Saturday, July 17, 2004

blueberry cornmeal cakes

blueberry cornmeal cake Posted by Hello 

blueberries aren't exactly my favorite berry.  i find them pretty insipid usually, and there isn't much texture.  i really prefer blackberries or boysenberries.  but somtimes i do enjoy them in certain sweets.  several years ago (i know, that's really sad.  so long ago) i had an amazing blueberry tart at restaurant lulu in san francisco.  it was juicy, sweet, and was baked in a cornmeal crust which actually was the star.  (as an aside, i haven't been too impressed with lulu lately).
blueberry muffins aren't my favorite either, but i recently found one in claudia fleming's cookbook the last course:  the desserts of gramercy tavern, which is a beautiful and tempting book, by the way.  this blueberry cornmeal cake is not your standard blueberry muffin.  it's more like a financier, but bigger and with more texture.  it's got a crispy, chewy golden top, and an incredibly moist interior, fragrant with browned butter and orange zest.   almond flour and cornmeal give it a nice toothsome texture.  because the batter is on the sweet side, you'll want to choose blueberries that have some tartness.
Blueberry Cornmeal Cakes
adapted from The Last Course
by Claudia Fleming
8 oz. unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cake flour
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
1 cup egg whites (about 8)
Grated zest of 1/2 an orange
1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium pot, melt the butter and cook until it browns.  It will smell wonderfully nutty.  Make sure to occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula so the milk solids don't stick and burn.  Take off heat and set aside so it doesn't continue to cook.
Sift the confectioners' sugar and cake flour into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add the almond flour and cornmeal.  Stir to combine.  With the whisk attachment, on lowest speed, add the egg whites and zest.  Once the dry ingredients are moistened, increase the speed to medium-low.  If it looks like there are lumps of flour or sugar, you can briefly increase the speed to smooth out the mixture.  Once smooth, add the butter, including all the brown bits, on medium-low speed.  Increase the speed to medium and whip until smooth.  Fold in the berries.  The batter can be used immediately or can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Scoop the batter into 12 standard muffin tins lined with paper cups.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown around the edges.


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