Do you know who Antonin Careme in this world of Food Network and Celebrity Chefs who are here today, gone tomorrow? Well he was the first celebrity chef and the culinary world owes so much to him. Born in Paris to a very poor family,Marie Antonine -Careme was cast out in the streets as a child and forced to make his way in the world during the French Revolution. He started as a kitchen boy and eventually worked under a famous pastry chef, who saw his talent.Careme moved onto his own shop. He was fascinated with architecture and self taught himself many principles. From this he created elaborate piece montees (pastry sculptures). He went onto cook for Napoleon, Talleyrand, George IV, the Romanov’s, Rothschild’s, and countless others in high society and heads of state all over Europe.Careme is credited with inventing the chefs hat, the vol a vent, the souffle, and the service a la Russe (serving one dish after another in proper order) rather than the service a la francaise( all at once).He died at the age of 48 , sickly from the hazards of carbon monoxide from the kitchen back then. Grande Cuisine is because of Antonin Careme and he left behind several published works.
A more modern and fascinating book was written by Ian Kelly called Cooking For Kings, The Life of Antonin Careme, The First Celebrity Chef. Its a great biography with actual recipes from Careme himself.One of my favorite bloggers Louise called out his birthday to me in a post where she mentioned him.I didn’t think I would have the time to make a recipe of his, but flicking through my copy of this book I found a simple souffle aux fraises ( strawberry souffle). While I didn’t have strawberries, I decided to use peaches.This has to be one of the easiest souffle recipes I ever found. I followed his rough instructions and adapted it to a more modern technique. One helpful hint he gives ,as he had to keep them puffed as they went from the kitchen through vast palaces, and then the table, was to keep hot bricks on the baking dishes . I kept mine on a hot pizza stone on which I baked them and it somewhat worked for a bit.They will fall, however.
Peach Souffle in honor of Antonin Careme’s Birthday
makes 6 mini souffles or one large souffle dish
3 peaches ( peeled and sliced)
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs powdered sugar
4 egg whites
1/8 tsp ground ginger
butter and some sugar for ramekins
Butter and sugar ramekins. Set aside, preheat oven to 350F. Put peeled and stoned peaches in blender. Puree, add ginger and granulated sugar. Whip up egg whites with a mixer or stand mixer until stiff with the powdered sugar. Gently fold in peach puree. Pour into ramekins and set on a baking sheet or baking stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.