Monday, October 26, 2009

Angel Food Cake with Concord Grape Sauce

Often for fruit sauces the French word coulis (pronounced /kuːˈliː/, "koo-LEE") is used, I'm not sure how we went from sauce to coulis, maybe in an attempt to be fancier? Mostly to my experience of eating out it's raspberries that get the coulis treatment, usually squirted decoratively under or on a decadent slice of chocolate cake.

In order to strike out on my own and try I devised this dessert over the weekend. Concord Grape season is rapidly coming to an end and I've been trying to figure out as many ways to use them as possible.

This is a great recipe because the grapes don't have to processed in anyway, no need to separate skins from pulp. Just wash and remove the stems and you're ready to put them in a pot and cook them down.

Angel food cake is something I have been making more and more - mostly as a result of making ice cream and pasta, I have lots of egg whites left over. You have to be organized and motivated when it comes to egg white, I collect them in a container and keep them in my fridge then forget to use them, after a week or so they lose their viscosity, becoming watery and acquire a funky smell. The good news is that Angel food cake is super simple to make and freezes great. It also disappears at an alarming rate as it is so light sweet and delicious.

Anecdotally, I found in the bottom of a drawer an Angel Food Cake pan that had a stick free surface on it, normally I was using my really old tin one that has the cool "legs" on it so when you cool it you don't have to hang it from a bottle you can just turn it upside down on the counter. So anyway, I see this non-stick pan and decide to use it for my Angel Food cake instead of my old tried and true un-coated old fashioned one. Guess what? The cake stuck and had to be pried from the pan with a metal spatula. So I threw out this last piece of Teflon in my kitchen and am embracing my retro old fashioned tried and true baking pans.

My last words on Angel Food Cake, if you get a little tipsy and forget to put your left over cake away at the end of the night it makes a great breakfast food sliced, toasted and buttered (my grandmother taught me that, though she never actually made a cake it was store bought but at 6 it didn't matter to me, it was delicious none the less.)

Angel Food Cake with Concord Grape Sauce

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In the bowl of a standard mixer (this becomes a real labor of love you if whisk it by hand) pour in 1 1/2 cups of fresh organic egg whites.

With the whisk attachment turn on to medium speed and get the whites frothy (about a minute or so).

Add to the white 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon room temperature water and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (concentrate would be a bad idea - you can also use 2 tablespoons of orange juice or lemon juice and omitting the water if you want a citrus flavored cake - a couple of tablespoons of finely grated lemon or orange rind can be added as well if you are doing this to enhance the flavor - the orange version with taste great served with a bitter hot chocolate sauce).

Beat the whites for about 1 or 2 minutes then add 3/4 organic cane sugar, continue to beat until whites are thick and glossy - another minute or two - don't over process. The egg whites will now fill the bowl having greatly increased in volume.

With a rubber spatula in three stages fold in 1 cup pre-sifted all purpose organic flour (I like King Arthur, but if you have a local source even better) another 3/4 organic cane sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Don't get too hung up on this part, just quickly and efficiently fold in the dry ingredients in three parts. You want to keep the volume while at the same time incorporating the dry ingredients thoroughly.

Pour the batter into an un-greased 10" tube pan place in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, it should be nicely brown and spring back when you touch it.

Remove from oven and turn upside down - if you don't have a tub pan with "legs" place it over a wine bottle to cool. Once at room temperature turn over and run a knife or spatula around the edges and bottom then turn over onto you serving plate.

Concord Grape Sauce

Wash and stem 1 pound of concord grapes and place in a sauce pan over medium heat. I use a potato masher to mash down the grapes in the initial minute so there is liquid in the pan - once they have started to boil I turn down the heat to a simmer and cook until the pulps of the grapes have either disintegrated or become so soft they easily will pass through a fine sieve about 8-10 minutes.

Pass through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the solids. Place the grape juice back into a sauce pan and add 3/4 cup of organic cane sugar, cook on medium heat until the sauce comes to a simmer, turn to low and cook for about 5 minutes, you want the sauce to thicken slightly and to make sure the sugar has dissolved.

Cool to room temperature then chill, the flavor is much better when the sauce is served cold. Can be made days in advance.

To serve pour about 1/4 cup of sauce on a dessert plate, place a nice thick wedge of Angel Food
Cake on top of the sauce and top with freshly whipped unsweetened cream.

Truly one of the best sweets I've ever come up with. Plate licking good!

1 comment:

Patty Cakes said...

i just made the sauce and it was delicious, thanks for the recipe.

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