Simple recipes often have some important techniques.

I’m back and ready to go with lots of new information to share with you.  This morning I decided to go back to an old favorite and play around a bit.  Normally I am purist when it comes to baking.  I like the best ingredients and I usually follow the recipe closely.  I have been known to make mistakes in the method because I thought I already knew how to do it.  This recipe is an example of that.  I baked the cake a month or two ago realizing part way through I had not followed the instructions.  Oh well, it all ends up in the pan. Right?  Wrong.  The first photo is the cake when I did not follow the method exactly.  The second shot is today’s cake.

I followed the method exactly but I sifted the flour as per a secret I read about that Julia Child swore by.  Plus I soaked the maraschino cherries in amaretto for 30 minutes before putting them in the batter.  I love maraschinos but they seem to lack the flavor I recall from my childhood.  I expected a bigger difference in the two cakes.  I thought the first cake had an uneven top but really the second cake looks no different.  Did it make a difference to the cake by sifting?  The distribution of cherries is no better in the second cake despite dredging in flour and being very careful when I folded them into the batter.

Two important techniques come from the method of this simple recipe for Cherry Cake (, Five Roses Flour, 22nd Edition – an old Canadian favorite from many prairie kitchens).  The first thing is the addition of dry ingredients and wet ingredients.  Why should we start and end with the dry?  The second thing is dredging fruit in flour before mixing it into the batter.  I am going to explain the theory behind these two techniques, next wek.Image

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets – Baking With Julia

Today was the second challenge for the Tuesdays With Dorie.  I made the chocolate dough in my 4 cup food processor which was working at full capacity but it gave the dough a lovely texture.  The dough was difficult to work with as it was quite crumbly around the edges.  In my younger days, I would not have had the patience to work with this dough.  Lots of patching.  I used a rectangular tart pan rather than the small tart pans as I thought that size would be too large for this rich dessert.  The filling was easy to assemble.  I used Callebaut milk and white chocolate plus purchased the ladyfingers.  I had a small slice with a cup of tea for my dessert.  It looked beautiful however I think a garnish was necessary.  Perhaps a flavoured whip cream or a fruit coulis of some sort.  I found the creaminess of the chocolate bits inside to be distracting.  My filling may have been undercooked.  There was a slight “egginess” to it, I felt.  I cooked it for the full time and it was set when I tested it but I think next time I would increase the cooking time slightly.  What I loved about today’s challenge was that I used a food processor for the pastry.  Previously I would have made it by hand but I really liked the texture of the dough.  I think I will invest in a larger food processor.