Friday, April 27, 2012

Strawberry Souffle

Strawberry Souffle
Photo of Strawberry Souffle @ Cafe Jacqueline - taken by Pei Ketron on

I was watching an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on The Food Network and they were talking about egg dishes. Alton Brown said that the best egg dish that he's ever had was a Strawberry Souffle at a little souffle restaurant in San Fransisco, Ca. (Cafe Jacqueline)  I thought that was intriguing. I have never made a souffle. I don't think I have even ever eaten one, but I made up my mind to make a strawberry souffle.
   Having nothing but the little clips of this small French woman putting together this Strawberry Souffle for the episode, I concocted a recipe and put it together. The only words she said was "we cook the strawberries with some cream, sugar and a pinch of flour." I had to guess on all her measurements. It was fairly easy and definitely tasty. My one mistake was trying to check on it to see if it was done. I say this all the time: Don't make my mistakes. Leave your souffle alone while it bakes and it won't fall as much as mine did.
It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world, but I think for just making up a recipe and having never made souffle before it turned out pretty good!

Here's what I did:

I put about 1/2 pound of chopped strawberries in a pan. (maybe closer to 3/4 pound)

I added enough sugar to make them sweet (3 Tbsp), and a dash of salt (about 1/8 tsp)

I let the strawberries and sugar cook while I got 1/8 cup flour and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cream together. I mixed it until their were no lumps.  (I know, 1/8 cup isn't a "pinch of flour" but she used a scoop to get her "pinch." I tried making the souffle another time, and only used about 1 tbsp of flour. The souffle was runnier.)

Then I added it to the strawberry mixture and cooked it for a couple minutes.

Then it was nice and thick like this.

I turned off the heat and let it cool down some. 
I then turned my attention to the eggs.
I separated 4 eggs.

I added 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar to the whites,

and beat them with an electric mixer until they were at stiff peaks. . . .

Like this. (This happens quickly if your eggs are at room temperature.)

Now I prepared the souffle dish. I spread the entire thing with butter.

and then I coated it with powdered sugar - my souffle would have rose higher if I had used granulated sugar. It needs something to grab on to. Oh, well. Live and learn. (**I did make this a second time, coating the dish with white sugar and I think it worked better.)

This is it all coated.

I whisked the yolks and then started tempering the strawberry mixture into the yolks. I just took a little bit of the strawberries, added it to the yolks . . .

and whisked like mad to make sure the yolks didn't scramble.

I did this 3 more times until the egg yolks were the same temperature as the strawberry mixture. Then I poured the egg yolks into the remaining strawberry mixture and whisked to combine.

Now back to the egg whites. I took 1/4 of the egg whites,

and folded them into the egg yolks and strawberry mixture (the base).

Then I added another 1/4, and folded again.

I repeated until all the egg whites were folded into the base - it's o.k. if there are a few streaks of white.

I poured the mixture into the prepared souffle dish

and then baked it @ 350F for 35 minutes. (A smaller dish would have been better - would have gotten more height. Now I know for next time!  **The second time I made this I did put it in a smaller dish - the uncooked souffle came up to the top of the dish -. After it was cooked, it rose a good 2 inches above the dish - but I had to increase the cooking time by 5 minutes.)

While it was baking, I sliced some strawberries and got some powdered sugar in a sifter for dusting.

At 30 minutes I peeked at my souffle and it was beautiful, but a little underdone, so I shut to door and cooked it for another 5 minutes. That was my downfall. My souffle fell in the oven, and as a result it is no longer high and impressive. I still dressed it up and took a picture, though. It tastes just fine! - Next time I'm going to use a smaller dish too!  (**The second time I made this, it was high and pretty and I was just about to take it out and snap a picture before it fell - because all souffles fall eventually - and then my 2 year old made a huge mess. I had to clean her and the cats up. I turned off the oven, but didn't get to take out the souffle right away. By the time I did, it had already fallen. Oh well. For now you can just look at the picture of the Strawberry Souffle at Cafe Jacqueline - at the top of this post - and pretend mine looks that nice.)

In case you want to replicate my uneducated, but inspired souffle, here is the recipe.

Strawberry Souffle

about 1/2 pound of strawberries, washed and diced fine.
dash of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup flour (2 Tbsp)
about 1/3 cup cream
butter for preparing souffle dish
sugar for preparing souffle dish
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350F and put a rack on the bottom third of your oven (with no racks on top). Prepare a 2 1/2 quart, or 1 1/2 quart souffle dish by rubbing the entire inside with butter and then coating it all with sugar. Put the dish in the fridge or freezer, while the souffle comes together.  Cook the strawberries, and sugar together until the strawberries are very soft. Mix the cream and flour together and then add to the strawberries. Cook for 2 minutes and take off the heat. Cool. Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together, until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Gradually combine the egg yolks with the strawberry mixture, so as to not cook the eggs. Fold the egg whites into the strawberry and egg yolk base, 1/4 at a time, until all the egg whites are folded in. It's o.k. if there are still white streaks. Pour into cold, prepared souffle dish and put into the oven. Bake @ 350F for 35 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR! If using a 1 1/2 quart dish you will need to increase the baking time by 5 minutes. The souffle is done when it has risen and it is slightly brown on top. It will be jiggly, and it will fall just a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. Just deal with that fact now. Top with powdered sugar and fresh strawberries.

The souffle is a soft dish. It is not like a cake - which I thought at first. It is more like a saucy omelet. This souffle has a very pronounced strawberry flavor. Since concocting this recipe I have looked online for other strawberry souffles and most of them are only pureed strawberries, sugar and egg whites. Not sure how those would be - I just set out to make one like I saw on TV. It may not have worked perfectly, but it was a new food adventure. We should all have one of those every once and a while. Stretch out of our boxes!  (When typing this I accidentally typed "boxers." Good thing I caught the typo, that would have been embarrassing - but funny!) Now go out and stretch!

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