Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend Scones & More Cuisine de Chateau Papillon

Poppyseed Cake with Caramel Orange-Apricot Rum Glaze: YUM!

As long-time readers of this blog know, we have a tradition at Chateau Papillon for "weekend scones": breakfast or brunch at least once a week involving home-cooked treats to be enjoyed with a leisurely mug of coffee or espresso.  The sweets need not actually be scones (though cherry-vanilla scones are amongst my favorites); anything from donuts to tea cakes to bagels count, so long as they're homemade.

Our busy schedules had precluded much more than convenience cooking (pasta and sauce, for example) and take-out the past several days, but this weekend I made sure to take the time to put together a new "scone": a poppyseed cake served with a caramel orange-apricot rum glaze.

The cake recipe followed loosely one from my favorite baker's cookbook, Bo Friberg's Professional Pastry Chef.  The basic, very rich batter consisted of egg yolks (5), sugar (a lot), butter (2 sticks), sour cream, cake flour, leaveners (both baking soda and powder), and poppy seeds (nearly an entire jar, and at that half what the recipe called for!).  Add to that, via folding-in, a meringue base of beaten egg whites (6), vanilla, and more sugar. We often lack some of the more esoteric pans Friberg calls for (e.g. a Gugelhupf) and make do with an old but tried & true tube pan--which is actually what this recipe called for.  Friberg's recipe did claim you could also make muffins from the batter; I suppose he's right, though thanks to the creaming method of "assembly," the finished consistency is somewhere between a traditional cake and a muffin--more moist and dense than what I expect when it comes to muffins.

For finishing, Friberg called for a basic orange glaze, which I used as a suggestion in name only and improvised significantly: one cup of orange juice, a cup of sugar, a cup of apricot preserves, and a generous helping (say, 1/2 cup) of dark rum, boiled and reduced in the saucier my mother-in-law sent as a "no particular occasion" gift a few weeks ago to about a cup of caramelized goodness.

I still prefer Friberg's walnut cream cake, but the poppyseed was a nice change of pace, and certainly did not go to waste uneaten at Chateau Papillon!

The weather was so nice over the weekend that we not only had our breakfast out on the patio, but our dinner as well.  With the earlier-every-day sunset, I didn't get a good photo of the fruits of our Sunday supper efforts, unfortunately, so my description will have to do.  For the main, I roasted some fresh wild-caught sockeye salmon with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and dried dill--simpler and easier than even the grill-smoked salmon we typically enjoy over the summer.  I combined the leftover sour cream from the morning's cake batter with some potatoes, goat cheese, and garlic to create one side; the other was an interesting squash we came across at the grocery store, sliced in half and baked with a sprinkle of salt and some olive oil.  We'd never had "buttercup squash"--butternut, yes, but this looked more like a larger acorn squash than anything else--and I have to say that it was exceptionally well-named: the baked vegetable tasted like it had been richly buttered through-and-through, despite having only a touch of olive oil and not even a hint of dairy applied.

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