Monday, August 14, 2006

Cake and Tea in Prousts blog...

I mentioned earlier that Karen at Mister Anchovy's BBQ the other night made a killer cake. she dropped off the recipe here, but first how about some more Proust in his famous section of cake and tea...lintel tea and Madelines to be precise.


Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre
and the drama of my going to bed there, had anyexistence for me, when one day in winter,
as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily
take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short,
plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines,' which look as though they had been moulded
in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day
with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked
a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a
shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place.
An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its
origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me,its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory--
this new sensation havinghad on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence;
or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal.
Whence could it have come to me, thisall-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of
tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not,indeed, be of the same nature as theirs.
Whence did it come? What did itsignify? How could I seize upon and define it?

I drink a second mouthful, in which I find nothing more than in the first,a third, which gives me rather less
than the second. It is time to stop; the potion is losing its magic. It is plain that the object of my quest,
the truth, lies not in the cup but in myself. The tea has called up in me,but does not itself understand,
and can only repeat indefinitely with agradual loss of strength, the same testimony; which I, too, cannot
interpret, though I hope at least to be able to call upon the tea for it again and to find it there presently, intact
and at my disposal, for my final enlightenment. I put down my cup and examine my own mind. It is for
it to discover the truth. But how? What an abyss of uncertainty whenever the mind feels that some part
of it has strayed beyond its own borders; when it, the seeker, is at once the dark region through which it must go
seeking, where all its equipment will avail it nothing. Seek? More than that: create.
It is face to face with something which does not so far exist, to which it alone can give reality and substance,
which it alone can bring into the light of day.


...and Karens...

Chocolate Pecan Torte with Caramel Sauce

Torte:
1 lb + 2oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped (511grams)
1 1/3 cup whipping cream (325 ml)
3/4 cup butter (175 ml)
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar (250 ml)
1 cup of chopped pecans (250ml)
1 tsp vanilla (5 ml)
pinch of salt

Caramel Sauce

1 cup of sugar (250 ml)
1/2 cup of water (125 ml)
juice of 1/2 lemon or orange
1/4 cup of butter (60ml)
1 cup of 35% whipping cream (250ml)

Chocolate Pecan Torte

Preheat over to 225 degrees F
Butter a 10 ten inch spring form pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper
Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream and butter together just to simmer. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Whisk together eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla in another bowl. Pour egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Blend thoroughly with a whisk, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in the pecans until just combined.
Pour into prepared spring form pan. Bake until edges are set and the centre is still slightly soft, about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. Allow torte to cool in the pan at room temperature. Chill completely and remove from pan.

Caramel Sauce

Pour sugar and water into a large pan and cook until sugar dissolves and begins to caramelize. When sugar is a deep golden colour, stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir until it is incorporated and then stir in the cream. Let cool before stirring.

Decoration

I cook about a half a cup of maple syrup, dash of salt and 2 tbsp of butter in a small fry pan until it is at the soft ball stage. Then I put in about 1/2 to 1 cup of whole pecans and still until the nuts are toasted and the maple syrup is almost at the hard crack stage. Pour the nuts and candy out onto a sheet of parchment paper and let cool. Separate into individual nuts when it is cool enough to handle.

For the cake I put on the pecans on and around the cake and then drizzle with caramel sauce all over the top.

1 comment:

Minerva Jane said...

Wow. That cake sounds absolutely decadent.

BTW you should see Little Miss Sunshine. Proustian thread in one of the character subplots.