Every now and then, I get a little too big for my britches…
Sunday evening Ralph and I had friends over for dinner. Our friends love to eat and I love to cook so it is a very happy relationship!
I prepared an Italian Spring menu…
It is wonderful to cook for people who appreciate the love that I pour into my food. This menu was designed specifically for them.
Prosecco con Rabarbaro – chilled Prosecco with rhubarb syrup
Antipasti di Verdure – roasted red bell peppers, huge spears of asparagus wrapped in proscuitto, smashed roasted eggplant with lemon zest and chillies and hand peeled artichoke hearts pan seared with garlic and olive oil
Spaghetti con Proscuitto e Arancia – hand-made pasta tossed in a creamy orange sauce garnished with crispy proscuitto
Costolette di Agnello con Pesto di Menta – local lamb chops broiled and topped with a garlicky mint pesto
Angelo Torta con Salsa di Lamponi – angel food cake served with raspberry sauce, lemon curd and whipped cream
Several years ago, I had prepared a garnish of candied orange peel for a salad which I had served to these same friends. They have mentioned it many times so I thought I would surprise them with a pasta dish honoring their beloved candied orange zest!
We ate Italian style…slowly and with enthusiasm for 5 hours! They were tickled with each course. With their accolades, came my swelling confidence and dessert…
I have made hundreds of angel food cakes over the course of my cooking career. Recipes vary but for the most part an angel cake is an angel cake or so I thought!
I almost had a stroke when I inserted my forks to serve the first slice. The cake was dense and heavy!
Most recipes call for 1 1/2 cups to 1 3/4 cups of egg whites. When I measured my egg whites, I had 2 cups so I thought, “what the heck” and used them all.
I ended up with an angel cake without wings. Angel cake should be as light as a feather and heaven bound. This sucker was going no where!
My wonderful friends never said a word. In fact, Bob had seconds but, I am sure, he was only being kind.
Every cook should have an ANGEL CAKE recipe…this is from the Joy of Cooking
Preheat oven to 350*F
Ungreased 10 inch tube pan
Sift together 3 times:
1 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, beat on low speed for 1 minute:
1 1/2 cups egg whites [about 12 large whites] Joy asks for cold egg whites…I say room temperature!!
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture increses in volume 5 times. The foam will hold a very soft moist shape when the beater are lifted from the bowl. Beat in gradually, on medium speed, ! tablespoon at a time 3/4 cup of sugar.
Transfer the egg white mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sift 1/8 of the flour mixture evenly over the top of the egg whites and gently fold in. Repeat until all of the flour has been incorporated.
Place the batter into the tube pan and smooth out the top.
Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool upside down for at least 1 1/2 hours, setting the tube over a bottleneck or resting the pan on 4 glasses.
When completely cool, run a knife around the inside of pan, around the tube and around the base.
Angel cake should be white, airy and light as a feather. Next time I will stick to the recipe!
Thanks for reading