Monday, June 22, 2009

Pastel Vasco with Blackberry Compote

Last week at the farmers’ market, I bought some summery-perfect blackberries, and in my mind, I saw them swirled into some kind of cake. It could be argued that I have a mess of recipes that flit through my head on occasions such as this. You see, I knew that I had cut out a page from an old issue of Saveur with a blackberry cake made by Tamasin Day-Lewis, and I also knew I had read about a blackberry cornmeal cake somewhere else. When I got the blackberries home and safely stowed in the refrigerator, I started flipping through files and books, and the cake from Saveur, while tempting, was somehow more complicated than I remembered and seemed more like an end of summer treat. The cornmeal cake didn’t look quite how I remembered it either, and then like a certain bear in a fairy tale, I found a recipe that looked just right. In Sunday Suppers at Lucques, there is this rich and lovely pound cake of Basque origin with a blackberry compote baked into the center of it and served poured over it as well. That was it. Those berries were destined to become a pound cake.

The cake was made with 14 tablespoons of melted butter and four eggs. It was not lacking in richness. It also contained dark rum, vanilla, almond extract, and orange juice. It was baked in a loaf pan, and just before the pan was placed in the oven, the cake surface was brushed with an egg ash and sprinkled with a handful of sugar. Said surface puffed beautifully while baking and emerged crackled and glistening. For the compote, caramel was made with sugar, water, and scrapings from one vanilla bean, and then half of the blackberries were added to the caramel. Brandy was also to have been added, but I was out of brandy, and this is where things got interesting. I used bourbon instead and thereby made the discovery that the flavor of bourbon with that of blackberries is quite wonderful. I’m sure brandy would have been great too, but at some point consider making a blackberry compote with bourbon because I’m now thinking up excuses to mix those two items together as often as possible. So, some blackberries went into the caramel and cooked until they released their juices. Then, the caramel mixture was strained into a bowl. The liquid went back into the saucepan on the stove and was thickened with a cornstarch slurry. The thickened sauce was then combined with the strained cooked berries and the remaining uncooked berries, and half of that combination was layered into the cake batter in the loaf pan while the other half of it was used for serving.

The recipe didn’t end there. This wasn’t just a pound cake and compote. Thick slices of the pound cake were buttered and toasted on a griddle before being served. Cream was suggested for serving along with the compote, but I didn’t feel like that was even necessary. I didn’t think the buttering and toasting was necessary either because the cake looked fantastic just as it was. I went ahead with the toasting just for fun, and the result was almost french toast-like on the cut surface. It did add another dimension to the flavors and textures of the dessert, but I have to say the cake held its own quite well when I skipped that step the next day. It’s a pound cake that can be elevated to another level of dessert indulgence, or it can be enjoyed one simple slice at a time, and the blackberry bourbon compote does no wrong either way.


32 comments:

  1. Another beautiful creation for me to Stumble... GREG

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  2. I hope they'll have some blackberries at my farmer's market this weekend. It's all be strawberries and cherries lately. I love both, bit I'd love to see some of the other berries as well. =)

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  3. while you had me at 14 tablespoons of butter I felt like the egg to yolk ratio was lacking - call me a pig.

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  4. Wow, every element from that crackly top crust to the caramel in the compote looks and sounds ... well, like something I wish I had waiting for after supper tonight :)

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  5. Wow, this just looks and sounds amazing!

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  6. Ooooh-as if the cake with the compote was not tempting by itself! The buttered and toasting step makes it even more tantalizing ;P

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  7. Oh my, i can feel my hips expanding just looking at your gorgeous pictures. this is just too decadent for words!

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  8. Forget the berries; we want cake! That sounds like a must-have.

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  9. whoa! that sounds amazing! those blackberries just look like a lazy summer afternoon :)

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  10. The blackberries are gorgeous and the cake is tempting..

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  11. I adore toasted pound cake and fruit compote. This looks amazing, Lisa. I love how your mind works. :)

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  12. It's like pouring liquid gold on top of precious jewels. Oh man. Looks absolutely, pricelessly delicious to me!

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  13. Sounds very rich and luscious indeed. I can see it from the photo how delicious this must be. The sauce is mouth watering!

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  14. Explain this to me...you didn't make the Saveur recipe because it seemed more complicated than you wanted and yet, you made a cake, a compote, a caramel AND you toasted the cake? Are you crazy??!! :) It all looks amazing, as usual.

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  15. that cake sounds GLORIOUS, and considering how rich it is, the compote is the perfect accompaniment. you know how to eat, lisa. i love it.

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  16. Oh my it was the perfect use for the blackberries!

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  17. I haven't been here in AGES so I almost feel like I don't deserve to be greeted by this gorgeous dessert! Almost. I'll be going back through all the posts I've missed because there's no way I'm missing anything else.

    This pound cake is tremendous! I love how the compote is layered into the batter rather than mixed in. And this is the first I've heard of buttering and toasting the slices, which sounds so good! If I were to skip that part, it would be due to impatience to eat it immediately!

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  18. This cake sounds incredible! Perfect with blackberry compote! Yum!

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  19. OMG, that cake looks amazing coming out of the oven.

    I love savuer magazine, but I find too, some of the processes for making things are quite extensive and a lot of ingredients!

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  20. What beautiful color..I cant wait to try. Thanks Figtreeapps

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  21. The toasted cake looks yummilicious!

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  22. Sunday Suppers at Lucques is one of my favorite cookbooks. Your dessert looks fantastic.

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  23. I just stumbled your post, it was so good :)

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  24. This sounds truly delicious - especially toasted up like french toast! How decadent!

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  25. My mouth is watering - it looks SO good!

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  26. I haven't had a good pound cake in a long time. This looks great!

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  27. Even though this looks great, I might have to make my pound cake french toast to get this out of my head!

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  28. wow!! vat a great cake recipe for dessert :) totally drool worthy \cheers!!

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  29. I have that cookbook, but didn't recall this amazing cake being in it. Must go leaf through it now to find it. Thanks for pointing it out to me. You know I can't resist cake with summery fruit.

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  30. This looks excellent as breakfast or aas a nice dessert! Lovely!

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