Recipes from Chalet Suzanne

By: Lynn Waddell

Famous for its soups that were eaten by astronauts, Chalet Suzanne shares a few more delicious recipes to add to your Florida cookbook.

If you’ve never been to the romantic Swiss restaurant and inn in Lake Wales, you may only know of the Chalet Suzanne name from grocery store shelves. Its famous soups are sold around the world and have even been consumed by astronauts in space.

But the soups are only a preliminary to the other gourmet dishes at the restaurant that has served movie stars and dignitaries. A visit to the eclectic inn and restaurant is a must for those who enjoy a taste of Old Florida, but I’ve also found a way bring a hint of the delectable experience home with the following recipes that are deceptively simple. Stored in tins, the Gateau Christina can also make a heartwarming gift.

Chalet Suzanne’s Broiled Grapefruit
Serves 2

1 grapefruit, at room temperature
3 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
4 tbsp. cinnamon-sugar mixture (1 part cinnamon to 4 parts sugar)

Slice grapefruit in half and cut membrane around center of fruit. Cut around each section half, close to membrane, so that the fruit is completely loosened from its shell. Fill the center of each half with 1½ Tbsp. butter. Sprinkle ½ tsp. sugar over each half, then sprinkle each with 2 tbsp. cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place grapefruit on shallow baking pan and broil just long enough to brown tops and heat to bubbling hot. Remove from oven. If desired, top with a cooked chicken liver (sautéed with flour, salt and pepper) in center of each grapefruit half.

Chalet Suzanne’s Gateau Christina
Makes one 4-layered gâteau
4 egg whites
1½ cups sugar
1/3 cup blanched ground almonds

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut aluminum foil into four 8-inch circles and grease each lightly. Whip egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar and almonds as eggs begin to stiffen. Place foil rounds on a large baking sheet and spread each evenly with meringue. Bake for 15 minutes or until meringue is dry. Carefully turn meringues over and bake 5 minutes longer.

Chocolate filling:
2 egg whites                                                    
½ cup sugar                                        
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa                                 
2 sticks butter, softened

In the top of a double boiler, over hot (not boiling) water, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar, cocoa, butter and chocolate, beating until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and cool. To assemble, place the best meringue layer on the bottom and spread with chocolate filling. Top with another meringue, pressing down lightly to make layers fit together. Spread with chocolate. Repeat until all meringues are used and the top is liberally coated with chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

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