Saturday, August 04, 2012

Julia Child 100th Anniversary Celebration Recipe

If I said the name Julia Child in a room full of people. Many would have different thoughts pop into their head.They may think an inspirational,humorous,and strong women that doesn't take herself to seriously.A person that is very passionate about food and doesn't let her mistakes bring her down.Or a women that purely wants to teach everyone that they can cook and be successful at it.These are just some of the traits that make Julia Child unique and special.

However her personality is not just about what made her special.She was also very hardworking and skilled at cooking.She made many marvelous french dishes and desserts seen on her television shows.She always let the viewers know that mistakes are about learning and anyone can cook, even french cuisine.This is what made the shows really stand out because she didn't make it about herself.It was purely about sharing recipes and teaching everyone how to cook.She was a very down to earth person who made a big difference in the world of french cooking and is still inspiring young people of today.

So to keep her inspiration alive and well.Many people around the world are celebrating throughout the year her 100th birthday anniversary.Her actual birthday is going to be on August 15th and I hope everyone finds their own foodie way to appreciate her.In the online world, their have been definitely been celebrations.The Julia Child Face book Page ran by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf has been continuously sharing recipes, and photos while fan's have been leaving many comments.There is also an JC100 twitter feed full of people's tweets to celebrate the anniversary.However the best part is they have been contacting foodie bloggers, including myself to join in on a recipe of the week challenge.

This challenge has been going on since the beginning of May and will end on her birthday.For people that don't know what this is or haven't join.To keep you updated were almost at the end of week twelve and were simply sent one top recipe a week(Mondays) that is from Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.From there were able to choose to review the recipe of that week or choose one from a past week.It's whatever suits the blog topic the best or what the author feels comfortable making.For people not part of the challenge you can easily see all the recipes we've been sent on Recipe Of The Week. Join in on the fun!

So for me to celebrate Julia I chose to review her Reine De Saba Recipe.Which is the first recipe I have made from her and is actually a great fit for "The Art Of Baking" since its a dessert. In English this recipe is known as a Chocolate and Almond Cake or AKA Queen Of Sheba Cake.It's described as a rich,decadent and almost flour less cake.Which these traits are all very true.

To get right down to business I'm going to start with reviewing the ingredients and equipment to the recipe.To start all the food items are all pretty simple to find in any grocery store and may be already in your own kitchen.For me, I had to buy myself some baking item such as baking chocolate,butter,almonds,almond extract,cake flour and instant coffee.They only difficult item for me to find was pulverized almonds.So to make everything work I chose to buy sliced almonds and do the job myself.This came out to be a great idea since I was planing on decorating the cake with sliced almond.Anyways,  the rest of the ingredients I already had on hand and for the equipment these items should be in most people's kitchen.The only change I had to make was to use a double boiler for part of the recipe,but beside that I no issues with the equipment.Overall,nothing to expensive or complicated to figure out for replacement.

For the recipe directions, I did have to read it thoroughly just to make sure every step was done as best as possible.However I knew I had to have fun with the recipe too and not take myself to seriously.I just had to say to myself "With mistakes you learn more then if you did it all correctly".

So in the first part,the directions were pretty easy to follow.I had to prepare the cake pan and then melt the chocolate with brewed coffee.However when melting the chocolate I did have to change to using a double boiler as I mentioned before.Ultimately it made it a lot simpler for me.From their it was basically creaming the rest of the ingredients such as butter,sugar,and egg yolks. Then it was all about beating the egg whites and salt together to soft peaks and then to stiff peaks.These whites are what can make and break this recipe.It's what really helps create the rising and texture of this cake.That is why its quite important to know what a soft peak and a stiff peak is for this recipe.

The next part is all about adding the flavors into the butter mixture. The melted chocolate,pulverized  almonds, and artificial almond extract(or pure). These are all the ingredients that create flavor and texture.The almonds extract brings a strong flavor and the chocolate brings a dark sweetness to the cake.While the almonds creates a slight crunchy texture.They bring a large combination of flavors to the table.

The second to last step is quite important because its all about folding in egg whites and cake flour.I learned that you much fold in this ingredients as delicately as possible so it can help rise and create texture in the cake, when baking.My cake rose pretty well and I was surprise that just the egg whites created the lift in this cake.This was my first cake made with egg whites and I'm hoping I did alright.

The final step to this recipe is the baking of the cake.Which is quite important since this dessert rely on having a slightly underdone center to create a creamier texture.For me, I think I slightly missed the target of creamy;However I still ended up with quite a moist cake.It definitely could of been creamier in texture so make sure to read and take in to account that its quite important to have the center move a little bit and be slightly oily in the center.To help create a more creamier cake.Either way the cake has a great texture just one is creamier then the other.

So once the cake was all cooled, I created the chocolate butter icing, which was super easy to make.All I had to do was melt the chocolate with brewed coffee, using a double boiler. Then lastly I had to creamed in butter off the heat,which then created a really creamy, light texture icing with a strong chocolate flavor.It was very close to a mocha flavored icing with a nice spreadable consistency.It was really easy to spread to the cake and it set really well.Overall, the cake was really fun to decorate with this icing and the sliced almond were super simple to add to the cake.

The flavor combination of this entire cake was almond,chocolate and coffee.The almond extract of course took the lead in flavor, while the chocolate tagged along side it. Then the icing had the semisweet chocolate with the coffee flavor.Creating a almost mocha flavor for the cake.It had a very unique combination of flavors,which I admire in a dessert.

Now the texture combination to this cake was very moist and fudgy.While having a slight crunchy texture from the almonds.The texture didn't hit creamy like the recipe wanted it to, but it was very close and I'm proud I was able to succeed that.This was a very delicious cake and it only got better in texture and flavor overtime.Overall, this cake was delicious in flavor, simple to decorate and  looked incredibly fancy in the end.

So to end my review in the best way I can.I have to say a thank you to everyone who created this recipe of the week challenge and a large thank you has to go to Julia for being such a inspiration even when she is no longer with us.I'm hoping their may be someone like her again in the future.However its good to remember that books never die.

I'm so glad I joined in on this challenge because I had so much fun making this dessert to celebrate Julia's 100th Anniversary.I love that the first recipe I have ever made from her is to appreciate what she has brought to the world of food.The word to describe what I'm feeling has to be "awesome:" So I hope who ever is reading this and your most likely a foodie.You have to join in on this celebration.It doesn't have to be anything big.You can make a recipe,blog post,review,comment,share a memory,photos or whatever you can think of.Just help me and others keep the inspiration alive!Get young people like myself or even younger involved.

I'll even give you a head start to see what is all going on! 

Julia Facebook page
JC100 Tumblr
JC100 Pinterest

Thanks! Bon Appetit!

   Reine de Saba by JuliaChild100 on Scribd
Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.