Friday, January 20, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Quatre-Quarts

Please excuse my lack of motivation returning to my kitchen and cooking some blogworthy dishes to start off the New Year.  After the holiday season, and our fabulous week at The Home Ranch, where a team of talented chefs entertained our taste buds, I am finally coming down from my Relais & Chateaux high.

I am anxious to get back into the weekly French Fridays with Dorie groove, as the recipes are easily incorporated into our weekly routine. I missed Dorie's Bubble Top Brioche Rolls the first week in January, but was nibbling some amazing Yam Clover Rolls at the ranch that week. I did make Jacque's Armagnac Chicken for week two, but didn't have time to photograph and blog about it. Actually, I've made this chicken twice, and it's wonderful, especially with the addition of prunes.

I debated over this week's cake, because we still have leftover Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Pie from Dooley's 13th birthday celebration, but it was simple enough to prepare, and I could find some takers.

Quatre Quarts translates into four fourths, and is a traditional cake of the Brittany region in the north-west of France. As with the American pound cake, the quatre-quarts is made with equal measures of eggs, flour, sugar and butter. Dorie tweaks the classic version with vanilla extract, or an optional touch of dark rum or Cognac, a teaspoon of baking powder, and sprinkling of brown sugar over the top just before baking. She also separates and whips the egg whites, and uses a cake pan instead of a loaf pan. I substituted cake flour, and opted for a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and two teaspoons of Grand Marnier.

Like many French cakes, Dorie cautions this one may taste dry by our standards. Mine turned out very light and moist, and tastes lovely served as is. Some of the brown sugar melted into the cake during baking, which adds a nice sweetness. But, if you want to sweeten and dress it up a bit, Dorie suggests saucy sugared berries, jam, fruit coulis, whipped cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream and chocolate sauce.

I first tried a piece, as is, with my morning coffee and half a grapefruit (with brown sugar on top). It was wonderful.

Morning Quatre-Quarts

Then, as just a "taster" experiment, I cut a second piece with a small, round cutter, arranged pink grapefruit supremes on the top, sprinkled the grapefruit with brown sugar, and slid it under the broiler for a few minutes. Loved the complementary flavors of the pink grapefruit and brown sugar. I didn’t have time to mess around any longer, but my third version, would include a dollop of whipped cream flavored with a hint more Grand Marnier.

Quatre-Quarts with Pink Grapefruit Brulee

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!


Cher said...

Welcome back! Sounds like a wonderful, relaxing time away.
Good idea to add in some cake flour - I am sure that played out nicely in the end result.

Adriana said...

I like how you played with your toppings. Unfortunately I didn't have any takers so I sat this one out. I like the idea of serving it as breakfast or part of a brunch.

Frolicking Night Owl said...

VERY pretty with the grapefruit!

amanda @ fake ginger said...

Oooh, the grapefruit looks awesome on top! I would've loved a slice for breakfast with my coffee. Alas, my husband ate it all the day I made it. :P

Carmen said...

Beautiful as always, Denise - Reminds me that breakfast can be the best meal of the day!

Rose said...

Looks delicious with the grapefruit. Yum! Your vacation sounds like it was a blast, I really enjoyed reading about the Home Ranch, sounds like a little piece of heaven.

Christy said...

Happy New Year! Hope you survived our Southern California weather this weekend. The desert was hit by major winds uprooting trees and blowing our patio furniture in the pool.

I love the use of the grapefruit with this, and will try that. I'm always trying to get rid of our.

Betsy said...

Happy Belated New Year and welcome back. Grand Marnier sounds like a great addition. I used dark rum which was also nice.

Karen said...

Welcome back! You have lovely photos of your cake! It looks delicious!