Saturday, October 27, 2012

Walnut Sponge Cake-Flourless and Delicious

I made this wonderful cake at work as a base for the gorgonzola gelato I wrote about here, it is one of those cakes I can't stop eating and it gets better the next day, so it deserves a post of its own.  The recipe comes from Pure Desserts, written by one of the Bay Area most accomplished cookbook authors, Alice Medrich, and you can see the original picture of the cake on her website.  Her recipes are amazing, and she uses some of my favorite ingredients like cocoa nibs, buckwheat flour, saffron, cardamom, you name it.  

Now that I know I am gluten intolerant and work in a restaurant I always try to have one or two desserts on the menu that are gluten free.  This cake was first suggested to me years ago by a coworker as we were talking about the Pure Dessert book and some of our favorites recipes.  I liked it then, but when I made it recently I realized how truly outstanding this recipe is.  This cake surprised me for its simplicity and amazing taste, and it is so light and the lemon flavor intensifies the next day, you can serve it simply sprinkled with some powder sugar or with some whipped cream.  Alice Medrich suggests to make it with pecans as well.

Walnut Sponge Cake
from Alice Medrich

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) walnut pieces
5 large eggs, separated
Zest of one lemon
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Line an 8" springform pan with parchment paper.
Coarsely chop 1/2 cup of the nuts.  In a food processor process the remaining nuts until fine.  Combine the nuts and set aside.
Whip the yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar until pale yellow, add the lemon zest, vanilla, and salt.
Whip the whites until foamy, then gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar until soft peaks form.
Add half of the whites to the yolks, then cover with half the nuts.
Gently fold the ingredients until incorporated, then fold in the rest of the nuts and egg whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and cook in the pre-heated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.
Cool 5 to 10 minutes then remove from the cake pan.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gorgonzola Gelato

I have been aching to write a post for weeks but I don't always have a recipe that is worth presenting here.   I actually wrote a post on a dessert I created but I lost the whole thing in one wrong click, so frustrating.   I love to have a semi-decent photo to go with the recipe and not always I have the time to set up the whole thing nowadays.   Yesterday I brought home the components of the dessert, quickly set up the plate, and took few photos before the ice cream melted in the late season heat the Bay Area is experiencing.

Savory desserts are my passion, a little trickier than the classic, but once I get a good combination, it is hard not to lick my fingers.  This ice cream recipe was passed to me by the executive chef I worked for, and I was very skeptical while making it.  See, I don't care for gorgonzola, I think my system revolts to the mold so I can't eat it at alll.  When he asked me to make this I thought it was going to be a very weird ice cream but when I took my first taste I was hooked!  Savory ice cream indeed, delicious!

I was shown the recipe on an i-pad and I quickly wrote it down on my to do list so I am not sure where the chef found it, but a quick search revealed an identical recipe here.  We decided to use slightly less sugar than the original recipe after we made it the first time.

I paired the ice cream with a flourless walnut cake that deserves its own post, it is delicious.

Gorgonzola Gelato

135 gr Gorgonzola dolce
60 gr heavy whipping cream
550 gr whole milk
225 gr granulated sugar
3 g salt

Remove the cheese rind, and cut it in small pieces.  Bring the cream, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer.  Pour the heated milk onto the cheese and mix until melted.  To ensure that the ice cream stays nice and white do not use an immersion blender or the "mold" part will turn the ice cream an off white color.  Chill completely and freeze according to your ice cream maker instructions.


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