Thursday, November 5, 2009

Number 28: Julia Child's Biscuit au Beurre (Butter Spongecake)


Julie Powell ain’t got nothing on us….

I would prefer to think that we are not getting caught up in the Julia Child renaissance. I grew up with the French Chef; my grandma would always have her shows on whenever I came to visit…which was often. That raspy voice is a part of my childhood. So into the boxes of college stuff went her tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking…early edition to boot.

So what better way to procrastinate on a Thursday night when we should all be reading/writing/studying/schooling than trying to recreate one of her finely crafted recipes in the confines of a tiny dorm kitchen?

…and I have a knack for impressions. Julia’s raspy voice is my specialty…much to the chagrin of Jess and her Roomie. I have been threatened with bodily harm if I ever use it again in their presence. All I have to say to this is, “Bon Appetit!”

I have now been told that my Julia Child imitation is half Julia, half evil old lady from Hansel and Gretel. Do we really know how a fictional character sounds? Well, the increasing grip Roomie has on her spoon seems to say yes.*

Jess's note:
* Seriously. He sounds like he's an old lady who wants to eat us. :)

Biscuit au Beurre
(Butter Spongecake. Halved.)

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour (sifted once more)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take a half-sheet baking pan with decent sides and line with parchment paper.
1. In a mixing bowl, gradually beat together the 2 egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar
2. Add in vanilla and beat until the mixture is pale, thick, and forms a ribbon when lifted allowed to fall

3. In a separate bowl, beat together salt and 2 egg whites until soft peaks form
4. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the whites and beat until stiff

5. Scoop 1/4 of the egg whites over the top of the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Sift 1/4 of the flour over the mixture as well. Fold delicately until just incorporated
6. Repeat the process with 1/3 of the remaining egg whites and 1/3 of the remaining flour
7. Repeat with half of the remaining egg whites and flour
8. Repeat with the last bits of egg whites, flour, and half of the melted butter
9. When partially blended, fold in the rest of the butter (but omit the milky residue at the bottom of the pan) Do not overmix.
10. Turn into prepared pan, tilting pan to run batter to the rim all around.
11. Set in the middle of the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cake should be finished when it is risen, lightly browned and just shrinking from the edges of the pan.
12. Remove and let stand for 6 to 8 minutes. Then lift parchment paper out and remove carefully from the edges.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

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