluid ounces) milk
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
Start by making the orange sauce. Place the milk in a small saucepan with the orange zest and gently bring to the boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, until thick. Pour the boiling milk over the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pan over a gentle heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon. Pass it through a fine sieve and add the orange juice (or enough of it to make the sauce to your liking.) The sauce can be served hot or cold.
For the omelet, cut eight segments from the peeled orange by slicing along the fine membrane between each piece. Cut each segment into small dice and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with 200g of the sugar and the orange zest, until thick, and lifting the whisk leaves a ribbon trail. Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until they form very soft peaks. Sift over the remaining sugar and whisk until you have a stiff meringue. Gently fold this into the yolk mixture.
Heat a quarter of the butter in a 12-centimeter (5-inch) pancake pan. When very hot, but not brown, add a quarter of the omelet mixture and cook until well risen. Scatter a quarter of the orange pieces over half the omelet and fold the other half over to cover the orange. Remove from the pan and cook another three omelets in the same way.
You can keep the omelets warm in a low oven while you cook the others or make them in advance and reheat at 120 Celsius/250 Fahrenheit. Serve the omelet with the orange sauce.
This story first appeared on Bloomberg.com and has been lightly edited for style. Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg.