Cold Strawberry Soufflé gets its lift and airy texture from beaten egg whites and whipped cream. Make it ahead for a chilly summer treat or an elegant dinner party dessert.
If the word soufflé brings up some hesitancy, it’s no wonder. Hot soufflés in French fashion have only a handful of ingredients, but they must be handled just so. Immediately after baking they’re whisked to the table for the best presentation of their height. Cold soufflés are a different story. Unlike hot soufflés they can be made well ahead of time and kept chilled until ready to serve. I find them enjoyable to make, and a simple foil collar gives them stately height, just like a hot soufflé.
Make the base.
Begin with two pints of strawberries. These can be fresh or frozen. I used frozen berries (thawed). Puree them and measure out 1 1/4 cups of puree. I had about 3 tablespoons of leftover puree and used it as an ice cream topping.
Next, in a saucepan you’ll bloom gelatin in a little of the puree. Place the saucepan over heat just long enough to melt the gelatin, then combine it with the rest of the puree.
After the gelatin/puree mixture cools, you’ll whip it in a standing mixer. It will gain loads of volume, and look like a big weird pile of pink marshmallow. This is the base of the soufflé.
Lighten the base.
Immediately after the strawberry base is whipped, fold it into the whipped cream. Do this with gentle folding motions. As a result it will retain volume. At this stage I added 2 drops of liquid red food color, just to increase the pink intensity (recommend!). Finally, fold in the egg whites, just as gently as before.
To make a cold soufflé look like a hot soufflé which rises above the top of its dish, add a foil collar. It should extend a couple of inches over the top of the dish, and it will support the soufflé mixture during setting. Use tape or rubber bands to secure the collars around the ramekins. Pipe the mixture into the collared ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
For the neatest collar removal, freeze the desserts and unmold them while they are still frozen. As a result, you’ll have smooth edges that won’t ding easily if you accidentally stick your thumb into it (I learned the hard way!). Thaw them in the refrigerator before digging in.
This dessert is a pink cloud! Sweet and gossamer light, it refreshes and won’t weigh you down. It’s a wonderful, classic dessert to learn, and good any time of year (but especially on a hot day).
Cold Strawberry Soufflé
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/4 cups strawberry puree from about 2 pints of berries
- 2 envelopes powdered unflavored gelatin .25 oz. each
- 2 drops liquid red food color
- 6 egg whites from pasteurized eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 fresh whole strawberries
- 1/2 cup whipped cream for piping optional
Prepare four 6 oz. ramekins with foil collars, or a 1-quart dish. (See notes for instructions.)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate.
In a saucepan, stir the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree. Mixture will thicken and set. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatin melts and dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining puree. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the gelatin and strawberry puree mixture on high speed until the mixture gains volume and lightens. Immediately fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain volume and lightness.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks with an electric mixer. Gradually add in the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into the strawberry whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain the volume and lightness.
Spoon or pipe the soufflé mixture into the prepared dishes and smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Remove collars while the desserts are still frozen. Thaw them in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Before serving, garnish with sliced fresh berries. Pipe stars of whipped cream around the top edge of the soufflés, if using.
For the optional piped whipped cream, beat 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat to stiff peaks. Place in a piping bag fitted with a small open star tip. Pipe whipped cream around the top edge(s) of the soufflé.