I’ve never had a bad day in Paris; I’ve never had a bad meal in Paris either. A jovial and romantic place where it’s impossible to be tired of. Since it is not feasible to make frequent trips there, the next best thing would be to re-create its sensational food experience.
My daughter and I and another mother-daughter pair went to Le Soufflé on Rue du Mont Thabur in Paris, not far from Westin Vendome, several years ago. It is a lovely small restaurant that serves mainly soufflé, as you can tell by its name. Savory or sweet soufflé, for every course of the meal. The restaurant is very French but without the pretensions. Perhaps a bit touristy: you can get an English menu without even asking. Reservations were hard to come by. The place was bustling with locals and tourists, even in the early evening hours.
Up till that time, I did not know soufflé could be served in so many different ways. We had the best tasting — pillowy, tall, airy, creamy with a semi-liquid core — souffle we’ve ever had. It blew my mind. I want to go back there where our most indelible food experience of one dish was created. Maybe I shouldn’t go back. I want the fond memory to endure, to be forever.
Better yet, I can make Rothschild soufflé at home with a recipe by Jacques Pepin. Seriously? I’ve never made soufflé before. It’s finicky and tricky to do, as I was led to believe. It is a restaurant dish, best to be left to the professionals. In the back of my mind, I always want to try making soufflé, and to confront my fear of yet another potential failure. Today, I’m ready for the challenge.
I chose Rothschild souffle and for two reasons: its history and the technique.
Soufflé Rothschild, which originally contained real gold and was aptly named in honor of the richest man in France at the time in the early 1800s. It consisted of a pastry-cream base lightened with beaten egg whites and flavored with chopped crystallized fruits macerated in Danziger Goldwasser, a liquor containing suspended gold crystals. Instead, I used dry white peaches macerated in peach schnapps in my version.
Jacques Pepin’s recipe substituted pastry cream with a simpler béchamel sauce. A béchamel (equal portion of butter and flour, thickened by milk) is the base of many crèmes and veloutes, and the mother sauce that I want to be able to master and improvise with ease.
I succeeded in getting the rise out of the souffle by following Pepin’s straightforward recipe. I say to you: “Jacques, you have my utmost admiration and gratitude for getting me over the hump.” I did a happy dance in my kitchen. The moment was just as sweet, if not better, than that at Le Souffle.
Here to C’est Magnifigue! There’ll be many exciting dishes to explore at the IHCC site. Please take a look.
|Rothschild Souffle with Peaches|