Chilled Strawberry Souffle
Chef Anne Willan likes to garnish these souffles with sliced fresh strawberries.
- 6 cups strawberries
- 3/4 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups sweet white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 large egg yolks
- Freshly grated zest of 1 orange
Place a medium bowl in the freezer to chill. Cut 4 strips of parchment paper about 1 inch longer than the circumference and at least 1 1/2 inches taller than a 6-ounce ramekin. Wrap a parchment-paper strip around each of 4 ramekins to form a collar, and secure with tape.
Reserve 4 small strawberries for garnishing. Hull the remaining strawberries. Puree 3 cups strawberries and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Transfer to a bowl or small pitcher, cover, and chill to serve with the souffles. Slice the remaining strawberries, combine with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and divide them among the souffle dishes.
Place 1/4 cup wine in a small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand until gelatin begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove bowl from freezer, and pour cream into bowl; whip cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar and the orange zest on high speed until light and very thick, at least 5 minutes.
Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1 3/4 cups wine just to a boil. With the mixer on low speed, slowly stir the hot wine into the egg-yolk mixture. Return this mixture to the pan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens and lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure not to let it boil; if it does it will curdle. Remove the custard from the heat, and immediately set the pan into the ice-water bath.
Melt gelatin over very low heat, and stir it into the warm custard. Continue stirring until it starts to set. Remove it from the ice-water bath and fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared souffle dishes, covering the strawberries. You will have to work quickly, as the mixture sets quickly once it is cold. It should fill to an inch or more above the rim of the dishes. Chill until firmly set, at least 2 and up to 12 hours (if kept longer, the souffles tend to stiffen).
To serve, loosen and remove the parchment-paper collars from the souffles. Thinly slice each reserved strawberry to form a fan, leaving the slices joined at the hull. Press the strawberries flat with your thumb to fan the slices, and set one on top of each souffle. If the souffles have been chilled for more than a few hours, let them warm and soften at room temperature for a few minutes. Serve with the chilled strawberry sauce.