Saturday, 5 February 2011

Her results - Grapefruit Pudding Cake

I made this recipe from my friends' kitchen. I was house-sitting in the suburbs and watching over a couple of cute dogs, Howard and Leonard. I love these little guys:

I bought my grapefruit (a large, sweet, red, local variety) and some other ingredients and treats at Hubbell & Hudson, a really cool but ridiculously upscale grocery. I wish I had enough dough to spend nearly $100 on a cooking class at their Viking Cooking School. Instead I visited the bistro where I tried the croissant pudding with calvados pearls and vanilla sauce. YUM.

I have to admit that the grapefruit pudding cake was not what I expected it to be. Looking at the pictures, I imagined it would be a citrusy sponge cake with a pudding layer that rose to the top. If I had carefully read the recipe, I would have realized that the cake called for no butter, nearly no flour, lots of milk, two egg yolks, and a couple of egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. Clearly, those ingredients are bound to result in something airy and custardy.

I ended up baking this twice since my first try didn't go so well. It seemed fine when I pulled it out of the oven and removed it from the water bath to cool:

But when I inverted my first ramekin onto a plate, I was surprised to see this:

Hahaha! At the bottom of the ramekin was an eggy layer, followed by a very runny custard, with a fluffy layer at the top. Disgusting, and even worse when inverted onto a plate! I decided that I probably hadn't folded the eggs into the batter sufficiently. Indeed, when I inspected my pictures, I saw that my pre-oven ramekins had a bright layer liquid at the bottom:

So I tossed out the first batch and tried again. This time I used a KitchenAid mixer to beat my egg whites to stiff peaks. I got even stiffer peaks in a fraction of the time it had taken me to whisk the whites by hand. This time I also waited until the last minute to mix the grapefruit juice and milk, to make sure that the milk wouldn't curdle. I don't think I encountered that problem the first time around, but I wasn't taking any chances with my second attempt!

These tured out better. My cake was shockingly light and the pudding was nice though still too thin. The dessert was yummy - light, sweet and citrusy - but I don't think I'll make it again. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that really bugs me about this recipe. As I mentioned, I was thrown for a loop by the name (I just don't see this as "cake"). One other downside is that unless you have a true knack for food styling, these are prettier if eaten out of the ramekins. They aren't very attractive when plated unless you garnish them nicely. Someday I'll start focusing on how to garnish nicely, but for now I'm just trying to avoid catastrophes!

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