I spent the past few days with my parents learning more about America’s largest state ~ Texas.
I traveled to San Antonio where the informational tour at the Alamo explained how the republic came to be. I walked and dined and walked and dined along the beautiful Riverwalk that cascades beneath the city streets.
Then, it was off to Fredericksburg ~ a historic German town with country charm, ice cream parlors, antiques and quintessential Southern hospitality. After wining and dining on everything from tacos to Schnitzel, we made it home for one more meal with my parents, who were visiting from Arizona.
When I asked my mom what she wanted for dinner, she said she didn’t really care, so long as it ended with a chocolate dessert. While she would have been happy with a bite of my Belgian chocolate stash I hide in the pantry, I had to do it up better for mom.
I thought I would try to make a chocolate soufflé. I’m sure it would have risen beautifully had I actually followed a recipe, but I like to create my own version of things, so visually, it didn’t have much pizazz.
But it was nearing 10 p.m., and by that time, we were more concerned with taste than looks. Next to chocolate, my mom loves caramel, so I knew I could make up for the lack of a spectacular rise if I doused the cake in caramel. But I didn’t want to treat her to just any caramel ~ uh-uh ~ I pulled out the container of Fleur de Sel I imported from Paris.
Fleur de Sel in English translates to flower of salt. It is the top layer of salt that crusts almost like a bed of flowers and is harvested in France. Mixing it with sugar creates a sweet and salty blend similar to a Pay Day candy bar.
As I developed the recipes, scribbled down notes and tried to take photos without natural light, the aroma of chocolate filled the kitchen. The timer beeped and finally, the finishing touch of extra caramel for mom and a cute little spoon finished off her vacation in Texas on a sweet note.
- 7 ozs. chocolate
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 7 egg whites
- 45 grams (1/3 cup) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ tsp. fleur de sel
Place the chocolate into the top pot of a double broiler (or a metal bowl). Place the pot or bowl over another pan that is filled with 1-2 inches of water. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and stir the chocolate until it melts.
It will become the consistency of brownie batter.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites, until they are soft and foamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and continue to whisk until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Add one-third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture, folding gently, until most of the white streaks are gone. Add that mixture back to the large bowl of remaining egg whites and fold together.
Butter, grease or spray 6-8 soufflé dishes. Using a ladle, spoon the batter into the dishes. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat, press the center of the cake down, so it can hold extra sauce.
Then, top with Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepot over medium-high heat.
Cook without stirring for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid begins to become golden. Keep an eye on it because it can go from clear to burnt rather quickly.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Next, add the cream. It will begin to foam.
Add the salt and stir, until it is silky. Spoon on any dessert or pour into a pan and chill for firmer caramels.