“It’s a very good year for strawberries. Not only are they sweeter and juicier than usual, they’ve also arrived a little earlier, which means we will be enjoying them for longer. Their vibrant colour and intense flavour mean they’re always a great addition to any feast, whether in the form of soufflés at a dinner party or for a picnic, when my portable strawberry cheesecakes come into their own.”
Strawberry soufflés with white-chocolate cream
500g fresh strawberries
2tbspn lemon juice
5 egg whites
80g icing sugar
300g white chocolate
300g double cream
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Generously brush six ramekins with melted butter and leave them in the fridge until ready to use. On a lined baking sheet, cook the strawberries in the oven for 15 minutes or until they’re soft and juicy, then, using a stick blender, whizz them to a purée. Pass this through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the seeds.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, mix together the strawberry purée, lemon juice and sugar. Fold a spoonful of the beaten egg whites into this, followed by another spoonful, folding gently to keep the aeration. Next, add the mixture to the egg whites and again, fold it through, very gently.
Fill the ramekins to the brim with the egg-white mixture and bake them for 12-15 minutes or until they have gently browned tops.
While they’re cooking, melt the cream and white chocolate together in a bain-marie, taking care that the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water beneath it.
Remove the soufflés from the oven and serve while they’re still risen. Make a small slit in the top of the soufflés and pour in the white-chocolate sauce.
More ways with strawberries
Strawberries and cream mille-feuille
Cut a pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry into even-sized rectangles. Brush it with egg and scatter
a little caster sugar over it, before baking at 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove it from the oven and set aside. Whip 300ml of double cream with a few spoonfuls of icing sugar. To serve, place a piece of pastry at the bottom, top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, followed by a second piece of pastry and further strawberries and cream. Finish with a third rectangle of puff pastry and then dust with icing sugar.
Picnic strawberry cheesecakes
Crush 12 digestive biscuits in a freezer bag and then divide them between four small Kilner jars. Mix together 150g of cream cheese, an equal amount of cream, a spot of vanilla-bean paste and some icing sugar (to your preferred degree of sweetness). Spoon the cream cheese over the crushed biscuits and top with fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint. Seal the lids and pack up for your picnic.
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