January 27, 2011

From Chef Jacques of Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia.

Serves 6


2 cups brewed espresso coffee
10 egg yolks
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Place the freshly-brewed espresso in a small saucepan, place over high heat, and reduce by ½ to concentrate the flavor. Chill.

Beat the eggs in a medium glass or stainless steel bowl and thoroughly whisk in the evaporated cane juice. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing completely.

Divide the custard among six 6-ounce oven-proof ramekins.

Set the prepared ramekins into a shallow baking dish or pan, at least 1 inch deep. Pour hot tap water into the baking dish to a level halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Carefully place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake until the custards are set, about 35 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into one of the custards. Custards are set if toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and lift the ramekins out of the water bath and cool.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice or sugar over each and place under a preheated broiler to melt and lightly brown the sugar.

HINT: The evaporated cane juice does not caramelize quite as well as white sugar.

Reprinted with permission from Chef Jacques of If you are in Northern Virginia make sure to visit Chez Francios, best French restaurant in the area, and maybe even, the entire U.S.

Filets of Sole with Oysters and Champagne Sauce

January 26, 2011

From Chef Jacques of Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia –

Filets of Sole with Oysters and Champagne Sauce
“This is the dish to prepare when you want to pull out all the stops!”, says Chef Jacques.


¼ cup EACH, julienne leeks, carrots, and celery root
4 fillets of sole (lemon or gray sole), deboned and skinned
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon butter
½ teaspoon finely minced shallots
3/4 cup Champagne
6 – 8 shucked medium-sized oysters
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 ounce Osetra Caviar or Salmon Caviar
Sprig of fresh dill
2 chive straws


Clean, peel, and cut the vegetables into a matchstick-size julienne and steam or parboil in salted water for 1 – 2 minutes.

Julienne should be al dente. Immediately plunge into cold water, drain, and reserve.

Lay the prepared sole fillets, white side down, on your work surface. Season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Divide the vegetables into 4 portions and place each bundle on the large end of a fillet. Fold the end of the sole fillet over the vegetable bundle in jelly-roll fashion. Place each folded side down in a small saucepan smeared with the butter and the minced shallots. Pour the champagne around the fish, place the pan over high heat, bring to a boil, cover, and boil for about 3 minutes until the fillets are just cooked through. Remove pan from heat, lift the fillets out of the pan onto a dish and keep warm.

Place the pan in which the fillets were cooked back on high heat and add the oysters. Lift the oysters out of the wine with a slotted spoon as soon as the liquid begins to boil again. Keep warm with the fillets.


Boil the remaining wine over high heat until reduced by 2/3, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, boil for another 2 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and gently stir in ½ of the caviar and taste and adjust seasonings.


Divide the sole fillets and oysters onto two serving plates. Coat with the sauce and garnish the oysters with the caviar.

Reprinted with permission from Chef Jacques at Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia is one of the best French restaurants around. Simply the best!

Strawberries Romanoff

January 26, 2011

Strawberries Romanov, a traditional French dessert, is an excellent way to enjoy fresh summer strawberries. There are just a few, simple ingredients in this sweet dish, but it is certainly a company pleaser. From Chef Jacques of

Serves 6

2 pints strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 cups creme anglaise, vanilla custard sauce

Vanilla Custard Sauce
Creme Anglaise
2 cups milk
1 cup evaporated cane juice, or sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 vanilla bean split, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream


Custard Sauce:

1.Combine the milk, sugar, orange and lemon rind, and split vanilla bean in a heavy copper or stainless steel saucepan. Scald the milk and remove from flame. Strain the milk to remove the vanilla bean and citrus rinds.

2.Separate the eggs. Reserve the whites for another recipe, (they may be frozen). Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Slowly pour the hot milk into the beaten yolks, whisking constantly.

3.Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over very low direct heat or simmering water, stirring constantly with a spoon or spatula until the custard just begins to boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour in the heavy cream. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it at this point.) Cool and refrigerate.

HINT: Our method of making custard sauce differs from others who caution, “do not boil.”


1.Slice the strawberries. In a large bowl, toss them with the sugar and 1/4 cup orange liqueur. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to macerate.

2.Season the chilled vanilla custard sauce with 1/4 cup orange liqueur.

3.Distribute the macerated strawberries among 6 chilled serving bowls. Divide and pour the prepared vanilla custard sauce over the strawberries and serve.

4.Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Reprinted with permission from Chef Jacques Haeringer at of Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia. Best French restaurant around.

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