Saturday, December 08, 2007

"You know, the French just really know how to use a stick of butter."

The above quotable quote is courtesy of my dear and talented friend Jenna Lane (and one of the few I still stay in touch with from high school). We were sharing a morning coffee on a brisk sunny day at the Ferry Building in SF and were talking about cooking, and she shared with me some of her recent experiments. I tried the recipe below out at a dinner party last week and it met with rave reviews, plus it's easy! Try it, you'll love it. Thanks, Jenna!

"Le gateau de Mamy," courtesy of Clotilde Dusoulier, author of "Chocolate & Zucchini" and the blog of the same name.

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pound baking apples (I used 2 large Rome apples)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs

You're probably not supposed to, but I made the cake beforehand and put it in the fridge, batter and all, under alumnium foil until we sat down to eat and then popped it into the already-warm oven, and it came out fine. It was a nice timing/coordination trick.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Grease a nonstick 9-inch round cake pan (not springform) with 1
tablespoon of the butter.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl. Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut them in eighths and arrange over the bottom of the pan.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar with the eggs until fluffy. Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Add the melted butter and whisk again until blended. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is set and golden brown. (My oven runs hot, so it was more like 35 minutes.)

4. Let the cake settle on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen and flip the cake onto a plate; if any piece of fruit has stuck to the bottom of the pan, scrape it off carefully and place it back on the cake where it belongs. Flip the cake again onto a serving plate. Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

5. I added a dollop (OK, more than a dollop) of stiffly whipped, not-too-sweet whipped cream.

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