Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: French Strawberry Cake

Our latest entry in the Tuesdays With Dorie exploration of Baking With Julia is French Strawberry Cake. Basically, it's a super-upgraded version of strawberry shortcake, made with a genoise split into three layers, sandwiched with mashed, macerated berries and whipped cream.

I intended to make this cake last weekend, but my free periods ended up disappearing. I then figured I'd do a catch-up later, but when I saw that we would have three recipes to prepare in July, I decided to just get it done. As it turned out, it all came together pretty quickly, although I started it in the evening and finished it the next morning.

I guess I lucked out, but my genoise turned out really well. Next time, I need to remember the cooking-school trick of whisking in the flour, which helps to avoid those nasty pockets of unincorporated flour. I made the cake last night, and prepped the berries. Instead of an all-strawberry cake, I used raspberries for a portion of the strawberries that were called for.

I'd split the cake into three layers last night, so the assembly went together quickly this morning. I drained the berries in a sieve to get rid of the extra juice, then got going.

The amount of whipped cream seemed a little spare, so I was not overaggressive with what I used between layers.

In a few minutes, the cake was filled and ready to frost.

I am not necessarily a huge fan of whipped cream as a frosting, but I liked the way this one turned out. It seems like this could be a really versatile base, too: I'm thinking a peach-raspberry filling would be good, or pear-raspberry. This recipe will be revisited.

One confession: While I picked up a pint of local-farm-fresh strawberries for this cake (intended for decoration), I ended up eating most of them because they tasted so dang good. What a reminder of how dreadful mass-produced strawberries have become. That said, the mass-produced berries are what I used on top of the cake, and as the filling. No regrets there, either. I loved each and every fresh, sweet, juicy local berry I consumed.

If you'd like the recipe, please visit this week's hosts at Sophia's Sweets and Think, Love, Sleep, Dine. (Both of their cakes look amazing!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Oasis Naan

I'm about a week late with my Oasis Naan for the Tuesdays With Dorie project. Since I knew I was going to be out of town the weekend before the post date for blog reports, I planned to make the naan over Memorial Day weekend. Then, for Memorial Day weekend, it was about 7000°F with a dew point of 6999, and I didn't much feel like it would be a great idea to turn the oven on.

Fast forward to yesterday. I decided to make broccoli quiche for dinner, but needed an onion. I went to the nearest grocery store and bought the onion, along with four bags of other stuff, including a tikka masala sauce and some chicken. It wasn't til I was on my way home that I thought: Hey, naan would be good with chicken tikka masala. I knew I didn't have any scallions, and since I wasn't about to head back to the store, I decided to substitute chives, which I had bought for another recipe.

I ended up making the Oasis Naan dough by hand and have to admit I can't remember the last time I made a yeasted dough in that fashion. The dough was very easy to work with. After I got under way with baking the naan, I should have refrigerated the balls of dough that were awaiting baking as the dough was starting to get puffy as it sat in the warm kitchen.

One other plus to making the naan: I finally had a reason to use a pizza stone I got for my birthday last year. I couldn't track down my pizza peel, but instead, I used a huge spatula that I got for holding cake layers after they've been split. Worked like a charm.