I am risking something big.
I am risking revealing something about myself that some of you might not know. I am exposing that I am spoiled. Rotten. I am confessing I am a food snob.
Mystery Man and I have eaten at a five diamond restaurant in Orlando for every single anniversary. Named Victoria and Albert’s located at the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World. The first year was a mistake of sorts. We were originally at Disney to skate an Inline Marathon. It happened to be scheduled during our anniversary so we made a vacation out of it including dinner at V&A’s.
Year number two was the same story, only this time we brought friends, the marathon was rained out, and we scored the Chef’s Table.
“Chef’s Table?” You ask?
Literally in the kitchen. Where the Chef cooks for you.
and only you.
and comes to you and describes the dish in detail.
toasts you with Champagne.
and it is Heaven.
Year three the Marathon was no-more so we had no plans to travel to Orlando. About a week prior to our anniversary Mystery Man turned to me and asked where I would like to go, or what I would like to do for our anniversary. I playfully replied “ummm, duh. V&A’s.” He played along and said he would be game if I could find airline tickets for a-hundred bucks.
We literally flew in, enjoyed our dinner, and flew out the next morning. That’ll teach him.
Year four we repeated year three. Yes, I am the master at finding air fare deals.
Year five we returned with another set of friends. The Chef’s Table was again at our disposal. It. Was. Wonderful.
And then there was year six. Oh, year six.
We just had our son three months prior and the plan was to stop the V&A’s trip at year five. After all, we should really branch out, right?
Mystery Man had a conference in Ft. Lauderdale the week of our anniversary, so the little one and I were going along to relax at the sunny resort while he worked. Sounded just fine to me.
I boarded the plane, sat down, and struggled to adjust the baby and a seat belt. I settled in and took a look at the stranger sitting next to me, waiting to get a look of “oh great, I have to sit by a baby…” I found it was no stranger. It was my Mom.
She handed me a piece of paper and snatched the baby out of my arms. The paper was an itinerary for a side trip to Orlando while Grandma watched the baby. A reservation confirmation for V&A’s was included. Mystery Man had pulled a fast one.
The years go on and on and yet we still return to taste the changes in the menu, the small tweaks in recipes and the newest fads in fine dining.
But, enough about how spoiled I am because you are about to benefit, and benefit big my friends. How do you feel about making a five star restaurant dessert right in your kitchen with all the steps laid out in front of you? “Bring it on!“ You say? Fine, but I don’t ever want to hear you talking behind my back about how rotten I am.
This is a souffle that I have created with helpful tips from the Pastry Chefs I have hounded in numerous restaurants, mainly V&A’s. I have this way of asking questions, mainly about method since I can usually tinker with ingredients in my own kitchen. It’s a wonder they don’t lock their doors when they see me coming. But, lucky for you they still take our reservation.
Unsalted butter and sugar for preparing dishes
8 oz bittersweet chocolate – chopped (the best you can find!)
6 large eggs (separated)
1/8 t. salt
½ t. cream of tarter
¾ c. sugar (divided into ½ c. & ¼ c.)
1 t. vanilla extract or 1 T. Cointreau
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat 400 degrees. 8 1-cup soufflé ramekins and dust the bottom and sides with sugar. Cut strips of parchment paper long enough to wrap around the ramekins and two inches taller than ramekins. Make a sleeve using chef’s twine around each one. Place on a large cookie sheet.
Melt the chocolate by placing in the top of a double boiler nested over barely simmering water (not touching). Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly. (Or melt in the microwave in 30 second increments.)
In a large, clean bowl, whisk together the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter with a balloon whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the whip/wire attachment or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and pale in color. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup of the sugar and the vanilla.
Using a rubber spatula add small amounts of the chocolate to the egg white mixture and fold until completely combined and no white streaks remain. (Stirring will deflate the whipped egg whites and will result in a heavier souffle.
Spoon into the prepared dishes until nearly level with the top of the dish. When the souffle rises the parchment sleeve prevents overflow and encourage height for a light and fluffy souffle.
Bake the soufflé until set, puffed, and the center still jiggles when the dish is gently shaken. 8-12 minutes.
Using tongs, place souffles on cool dishes, remove string and parchment paper.
Serve immediately! With Espresso Creme Anglaise.
Espresso Crème Anglaise
2 c. heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
½ c. sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso (Jessica’s Note – or use a double shot of straight espresso)
1/8 t. cinnamon
2 T. brandy
1 t. vanilla extract
Bring the cream to a gentle boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until slightly thickened and lemon-colored. Slowly whisk ½ c. of the hot cream into the egg mixture – careful not to cook the eggs. Whisk in the coffee and cinnamon. In a slow, steady stream, gradually add the egg mixture to the pan of remaining hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon or reads 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Put mixture through a fine mesh strainer, if needed. Add the brandy and vanilla and mix well. Serve with Chocolate Soufflé immediately.
To use later, press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent skin forming. Refrigerate.