Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Dinner, September 12, 2010

I always make two birthday desserts. I have a sweet tooth, what can I say? One is a cake, more homey and festive. The other is a plated dessert. One is almost always chocolate, and the other fruit. Chocolate and cake were covered with the Sweet and Salty Pretzel Cake. So, I began dreaming up my plated fruit dessert.

There is something about figs that are very intriguing. Honestly, they are often lacking in flavor, but when they are at their peak they are amazing. Roasting the figs concentrates the flavor and helps to bring out the sweet, fruity, figgy lusciousness. The figs are paired with another lovely cake, and olive oil torte. And its dairy free too. But I couldn't keep the plate dairy free of course, augmenting the plate with a lovely lemon ice cream, scented with a touch of goat milk yogurt and almond. Yes, it was as good as it sounds...

  Chilled tomato, habenero soup
Heirloom melon salsa
Filet of beef with Point Reyes bleu cheese, porcini mushrooms
Zucchini, potato, fennel and chevre

Almond scented olive oil torte
Roasted figs and strawberries
Lemon almond goat ice cream, verjus caramel, toasted almonds 

Almond scented olive oil torte
Adapted from Gourmet 
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
  2. Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with almond meal and flours. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
  3. Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with the whisk attachment at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
  4. Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned whisk at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
  5. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  6. Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.


  1. WOW that looks and sounds so good I'm drooling on my keyboard. How about the recipe for the chilled tomato/habenero soup??

  2. Congratulations on making one of the top blogs!

    Gourmet Cupcake

  3. The soup is pretty easy to make, and is probably best made ahead of time.

    2lbs tomatoes (early girl or other relatively sweet variety)
    olive oil
    garlic to taste
    red wine vinegar and sugar to taste
    1 habanero pepper

    Saute garlic in olive oil. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and warm in pot with olive oil. The goal here is to get them to start to break down, not to boil them into submission. Once they are warm, blend in Vitamix. Season with vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste. Loosen with water to desired consistency and re-season.

    Once it is well-blended, put in an airtight container. Take one habanero and cut in quarters and stir into soup. You just want the pepper to lightly spice it, not blend in the whole thing.

    Melon salsa
    1 melon
    1 red onion
    1 habanero
    basil leaves

    The melon salsa is pretty easy, too. Finely dice melon and purple onion. If the onion is too pungent, soak in salt water. Very finely dice a small bit of habanero and mix with melon and onion. Chiffonnade the basil and mix in. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Hope that makes enough sense.