Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake.

This is not a cake at all in the traditional sense. It is more like a frittata than a cake, but it is not a frittata either. It is delicious whether you eat it just after you have made it or the next day. Once you have made the original cauliflower version feel free to riff on it. You can make it with other vegetables and it will still be good. I have not had the chance to do that myself but a friend of mine has done so with very good results. I have only made one change to Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe from his book Plenty More, I roasted the cauliflower rather than simmer it in water.

Cauliflower Cake
serves 4 to 6

1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed and broken into small florets. About 4 cups.
1 medium red onion, peeled
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
7 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan cheese or other aged cheese, about 6 ounces or more if you are feeling generous. The original recipe calls for 220 grams which translates to almost 8 ounces
melted unsalted butter for brushing the pan
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds (or 1 T sesame seeds and 1 tsp nigella seeds. I have never seen nigella seeds but that is what Ottolenghi calls for in his original recipe. They would be prettier.)
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 425º.  Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2" springform pan with parchment and brush with melted butter. Cover the sides with the sesame seeds.
Toss the cauliflower florets with some of the olive oil and some salt and roast until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven down to 400º.
Cut 4 slices from one end of the red onion and separate the rings. Chop the rest of the onion and sauté until soft in the rest of the oil with the rosemary. Let the onion cool. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs and basil, then whisk in the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and plenty of pepper. When smooth, stir in the onion and cauliflower. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan and lay the onion rings on top. Bake in the center of the 400º oven for about 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. When the cake is done allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. It is best not to serve it hot. When it is completely cooled you can wrap it and refrigerate to serve the next day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Revised Tartine Cherry Clafoutis

It is hard to believe that it has been 6 years since I first had cherry clafoutis. If you have never had clafoutis, it is not only delicious but extremely easy to make. Yes, cherries are a pain to pit, but you can do as the French do and leave the pits in or if you don't even want to think about pits, you can make it with another sort of fruit. Apricot clafoutis is very good and I think olallieberry would be outstanding.
The recipe I have used previously was straight from the Tartine dessert cookbook. I have now made a couple of changes and even so they deserve major credit for the recipe I now feel it is mine.

Cherry Clafoutis
2 cups whole milk (I used Jersey milk, which is richer than milk from other cows. You might want to add a bit of cream.)
2/3 cup sugar (I used organic)
1 vanilla bean, split
pinch salt
3 whole eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons kirsch
2 cups cherries, pitted or not. If the cherries are pitted add a few finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 425º. Butter a 10" ceramic quiche mold or pie dish.
In a small saucepan, combine milk, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla bean, salt, and butter. Place over medium heat and stirring to dissolve the sugar, heat to just under a boil. While the milk mixture is heating, break 1 egg into a heatproof bowl, add the flour gradually and whisk until free of lumps. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly ladle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean into the mixture and add the kirsch. Pour into the mold and add the fruit, making sure that it is evenly distributed. Place the pan on a shelf in the middle of the oven.
Bake the clafoutis until it is just set in the center and slightly puffed and browned around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, turn up the temperature to 500º. Evenly sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar over the top. Return the clafoutis to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to caramelize the sugar. Watch carefully as it will darken quickly. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve the clafoutis warm or at room temperature.
The clafoutis is at it's best by far the day that it is made, but it still tastes great the next day. It makes a wonderful breakfast if you are the type of person who enjoys pie for breakfast.