Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Savory Cheddar, Goat Cheese and Cilantro Cake / Cake Salé aux Cheddar, Fromage de Chèvre et Coriandre
I don’t remember which one came first: cooking, or the words that came with the recipes.
My mother had a small collection of pocket size French Cookbooks that I loved reading. The cookbooks had no pictures and no stories, just recipes, words and may be some drawing here and there. Yet, these books played a major role in the life of a teenage girl who wanted to learn the art of cooking.
Leafing through a cookbook that has no pictures, I was more drawn to a recipe that calls itself “Pain Bourguignon”, “Braised green lentils on a bed of Escarole”, “Anna potato cake” or even “Eggs en Cocotte” than to the ones with a less phonetic impact. Once I gave my poor siblings a taste of what was at the time my obsession with the word: Pilaf. Say it again, slowly: P-I-L-A-F! The way the tongue caresses the palate gently makes it sound more mystifying and delicious.
One sunny Friday, when my parents said they would be away for the afternoon, and that they might be late for supper, I nodded my head religiously to my mother’s leftover-reheating recommendations while the word Pilaf danced sensuously and discreetly in my mind. Once my parents had left, I had my rice, my onion, my chicken stock and my seasoning on the counter top. I was a girl on a mission.
The rice was beautiful, served in a royal blue glass dish, fluffed with a fork and decorated with some chopped parsley. I sat in my Mother’s place and served my siblings some of the rice and the other leftovers. I was proud of my self. Even more proud to explain my siblings how this wasn’t any kind of rice, this was P-I-L-A-F Rice! (With the tongue rolling, of course!)
The first bite was a little unexpected. But I decided to stay quiet and continued on with another spoonfuls, hoping that my siblings wouldn’t notice. Then my older sister put down her fork. “It’s undercooked, some grains are still raw,” my sister said, and went on to eat my mother’s leftovers.
“No, it’s not undercooked, it’s Al-dente” (Another word that I loved using at that time, too!)
Then my younger brothers followed and I couldn’t convince them anymore to eat it; even when I asked them to fish the raw grains out.
I almost finished my plate, but inside I was devastated with the knowledge that I have made a mistake somewhere in the recipe. I served my family a dish of partially raw rice and tried to make them believe that this was how the dish was to be served: Crunchy Pilaf!
Ever since this episode, I have learned how to make Pilaf Rice properly. But I still love using beautiful, exotic names for my dishes to impress the crowd. Even though the recipes are still the same. Somehow, I find it more alluring to introduce this Savory Cake as a Savory Cheddar, Goat Cheese and Cilantro cake than: Savory Quickbread, which is just what it is in reality. But much more.
I made this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’ Serious Eats chronicles: Baking with Dorie. The cake is simply marvelous and oh, so easy to make. You basically whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, the wet in another, and then you gently combine the two. Pour, bake, let it cool, and you’ve got yourself a moist, delicious and cheesy cake that would make any novice baker proud. The only minor changes that I made to the original recipe was to use a mix of white whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour, to use cilantro instead of chives (it was a manner of availability) and to use goat cheese for its fresh note. I love to serve this savory cake with salads, or as a toast for my sandwiches. After a few days, when it dries out, I like to slice it, toast it, and dice it into croutons to garnish my salads or soups.
Savory Cheddar, Goat Cheese and Cilantro Cake
Recipe: Adapted fom Here
- 1cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (it depends on what cheese and add-ins you're using. I used 1 tsp)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste; you could even add a pinch of hot pepper)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces coarsely grated cheddar or other cheese
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheese or other cheese, cut into very small cubes
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or other herbs
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk the ingredients together to combine. Put the eggs in another mixing bowl; whisk for about 1 minute, until they're foamy and blended. Whisk in the milk and olive oil.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and, using a sturdy rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, gently mix until the dough comes together. There's not need to be energetic—beating the dough toughens it—nor do you need to be very thoroughly. Just stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Now, stir in the cheese, grated and cubed, the herbs and the toasted walnuts, if you're using them. You'll have a thick dough. Turn the dough into a buttered loaf pan and even the top with the back of the spatula or spoon.
Slide the loaf pan into a 350F-preheated oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a slender knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, wait about 3 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and turn the loaf over onto the rack; invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.
The cake can be served when it is still slightly warm, but like Dorie herself, I prefer it when it has cooled completely.
Well wrapped, the cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature or for up to 2 months in the freezer (thaw in the wrapper). It is normal that the cake may seem a little dry after a couple of days. At that point, it's good to toast the slices. I like to use them as little croutons in my salad and soups, too.
Cake Salé aux Cheddar, Fromage de Chèvre et Coriandre
In Francais Please: Adapté d'ici
- 110g de farine
- 100g de farine blanche complete
- 1 petite c.s de levure chimique
- ½ a 1c.c de sel (tout depends du fromage que vous utilisez et de ce que vous voulez ajouter. J’ai mis 1 c.c)
- ¼ c.c de poivre noir faichement moulu
- 3 gros oeufs, a temperature ambiante
- 100ml lait entier, a temperature ambiante
- 100ml d’huile d’olive extra vierge
- 85g de cheddar, grossierement rapé
- 50g de fromage de chevre, coupé en en dés
- 125ml coriandre, haché
- 100ml noix, grossierement hachées (facultatives)
Dans Une grande jatte, mélanger les farines, la levure, le sel et le poivre. Dans un autre bol, battre les oeufs pendant un minute jusqu’à ce qu’ils deviennent mousseux et bien incorporés. Ajouter le lait et l’huile d’olive.
Verser tous les ingredients liquides sur les ingredients secs, et mélanger doucement à l’aide d’une spatule ou une cuillere en bois. Ne pas trop mélanger ou le cake sera dur et sec. Ajouter le fromage rapé et le fromage de chèvre en cubes, les noix et Mélanger encore. Votres pate sera épaisse. Verser la pate sur un moule à cake beurré et lisser la surface du cake à l’aide d’une maryse ou le dos d’une cuillere a soupe.
Glisser le cake au four, et faire cuire à 180C pendant 35-45 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le cake soit doré et qu’un couteau inséré à l’interieur du cake en ressort propre. Laisser le cake dans sans moule pendant 3 minutes, puis démouler sur une grille à patisserie et laisser refroidir à temperature ambiante à l’endroit. Vous pouvez le servir tiede, mais je le préfere tout comme Dorie, completement refroidi.
Bien envelopé dans un film plastique, le cake peut se garder pendant 2 jours à temperature ambiante ou pendant 2 mois au congélateur (décongeler-le en le laissant dans le film plastique). Il est normal que le cake durcisse après quelques jours. A ce stage, il est préférable de griller les tranche en toast (J’aime les griller et les couper en dés pour décorer salades et soupes.