Monday, February 4, 2013

It's All About The Butter

It all started when I saw this card and the words stick of butter. All I could think of was Julia and her recipes. Or maybe because I am currently reading this hefty volume of Julia.  
With over 500 pages it certainly will keep me busy reading about her life.
"If you are afraid of butter, use cream."
Julia Child 
Julia was a pioneer in the field of cooking particularly exposing the American public to the fine art of French cooking. Julia in the 60's was really the first food network star. From what I have read she had huge appetite for life and lived it to the fullest.  She did not worry too much about about all her ingredients being healthy but did believe in using the freshest and not wasting any. 
Whenever I come across a recipe that uses a lot of butter (besides thinking of her) I try to figure out substitutions or perhaps find another one. But not on this recipe for Almond Cake with Strawberry Puree!
Every morsel was a heavenly bite and really worth the splurge. With Valentine's Day just around the corner consider putting this on your baking list. The recipe can be spread out over two days by making the cake and strawberry puree the first day and finish on the second day with the almond cream.
Almond Cake with Strawberry Puree
Almond Cake with Amaretto Vanilla Crème Topping & Strawberry Puree
Cook’s notes: A purchased pound cake could be substituted for the almond cake This recipe came from Donna W. but like many recipes we all get it was originally passed to her from a friend. I am told it once was in the Taste section Star Tribune paper. 
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • ½ of a 7 oz. tube of almond paste.
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1- 1/2 cups of flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1TB. almond extract
Cake Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a food processor blend almond paste with 1 TB of flour
  • In a bowl add crumbled almond paste and softened butter-mix thoroughly
  •  Add sugar in slowly and continue beating until light and fluffy
  • Beat in egg yolks one at a time
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly.
  • In a cup or small bowl, combine milk and almond extract.
  • Add one – third of flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir gently but thoroughly
  • Add one – third of milk mixture and stir gently but thoroughly. Continue to add flour mixture and milk alternately until all has been incorporated into the batter
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks but not dry; gently fold into batter thoroughly.
  • Spoon into well-greased 10-cup tube pan (an angel food cake pan) or two loaf pans. Bake for about 50-55 minutes (slightly less for loaf pans), or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes
  • Loosen cake gently around rim and tube. Cool completely before removing from pan.
Vanilla Amaretto Cream Topping Directions:
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups heavy whipping cream (do not whip)
Amaretto Liquor to taste or a dash of almond extract 
 Whisk all above ingredients together until thick and refrigerate.
Strawberry Puree Directions:
2 cups fresh strawberries
¼ cup sugar or to taste
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
Mix above ingredients in a blender and then strain mixture over a saucepan so seeds go in strainer and cook puree until soft
To Serve
Place cake slice on plate, add dollop of amaretto cream and then dollop of strawberry puree
Bon Appetit

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