I received Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan (who apparently has quite a following) for Christmas this past year. After looking at all the delicious photos I finally had a chance to cook something from it. My book club had a meeting today so I decided to make something sweet to bring along. Quatre-quarts means four-fourths in French and is basically a French version of American pound cake. Dorie advises that this cake is on the drier side so it would be nice to serve with some whipped cream or sugared fruit. I used some of my CSA apples to make a sweet accompaniment. I see now why Dorie has so many fans, the cake turned out great and was really simple. I can’t wait to try some more recipes from the book, which I will be doing at a dinner party I’m hosting next month.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cups sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2-3 teaspoons dark run or Cognac (I used 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier but you couldn’t really taste it in the baked cake.)
About 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess. I even went a step further and lined it with a circle of parchment just to be sure it would come out of the pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk egg whites in a mixer until it forms stiff peaks and are glossy.
In a large bowl whisk together sugar and egg yolks until they are thick and pale. Add butter and vanilla or alcohol and whisk together until smooth. Whisk in flour. Using a rubber spatula fold in one-quarter of the egg whites. Fold in the remaining. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Mine took closer to 30 minutes to bake. Let cook on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and remove from the pan. Let cool completely on a rack.
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Heat all ingredients in a pot over medium low heat. I added a couple of tablespoons of water at first. Cover and simmer until apples start to break down. I helped them out by mashing them with a spoon. Cook and add more water as needed to get the desired consistency.