Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Valentine for Daisy

A delicious excerpt from A Valentine for Daisy ( in this case the valentine happens to be the doctor whose first name is actually Valentine)

Presently Trim led her to the table. At the sight of the damask and silver and crystal, for all the world as though the table had been decked out for a dinner-party, Daisy exclaimed,`Oh, but you shouldn't have gone to all this trouble! I could have had something on a tray.'`The doctor wished it, miss,' said Trim, `and I must add it is a pleasure for us. Mrs Trim has cooked a meal which she hoped you will enjoy.'He disappeared and returned presently with vichyssoise soup, and Daisy's small nose wrinkled at its delicious aroma. It tasted good too-this wasn't something out of a tin, it was the real thing, made with cream and eggs and chicken stock nicely mingled with the creamed leeks. It was followed by a perfectly grilled sole, sauted potatoes and braised celery, and when Trim offered her white wine she accepted, quite carried away by the unexpectedness of it all.

`Mrs Trim's special sweet,' murmured Trim, removing her empty plate and offering a chestnut snuffle with chocolate cream, `and I shall serve your coffee in the drawing-room, Miss Pelham.'

When she hesitated again he added, `The doctor hoped that you would keep Belle company for a little while.'
`Well, just for a short time,' said Daisy, `and do please thank Mrs Trim for that delicious meal.'

 Hmmm....I wonder if that was a typo? Anyone ever heard of a Chestnut Snuffle?????
This recipe for Chestnut Souffle with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce is as close as I could get to the dessert that Betty mentioned. It sounds delicious although I'm not sure I want to tackle a souffle.
Both recipes were found at
(Psssst! if you click the highlighted words Vichyssoise Soup, they will take to a previous post with three recipes.) Happy Valentine's Day!!

  • 1 7.25-to 7.41-ounce jar whole steamed chestnuts or vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts*
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for coating soufflé dish) plus 14 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Armagnac, Cognac, or other brandy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar


Blend chestnuts, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon butter in processor until paste forms. Transfer mixture to small bowl. 
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Coat inside of 14-cup soufflé dish (about 8 1/4 inches wide and 3 3/4 inches deep) with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle dish with 1/4 cup sugar and tilt to coat bottom and sides evenly.
Whisk 1/4 cup milk, egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Bring remaining 13/4 cups milk and 4 tablespoons sugar to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to same pan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chestnut paste, Armagnac, and vanilla and whisk to blend well (some small pieces of chestnut paste will remain).

DO AHEAD: Soufflé base can be made 2 hours ahead. 
Press plastic wrap onto surface; let stand at room temperature.
Position rack just below center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into soufflé base in 3 additions. Transfer batter to prepared dish. Place souffléon small baking sheet. 

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead; let stand at room temperature. Bake soufflé until puffed and just firm to touch in center, about 50 minutes. Serve immediately with sauce. 

* Peeled cooked chestnuts; sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Armagnac, Cognac, or other brandy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Combine chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl. 
Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from over water.
Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan; gently stir into chocolate. 
Add Armagnac, vanilla, and salt and stir to blend.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Rewarm over low heat before using.


  1. Yay! I'm so glad I found this site. I'm another Betty Neels fan and for the same reasons. Looking forward to reading all the posts and exploring the links here.

  2. Thanks Lulu! We Betty lovers have to stick together :-D