Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Day of the Almond Gateau

An almond gateau. A spongy cookie-crust of almonds stuffed with a light chocolatey cream. After a week with 33 elves, I needed that. Nevermind that it was made in honor of my husband by my baker-daughter elf for Father's Day. I was more in need of it than he was!Tuesday I came home and did something I never do - I napped! I was wondering if I was starting to get too old to work with elves. Until my two 18-year old directing interns told me they went home and napped every afternoon after a morning with the elves! Vindicated.

My daughter was enchanted by a photo in a baking book. (Perfect Baking). We did some substitutions but the gateau was a sweet end to the week, a sweet offering to her father and a grand refortication for me as I prepare to face the elves tomorrow.
My daughter can be a worker-bee elf. She can also get mad at her creations and threaten to throw them out if they do not behave. (That's an Italian gene - Aunt Fay routinely threatened to throw out the Leg of Lamb for Easter if people did not arrive on time. She would only serve it rare.) Happily, the gateau behaved and was not threatened with the trash can.
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ground almonds
5-1/2 tablespoons flour
butter for greasing
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sliced almonds - for presentation
confectioner's sugar - for presentation
Chocolate Cream Filling
3-1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
10 oz heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk eggs and sugar together till light and foamy (about 10 minutes). Fold in ground almonds and flour. Pour into two lightly greased 7-inch cake pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup almonds over 1 cake and bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be springy when you touch them and the edges will pull away from the sides. Let cool in pans.
Filling: Melt chocolate in double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool. Meanwhile, whip cream until it just holds it shape and fold into the chocolate mixture. Cool.
Put the cake (without the extra almonds) on a plate. Spread chocolate filling over it and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour. Place almond topped cake on top of filling and put in fridge for one hour. Put extra almonds on top of cake and dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

The chocolate oozed beautifully (if you like oozing chocolate). Although it does look like it's teasing her - sticking its tongue out - daring us to throw it away if it didn't behave. But we had tasted the chocolate filling. It could do no wrong. Impossibly light for a filling containing heavy cream and just lightly-chocolated. We could easily have just had just the filling for dessert! (But the crunchy, spongey almond gateau complements the chocolate perfectly.)

Elves are workers. They do what they're told. And so are my elves, Enthuhsiastic and talented with no needs for breaks or lunch. When the time "off" comes, the staff is surrounded by elves - begging for attention. When you mention one must stand at the "corner of the table" to be seen in the scene, four hands go up and you are told, "My grandmother lives on a corner." "My dog eats the corner garden." And you are now in for 10 minutes of "corner" stories.
When lined up in the theatre aisles for an exercise, I explained their casting and how the day would go. They stood patiently and looked at me and nodded in all the right places. When all was figured out, I told them they may now sit down. And they did. En masse. In the aisles.
I looked up from my script and there they were - on the floor. In the aisles next to the seats. They take direction well.

And my proud 5'11" baker-elf. Who is coming to terms with her baking and not threatening her cakes anymore.

And so ended my first Father's Day without my Dad. But he was shining his light on us. On his grandchildren and on the gateau. He would have loved it.


Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

Looks fantastic! I'm sure your husband loved it!

La Bella Cooks said...

I love the last pic!!
Oh my, this just looks incredible. You have some great recipes, that is for sure.

Monet said...

My husband lost his father this past is so important to remember our dads, whether they are with us or not. This cake looks amazing, and I'm sure it was a special day!

Jeannie said...

That is a delicious looking cake indeed! Love the oozing filling, looks so enticing! Your daughter's so pretty too!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

I can tell you that was quite a cake that wouldn't have had a chance for a picture man that looks amazing. Love that filling...I will have to try this, my mouth is all ready for this one!

FOODESSA said...

I'm very encouraged to try your gateau recipe. The wonderful ingredients and your explanbation of the textures appeal to my senses tremendously ;o)
Have a great patient week with your elves. At least on the home seemed to have a very dedicated elf by your side at the right time ;)
Flavourful wishes, Claudia

Ciao Chow Linda said...

What do you mean - "If you like oozing chocolate?" What are you from Mars? Everybody loves oozing chocolate. Your daughter did your father and you proud Claudia.

janet said...

Both your daughter and her gateau are lovely!

Wish I had a good corner story..;-)

Anne said...

