ANGEL FOOD CAKE WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
Playing around with another new eggy book, “The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook,” I enjoyed finding and testing this keeper of a recipe. It was easy, even more so because I used egg whites from a carton from Trader Joe’s (and author Terry Golson suggests measuring the whites by volume, not number of eggs). The first time I made the cake, I garnished it with my own simple topping of pureed frozen strawberries lightly sweetened with maple syrup. But the raspberry-sauced one sounds even better.
“If you’ve only tasted angel food cake purchased from a supermarket, this recipe will be a revelation,” writes Ms. Golson. “Unlike commercial angel food cakes, which often taste metallic and too sweet, this one has a clean flavor.”
The book is full of all sorts of other recipes, including Cocoa Angel Food Cake with Chocolate-Espresso Glaze that I want to try, and lots of information about eggs, and I plan to share it with my neighbor Daniel and his family, who keep chickens in their backyard.
— Bob Batz Jr.
1 1⁄4 cups egg whites (8 to 10 whites)
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cake or pastry flour (sifted before measuring)
For the raspberry sauce
2 cups frozen raspberries
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons raspberry liqueur
2 cups fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the bottom third.
To make the cake, in a large, clean, dry bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the salt and vanilla. (This is easiest to do in a stand mixer, but a handheld electric mixer can be used. The whites will greatly increase in volume, so use the largest bowl you have.)
With the mixer running at high speed, add the granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until stiff, shiny peaks form. (The tips of the peaks will remain upright and not fall over.)
This is one of the few recipes where I sift the flour before measuring. It is very important that you have exactly the right amount of flour and that it is fluffy and free of lumps. Fold 1⁄4 cup of the flour into the egg whites. Continue to add small amounts of flour until all of it has been added and distributed evenly throughout the batter.
Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan. Using a rubber spatula, smooth out the surface.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Put the cake pan upside down on a wire rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the raspberry sauce. Put the frozen raspberries, brown sugar and liqueur in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until the raspberries soften and burst. (Don’t use the microwave for this.)
Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the seeds.
When the cake is cool, run a flexible spatula along the sides of the pan to release the cake. Place the cake on a serving plate. Pour the sauce slowly over the top, letting some drip over the sides.
Arrange the fresh berries on and beside the cake. Slice with a serrated knife or an angel food cake knife.
— “The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook” by Terry Golson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2014, $19.99)
LEEKS VINAIGRETTE WITH HERBED QUAIL EGGS
In cookbooks and restaurants of all kinds, you've seen eggs on top of just about everything, from hamburgers to pizza. You can get all sorts of ideas from the new cookbook "Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg" by Andrea Slonecker.
I thought this one would be great for Easter and especially loved the chance to play with tiny quail eggs, which have become easy to get at my Market District store. My 6-year-old loved popping the hard-boiled eggs into his mouth. The book gives detailed instructions on how to boil eggs to various levels of doneness, and how to properly cook eggs in other ways.
"I prefer them soft-cooked in this recipe; creamy yolks yield richness next to the tart vinaigrette," she writes. "But hard-cooked are good, too."
I cooked my quail eggs a little longer than the 2 1/2 minutes called for here, but will make them creamier that way the next time. You easily could substitute chicken eggs, boiled to your desired doneness.
-- Bob Batz Jr.
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large or 8 small leeks
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
6 2½-minute quail eggs
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tender herbs, such as dill, tarragon, chervil or parsley
Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water, season well with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking constantly until the dressing is fully blended. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. The vinaigrette should be thickened and homogenous, with a fairly strong, sour flavor that will be balanced by the sweet leeks.
Prepare the leeks by trimming the roots and dark green ends so you're left with just the light green and white parts. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and then crosswise, so that they are each about 4 to 5 inches long. If the leek halves are wider than 1 inch, cut them in half again lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, getting between the leaves to remove any dirt but keeping them intact. Tie the leeks in 4 bundles with kitchen twine.
When the water is boiling, add the leeks. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until the leeks are very tender and sweet, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander in the sink until they are dry and cooled to just above room temperature.
Arrange the leeks on a long platter so that they are all pointing in the same direction. Pour the vinaigrette down the center of the row of leeks and sprinkle on the capers. Peel the quail eggs.
Put the herbs on a small plate and, one at a time, roll the eggs in them to coat thoroughly. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and dot on top of the leeks. Garnish with pepper and serve family-style at the table.
-- "Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg" by Andrea Slonecker (Chronicle, March 2014, $24.95)
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.