Steak Diane is traditionally a dish made from pieces of filet mignon steak that are pan-fried over high heat. The Diane sauce is made from the seasoned pan juices, using butter, cream, shallots, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, which is usually flambéed with brandy or cognac. This sauce is then poured over the steak prior to serving. Steak Diane has a reputation as a premiere dish served in the best restaurants. It is often being cooked directly at the table from the best finest tenderloin beef pieces known as filet mignon. However, it can be easily cooked at home. The keys to success are using high quality beef and properly prepared Diane sauce. The filet mignon needs to be pan-fried at high temperatures to retain is tenderness and flavour and is normally served medium rare. 

Steak Diane has an interesting history. Cooking and serving game meat such as venison with spicy sauces has been practiced since ancient times. The description "a la Diane" was used to describe game dishes dedicated to the goddess Diana (the huntress). Steak Diane was originally a venison dish, and the distinctive sauce was designed to complement the rather sweet flavor of fresh deer meat. The original dishes, for 'Steak au Poivre' (pepper sauce), were found in both British and American cookbooks dating from the 1880s. The term Diane Sauce was first mentioned in 1907 by Escoffier in his 'Le Guide Culinare'. It describes lightly whipped of cream being added at the last moment to seasoned and reduced Sauce Poivrade, with pieces of truffle and hard-boiled white of egg.

The modern version of Steak Diane made using filet mignon probably originated in America in the early 1960s, when French cooking became very popular. Rich wine sauces and flamboyant presentation became the norm for many top restaurants at this time. A recipe for Steak Diane appeared in the New York Times Cookbook 1961 edition, but the sauces was not flambéed. The French Chef Cookbook dating from 1968 has a similar recipe for 'Steak au Poivre' (pepper steak) with the option of an optional flambeed sauce. 

Easy Creamy Steak Diane

4 (about 120 g each, 2 cm thick; 4 oz each, 1 inch thick ) beef fillet steaks or center-cut Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) medallions
40 g (1 oz) butter
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 eschalots (French shallots), very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
125 ml (1/2 cup) thin cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Take the steak from the fridge, cover and leave about 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
Take about half the butter and melt over medium-high heat until foaming in a large heavy-based frying pan. Place the steaks in the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare or longer depending on taste. The meat can also be barbequed or cooked on a ribbed griddle, but pan cooking is preferred as you use the pan juices for the sauce.
Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes while you cook the sauce (all the ingredients should be ready to go).
Reduce the pan heat to medium and melt the other half of the butter in the pan. Fry the eschalot in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, until eschalot softens slightly. Add the brandy, garlic and Worcestershire sauce to the pan until heated through.
Scrape the bottom of the pan to bring anything that has cooked onto the base back into the sauce. Add the cream, bring to the boil and stir for a further minute or so until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the steaks on the serving plates and pour over the with sauce. Serve immediately with mashed potato and steamed green beans.
Cook some mushrooms along with the shallots.
A superb addition is a drizzle of white truffle oil just before serving