Another delicious recipe to try. I am right along side your daugther when a dish doesn't come out, I want to throw it away, but you know I am not Italian. I quess my thing is I want it to be perfect!
Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes.

3 hungry tummies said...

She is just as talented when it comes to baking. Looks good!
Btw I have a power nap ever now and then :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful almond cake! I sure love the oozing chocolate!

OysterCulture said...

Celebrating dad with such a fantastic looking cake had to be a pleaser. What a great way to show the love, and especially with oozing chocolate.

Lyndas recipe box said...

You had me with the "oozing chocolate"! I'm loving this gateau; I've not made one before, but now I can't wait to try it!

Barbara GF said...

Too good to believe, Claudia. This one is making me drool. Luckily, your daughter has inherited your talents to keep those traditions going strong. Che bellissima!

Kim said...

I loved how you tied in that last picture of your Dad, very cute Claudia!
Sounds like those little elves are keeping you busy.

The gateau looks incredible with all of that fluffy and creamy chocolate filling. I bet every bite was delightful!

Wanda..... said...

Yet another of your recipes I will have to make, Claudia!

I prefer cakes with creamy fillings or thin glazes lately.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Claudia

An almond gateau oozing a whipped cream chocolate filling looks like heaven to me! Your daughter did a wonderful job and I'm sure your husband was imporessed with his father's day dessert! Something tells me that your Dad was looking down on you all and enjoying it too!

I think the elves are giving you lots of inspiration for the next play you write, Claudia.:-)

♥ Pat

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your elf is turning into a talented baker. I loved your last picture. That is a real treasure. Now I want you to stiffen your spine and face those elves with courage. Remember they are not yet trolls :-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Jen_from_NJ said...

Your daughter did a fantastic job with that gateau and you did a fantastic job with all of those elves! Who wouldn't need a nap?

Juliana said...

Claudia...almond gateau...unbelievable! Looks so yummie!

Reeni said...

The cake turned out wonderful Claudia! I, on the other hand had two duds this weekend, both headed for the garbage but stopped in the nick of time by my Mom who insisted they were still edible and quite delicious...Laughing at the elves in aisles, so cute, and with 33 of them I don't blame you for taking a nap! Love what you said about your Dad and the last picture, so true, I'm sure of it.

chow and chatter said...

oh your daughter is so pretty and wow what a gateau wish I could have a slice

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog. Love the great recipes.


Cute post! This looks heavenly!

Jean said...

Nice post--great picture of your Dad. I'm sure your gateau was wonderful--it certainly was beautiful.

theUngourmet said...

I don't nap nearly enough. Your daughter elf's Gateau looks fantastic! I love the almonds with the chocolate! So yummy!

Angie's Recipes said...

Can't go wrong with almond. I love anything nutty! The gateau with chocolate filling sounds truly fantastic!

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

I do believe it IS sticking it's tongue out!!! ROFL

This looks very decadent and I am a sucker for anything topped with almonds YUMMMM!

joe@italyville said...

This looks so delicious Claudia! I love almond based pastries/cakes... add chocolate and it's heaven.

Lori Lynn said...

Aunt Fay sounds like a hoot. The cake looks awesome, oozing chocolate and all!

The day sounds bittersweet. Love the photo of your dad and the sentiment.

Sook said...

The filling sounds really good!

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I wish more often days like these one with gateau with almond so nice pictures Claudia!! Where is my fork??



creampuff said...

Awww ... I love this post and I love that little bit of filling peeking out from the corner. So delicious! I'm sure you missed your father a lot. I know what that feels like. But they're always with us!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Awwww! What a sweet post! You must have so much patience to manage all of those elves. This gateau looks yummilicious!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your daughter is beautiful and so is that cake! Ooozing chocolate is what we live for! Sounds like you could write a book about your Aunt Fay, now that's an idea Claudia.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Claudia! I am sure your pappa is shining down on you - its hard for the first Father's Day without your dad - mine passed away 12 years ago, but now I just smile at the good times we had!


Lazaro Cooks said...

Fantastic cake. Great photos. You have a lovely family.


Magic of Spice said...

Fantastic cake...Oh and your daughter is a tall girl like me:)

My Little Space said...

I'm sure you dad will be always in your mind & thoughts!
Blessings, Kristy

Carol Egbert said...

Chocolate, almonds and a nap sounds delicious to me.