There are plenty of ways to enjoy fresh summer strawberries. You can stuff them into a shortcake or pile them up into a pie, as well as add them to cereal and toss them into a salad. Shortcakes are probably my favorite strawberry dessert, but I’ve recently added a new recipe to my list of strawberry dessert options: a strawberry souffle.
This light, fluffy Strawberry Souffle is made with just a few ingredients – and fresh strawberries make up the bulk of it. Whole berries are pureed with some sugar, cornstarch and a very small amount of lemon or lime juice (which just brightens up the berries a tiny bit). Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks with a little bit of sugar and are then folded into the puree. Everything is divided up into ramekins and baked. The souffle has a beautiful pink color (the darker your berries, the darker the souffle), a not-too-sweet strawberry flavor and an airy texture that reminds me of Strawberry Chiffon Cake. As an added bonus, this dessert is so light that it is fat free, so you’ll never feel guilty about ending a meal with it.
The souffle will rise up quite high in the oven and, like most souffles, will sink down as it cools. That said, it is pretty structurally sound for a souffle and will retain its shape very well for quite a while, even after it has cooled. This means that you can serve the souffles hot or warm, and you don’t need to feel any pressure about getting the dessert to the table the instant it comes out of the oven.
This recipe is best made with fresh strawberries, although if you defrost and drain frozen berries before using them, they will work in the recipe. I have to admit, though, that I put this solidly in the summertime dessert category and make it only when I have good, fresh strawberries available. I serve this plain or with a little bit of whipped cream. One way to make it a little more decadent – and to add a fancy finish to impress dinner guests with – is to drizzle it with melted chocolate or fudge sauce before serving, too.
Fresh Strawberry Souffles
12 oz trimmed, fresh strawberries
2 tsp lemon or lime juice (optional)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg whites, room temperature
Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and sugar six 8-oz ramekins (or four 8-oz ramekins).
In the bowl of a food processor, combine strawberries, lemon/lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Whizz until mixture is very smooth.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt and continue beating to stiff peaks. Whisk 1/3 of strawberry mixture into the egg whites. Gradually fold in remaining strawberry puree until everything is evenly combined.
Fill all ramekins to the top and level with the back of a butter knife. There may be some batter left over (just discard remaining batter unless you have enough to fill an additional ramekin).
Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the tops of the souffles are golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve immediately. Souffles are still good at room temperature, but they will sink down a bit as they cool.