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Strawberry souffle

A chilled fruit souffle always makes a spectacular dessert - it looks so attractive in the souffle dish with the souffle mixture decorated above the rim.

ingredients

serves 4
350 g (3/4 lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and washed
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp gelatine powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
Red food colouring (optional)
150 ml (1/4 pint) fresh double cream
25 g (1 oz) finely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts or
crushed ratafias to finish

method

1. First prepare a 600 ml (1 pint) (l pint) or 12.5 cm (5 in) souffle dish: cut a strip of doubled greaseproof paper long enough to go around the outside of the souffle dish (overlapping by 2.5 - 5 cm. (1 - 2 in) and 5 - 8 cm. (2 - 3 in). higher than the dish.

2. Tie this securely around the outside of the dish with string.

3. Brush the inside of the greaseproof paper above the rim with melted butter.

4. Puree the strawberries in an electric blender or work through a sieve, reserving a few whole ones for decoration. Stir in 50 g (2 oz) of the sugar.

5. Put the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a heatproof bowl and stand over a pan of hot water. Beat with a rotary beater or whisk until thick. Remove from the pan and continue beating until the mixture is cold. Fold in the strawberry puree.

6. Sprinkle the gelatine over the lemon juice in a small heatproof bowl. Leave until spongy, then place the bowl in a pan of hot water and stir over low heat until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly, then stir into the strawberry mixture. Add a few drops of red food colouring if the mixture seems rather pale.

7. Whip the cream until it is thick and stir into the strawberry mixture, making sure that it is thoroughly blended.

8. Beat the egg whites until stiff then fold into the strawberry mixture. Spoon into the prepared souffle dish and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until set.

9. Before serving, carefully remove the greaseproof paper. Decorate the top of the souffle with the reserved strawberries and press the nuts or ratafias around the edge.

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