I wanted to treat you to more of late Chef Robert Reynolds. I was reading his web site and came across this paragraph where he was discussing preparing an elegant but simple fish dish. He served it with three garnishes but each garnish added only one flavor.
He said, “The first garnish is a simple sauté of onions, cooked without browning until they are soft and sweet. They are garnished with lemon rind that has been blanched and then cut into threads. The slivers of lemon rind disappear into the onion compote; you don’t see them, but are surprised to discover the little burst of lemon they offer when you bite into them.”
These are the morsels of information I want to learn more about. What a simple technique described so well you can almost taste it. Can you imagine attending his cooking school, Chefs Studio, and getting 8 weeks of this kind of knowledge? I do.
I also wanted to share with you Chef Reynolds’ first cooking video, giving you a glimpse of who he is and how he works. It is berry season at the time and he is making a Genoise Cake covered with strawberries that have been mixed with honey, marmalade, red wine and heavy cream.
Genoise cake is basically a sponge cake except the egg yolks and whites are NOT beaten separately. It’s of Italian descent and gets its name from the city of Genoa. Instead of using any kind of leavening agent, it gets its volume from the air suspended in the batter while mixing.
Here’s Chef Reynolds’ version of Strawberry Shortcake. To view the video, click here or on the image.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup flour twice sifted
- butter for the jelly roll pan
- 2 pints strawberries
- 2 tablespoons honey or 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade optional
- 1½ cups red wine or real fruit juice
- 1 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peak, sweetened with sugar if desired
- Butter the jelly roll pan. Place a piece of parchment in the pan, spread it flat to coat the paper with butter. Invert the paper so it's buttered on the cake side, and line the pan with the buttered side up.
- Beat the whole eggs, sugar, and a pinch of salt until the eggs increase in volume two and a half times.
- Sift a third of the flour on top of the egg/sugar base, and fold gently to incorporate the flour. Try to make it happen in a dozen folds so you don't over fold. Add the next third, and fold again. Add the final third of sifted flour, and fold once more.
- Pour the batter carefully into the cake pan, and tilt the pan to get the batter into the corners, rather than spreading with a spatula. The spatula will only flatten all the air bubbles you made by beating the eggs and sugar, and those bubbles are what make the cake go high.
- The person incorporating the flour with the least number of strokes gets the highest and lightest cake. They win the church bake-off.
- Bake the cake in a 350°F oven for 18 minutes until golden. When you touch your finger to the top of the cake, it should spring back without leaving an impression of your finger. If it doesn't spring back, return the cake to the oven for a couple more minutes.
- Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan. Lift a corner of the cake, grab hold of the paper. Hold the other end of the cake pan, and pull the cake onto the counter.
- Spread orange marmalade evenly and lightly over the entire surface of the cake. With the cake lengthwise in front of you, grab the paper under the top of the cake, tug and fold an inch of the cake over the top of the cake. Then, pulling on the paper, roll the cake into what you'd recognize as a jelly roll.
- Re-wrap in the paper, and set on a cake rack to cool. Take a deep breath and open the red wine. Sample if necessary, just to see if it's drinkable.
- While the cake bakes, slice the strawberries. Add the honey and the orange marmalade, and stir. Let the berries sit for 30 minutes. Five minutes before serving, add the wine to the strawberries and juice.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add sugar to the cream as desired, or sprinkle that same amount
- To prepare the dish, slice an inch-thick piece of cake and set it in a flat soup bowl. Spoon generous amount of strawberries and juice (there is no point in having leftovers), and top them with whipped cream.
- Go passed "GO". Collect pleasure. - Robert Reynolds