From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...and so it ends. Today we feature the work of Julie Powell who holds the final position on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food. Strangely enough, the journey of the past year ends with a young woman who owes her career to the first woman who appeared on the list. We have come full circle, and due to the circumstances that connect these two women, will end this series where it started, with the recipes of Julia Child. Julie Powell, an aspiring writer caught in the limbo of a dead end job, challenged herself to complete the 524 recipes that encompassed Julia Child's first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in 365 days. She created a blog, The Julie/Julia Project, to record her progress and gained an audience as she wrote and worked her way through the challenge. The blog went on to become a book, 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, and her experiences in writing it became half of the plot for the movie Julie and Julia. The world is full of people who talk, but do not do. Julie Powell had a great idea, and while she is not Harper Lee or Julia Child, she carried her idea to fruition and has been rewarded for it. She made her dream come true. Her initial publishing success has been followed by a second book, Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession. It's a good read that will give you some insight into Julie Powell. She is currently working on a novel. Next week a few of us will share some final thoughts about the list of the nifty fifty. I hope you'll join us for one last look at those who were honored and those who were overlooked.
I decided to narrow the choice of recipes from which I'd choose today's feature by limiting myself to those that were prepared in the movie Julie and Julia. I settled on Julia's Reine de Saba, or Queen of Sheba Cake because it is a bit festive and I knew it was delicious. This chocolate and almond cake was very popular when it was first discovered by Julia's army of followers. While I have not made it in recent years, there was a time when it was a regular feature on my table. The recipe has appeared in several of Julia's books, and interestingly enough, it isn't always prepared in the same way. She appears to have done some experimentation with ways of folding egg whites and flour into the cake batter. Fortunately, they all work and produce a delicious cake that I hope you will try. Here's the recipe.
Reine de Saba - Queen of Sheba Cake with Chocolate Glaze...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Julia Child and Julie Powell
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons dark rum or strong coffee
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup blanched almonds pulverized with 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour, in a sifter set on wax paper
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set rack in the lower middle level. Butter and flour an 8 x 1 x 1-1/2-inch round cake pan.
2) In a double boiler or bowl set over a pan of water, combine chocolate and rum or coffee. Bring water to a simmer, cover, and let chocolate melt, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat.
3) In a 3-quart mixing bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to cream the butter until soft and fluffy, then add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat 1 minute, then beat in the yolks, one at a time.
4) In another mixing bowl, beat whites until foaming, beat in cream of tartar and salt, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until stiff, shining peaks form.
5) Blend warm melted chocolate into the yolk mixture, then blend in almonds and almond extract. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into chocolate to lighten it. Scoop remainder whites over chocolate and, alternating with sprinkles of the flour, rapidly and delicately fold in whites and flour.
6) Immediately turn batter into the prepared pan, tilting it in all directions to run it up to the rim, and set it in the oven.
7) Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake has puffed to top of pan and a toothpick plunged into it 2 and 3 inches from the edges comes out clean. (Center of cake should move slightly when pan is gently shaken.
8) Remove pan to a rack and let it cool for 15 minutes, then unmold onto rack. Let it cool completely, at least 2 hours, before storing or icing. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
Chocolate Glaze for Cake:
Combine 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons rum or coffee in a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl sitting on top of a saucepan of barely simmering water) and melt slowly, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and beat in 6 tablespoons butter, one tablespoon at a time. Beat over a bowl of ice water to cool to a spreading consistency, and spread over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired. Serve immediately or chill until needed. Allow to sit out and come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before serving.
The following bloggers are also featuring recipes associated with Julie Powell. I hope you'll pay them all a visit. They are all great cooks who have wonderful blogs.
Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Sue - The View from Great Island, Barbara - Movable Feasts
Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen, Annie - Most Lovely Things, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me, Martha - Simple Nourished Living, Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink