the original palm beach classic

A true classic, Marylou Whitney (or Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney as she was known back then) was the epitome of the Palm Beach hostess: beautiful, elegant, welcoming, a great cook and a gracious entertainer. Her luncheons and dinner parties were legendary, be they in Saratoga, NY, Lexington, KY or Palm Beach. She penned multiple cookbooks, including one dedicated to potato chips, which were incidentally invented by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt! A staple dessert at her dinner parties, was a frozen lemon soufflé that she attributed to her dear friend, Elizabeth Arden. I can still hear her proudly declaring that it was actually very low calorie.  I must say, I never believed that was the case until I reached out this week to her husband, our dear friend John Hendrickson, and asked that he share her recipe.    


Note: One of Marylou’s favorite wines was Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, which happens to pair beautifully with lemons.   Marylou Whitney’s Frozen Lemon Soufflé  
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 packages unflavored gelatin, dissolved in juice of 1 lemon 
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind 
  • 6 cups Cool Whip
  Take a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil long enough to fit with a little overlap around a 2 quart soufflé dish; fold in half and butter on one side heavily. Tie the waxed paper or foil around the soufflé dish, buttered side inward, so it is 3-4 inches above the rim. Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer bowl for 15 to 20 minutes until light and creamy; mixture should spin a ribbon. Add the dissolved gelatin to the egg mixture on high speed then lower the speed and add the rest of the lemon juice and rind mixing just enough to blend. Fold in the Cool Whip and pour into prepared soufflé dish. Put in freezer for 3 hours. Remove the paper collar and decorate with whipped cream, lemon slices, and mint. You may store the soufflé for 2 days in the freezer and move it into the refrigerator 2 hours prior to serving time so it will thaw properly.  
Angela Beck