Taking over from Julia Child, Dorie Greenspan offers contemporary French cooking for those with more taste than time.
EASY & DELISH | In a world awash in cookbooks filled with pretty pictures and recipes that come up flat, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, published last fall, reads and eats like a classic—a book that will do for contemporary French cooking what Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking did for Cordon Bleu.
Greenspan, who actually worked with Child among other culinary luminaries, says the 300 recipes in her compendium “are a mix of old and new, traditional and exotic, store-bought and homemade, simple and complex… straightforward and practical, as they must be—French home cooks are as busy as we are.”
Beloved by foodies everywhere, Greenspan keeps in touch with her legions of followers through her addictive blog, doriegreenspan.com, and online cook-along clubs, where amateur cooks mix, chop and bake their way through one of her books. It’s not too late to join French Fridays with Dorie and cook through Around My French Table then share your exploits in words and pictures on the internet.
One dessert FFWD tackled last fall was Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake, a recipe meeting the Frugalbits mandate for dishes that are super easy and quick—plus it looks and tastes French-bakery sublime.
Dorie Greenspan’s Recipe For Marie-Hélène’s More-Fruit-Than-Batter Apple Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and, when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the centre comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
You can find Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan online at www.chapters.indigo.ca
Recipe: Excerpted from Around My French Table, © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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Photo: © Alan Richardson