This recipe is a little something that I baked up the day before we left for London and then California. I figured that strawberries wouldn't be in season anymore when we got back, so I had better go ahead and make this strawberry dessert. And I had nothing more important to do, like, say, pack or clean the apartment.
The challenge with this recipe was the little aluminum foil collars. I couldn't figure out how they worked, but fortunately, Sami came to my rescue and made them for me after studying Maida's descriptions. As you can see from the lighting, we made these pretty late at night. Really late, since it gets dark around 10:30 in July.
The soufflé itself is really quite simple--just whipped egg whites with strawberry purée folded in. You're also supposed to put a piece of cake or something in each soufflé dish to soak up the extra juices (and Grand Marnier). I used a croissant that I happened to have sitting in the freezer, and that worked fine.
This was a light, pretty pink dessert--not my very favorite because I don't much like cooked strawberries, but still very elegant for the amount of effort it takes. It's also almost not sweet enough--kind of amazing for a Maida dessert.
Here's the recipe. Make it when the strawberries are delicious and you're feeling crafty.
Grand Marnier Strawberry Soufflé
Grand Marnier Strawberry Soufflé
2 lbs. strawberries, washed and hulled (you won't need all of them)
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) + 1 T. sugar
Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1-1/2 t. lemon juice
Ladyfingers, cake, sweet bread, or croissant
7 egg whites
1/8 t. salt
Butter six 5-oz. soufflé dishes (mine were more like 7-8 oz, and they were fine). To make collars for them, call your husband. Or if that fails, tear off six 6-inch lengths of aluminum foil. Fold in half the long way, shiny side out. Butter one half of the foil so that the part that is above the soufflé dish is buttered. Carefully wrap the pieces of foil, buttered side up and in, around the dishes; wrap a piece of twine around each dish and tie it carefully and tightly to make the foil secure (this is best done as a team effort). Sprinkle each dish with about a teaspoon of sugar and do your best to distribute that sugar evenly around the dishes/foil. Set the prepared dishes on a jelly roll or sheet pan and take a deep breath. That was the hardest part of the recipe.
Heat the oven to 400.
Take about 7 of the strawberries and slice them into a small bowl. Add 1 T. sugar and 2 T. Grand Marnier and set aside to macerate.
From the remaining strawberries, measure out about 1-1/2 cups (about 6 oz., I'm guessing). Purée them in a blender or food processor, or mash them with a fork. Then pour them through a strainer. You'll want 1 cup of strawberry purée. Add the lemon juice to that. (If you have leftover strawberries, and you probably will, consider slicing them and macerating them like the ones above. They'll make a nice flavor/temperature contrast to the hot strawberries in the soufflé.)
Cut up your cake or what have you into six cubes "about the size of a domino". Basically, it should easily fit into the bottom of the cup. It's there to soak up extra juice/liquor. Spoon
some strawberries and juice into the cups with the cake. Add a bit of extra liqueur to each cup if you'd like. It's kind of hard to work with the foil collars, but do what you can.
Now put the egg whites and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Put the whisk attachment on the mixer and let it go. When the egg whites have become foamy, start gradually pouring in the 1/2 cup of sugar. Then continue beating until the egg whites hold a stiff peak. Take the bowl out of the mixer and gradually and carefully fold the strawberry purée into the egg whites. When you have a nice pink, fluffy mixture, carefully spoon it into the soufflé dishes. Again, it'll be kind of hard to get it in with the collars and such, but if I could do it, so can you. Put the soufflés in the oven (make sure it's on a low enough rack that the collars don't scrape up against the top of the oven) and bake for 18-20 minutes (mine were done after 16). When 15 minutes have gone by, make sure everyone is waiting for dessert. As soon as the timer rings, spring into action. Take the soufflés out of the oven, cut the string, remove the collars, and carefully transfer the soufflés to plates. Rush them to the table and dig in, perhaps with the leftover sliced strawberries. Enjoy the elegant and guilt-free goodness.