Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Dog Ate My...

Every year for my husband's birthday I make him a cassata.
Its based on his aunt's cassata's filling and a recipe
for chocolate icing that I found in a Time-Life Italian cookbook.
Its actually the best thing I make.
It takes forever to do.
Anyhow, I had it all made
and resting in the refrigerator.
My husband and I went out to get him
a present. I come back and...

Well this is my dog Blizzard.

This is what the cake is supposed to look like.

We came home and the refrigerator door was open
and a big piece of the cake was missing.
Please excuse the messy fridge.

Needless to say I was pretty upset.
Also, chocolate is very bad for dogs.
However, he didn't get sick.

I planned to blog about this cake but not under
these circumstances.

To make the cake you need a spongecake.
I use the one from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

Separate 5 eggs. Beat the whites
until they stand up in soft peaks. Beat in a tablespoon
at a time 1/4 sugar.

Without washing the beaters,
beat the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon lemon
juice until thick and lemon colored. Add 3/4
cups sugar gradually. Pour over the whites and fold
in gently. Sift together 1 cup flour 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Gently fold flour mixture into the egg mixture.
Pour into 2 nine inch cake pans lined with
parchment paper and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Let cool and slice in half horizontally.

For the filing.

2 pounds of ricotta
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup orange flavor liqueur (or any flavor you like)
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
1/4 cup candied fruit (I use candied grapefruit peel that I make
at christmas)

Beat ricotta till nice and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Assemble the cake. Take one later of the cake. Sprinkle
with liqueur put in 1/3 of ricotta mixture.
Put cake layer on top of that. Sprinkle with
liqueur. Put 1/3 of ricotta mixture. Another piece of cake.
SPrinkle, ricotta, add the lid.

I stick bamboo skewers in the cake to stabilize it.
Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refridgerator
for 1 day!!!

Make the icing:
Over a double boiler melt 12 oz
semisweet chocolate. Add 2/3 cup
very strong coffee. When nicely melted,
turn off the heat and stir in a tablespoon
at a time 2 sticks unsalted butter.
When all done put in the fridge
to let it harden up. It takes a while
for it to become spreadable. Check it
out every so often and when its good
decorate your cake. The icing is like a
truffle filling. Really yummy.
The cake does well to rest for a while.

The Glass Family Gets Some Ice Cream

This is my entry for Novel Food. It comes from
Seymour an Introduction by J.D. Salinger.
Here we meet Buddy on his way to the
drugstore to buy some ice cream. This must
have taken place in the 1930s. Since there
were seven Glass children and they were buying
Louis Sherry ice cream it must have been a

It's an Anecdote, sink me, but I'll let it rip: At about nine, I had the very pleasant notion that I was the Fastest Boy Runner in the World. It's the kind of queer, basically extracurricular conceit, I'm inclined to add, that dies hard, and even today, at a super-sedentary forty, I can picture myself, in street clothes, whisking past a series of distinguished but hard-breathing Olympic milers and waving to them, amiably, without a trace of condescension. Anyway, one beautiful spring evening when we were still living over on Riverside Drive, Bessie sent me to the drugstore for a couple of quarts of ice cream. I came out of the building at that very same magical quarter hour described just a few paragraphs back. Equally fatal to the construction of this anecdote, I had sneakers on - sneakers surely being to anyone who happens to be the Fastest Boy Runner in the World almost exactly what red shoes were to Hans Christian Andersen's little girl. Once I was clear of the building, I was Mercury himself, and broke into a 'terrific' sprint up the long block to Broadway. I took the corner at Broadway on one wheel and kept going, doing the impossible: increasing speed. The drugstore that sold Louis Sherry ice cream, which was Bessie's adamant choice, was three blocks north, at 113th. About halfway there, I tore past the stationery store where we usually bought our newspapers and magazines, but blindly, without noticing any acquaintances or relatives in the vicinity. Then, about a block further on, I picked up the sound of pursuit at my rear, plainly conducted on foot. My first, perhaps typically New Yorkese thought was that the cops were after me - the charge, conceivably, Breaking Speed Records on a Non-School-Zone Street. I strained to get a little more speed out of my body, but it was no use. I felt a hand clutch out at me and grab hold of my sweater just where the winning-team numerals should have been, and, good and scared, I broke my speed with the awkwardness of a gooney bird coming to a stop. My pursuer was, of course, Seymour, and he was looking pretty damned scared himself. 'What's the matter? What happened?' he asked me frantically. He was still holding on to my sweater. I yanked myself loose from his hand and informed him, in the rather scatological idiom of the neighborhood, which I won't record here verbatim, that nothing had happened, nothing was the matter, that I was just running, for cryin' out loud. His relief was prodigious. 'Boy, did you scare me !' he said. 'Wow, were you moving ! I could hardly catch up with you!' We then went along, at a walk, to the drugstore together. Perhaps strangely, perhaps not strangely at all, the morale of the now Second-Fastest Boy Runner in the World had not been very perceptibly lowered. For one thing, I had been outrun by him. Besides, I was extremely busy noticing that he was panting a lot. It was oddly diverting to see him pant.

Louis Sherry was a high end confectioner.
Ice cream, chocolate and jam. I'm not
sure when the business closed. Salinger refers
to his chocolates in Raise High the Roof Beam,
Carpenters. Boo Boo evidently liked
to squish them to see what was inside.
I got this tin of Louis Sherry chocolates (no chocolates inside)
from ebay.

I have no idea what kind of ice cream Bessie would have
wanted. Maybe vanilla? Maybe a couple of different
quarts? They were a large family.

I made peppermint ice cream. This is a favorite
of my family. We make it after Christmas
to recycle the candy canes from our tree.

The recipe comes from an ice cream calendar from
1983. Unfortunately when I was making the
ice cream we were having a heat wave
and it didn't harden up as well as it should
have and the candies weren't distributed perfectly.
For the ice cream:

2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup crushed candy canes
(or peppermint candies)

beat the egg yolks up and
add a bit of milk.
Over Low heat beat the milk and
egg yolks. Add the sugar. Heat
until it covers the back of a spoon.
(I hate it when people say that!!!)
What I mean is don't let it boil
or it will curdle. If you have a thermometer
heat till about 190 F. Immediately
add the heavy cream and take
off the heat. Add half the crushed
candy. Chill thoroughly and make
in an ice cream maker. Just
before its finished churning add the remaining