Monday, August 16, 2010

Chef Alexander Bakes Anson Mills' Colonial Cornmeal Poundcake for Southern Legislators Conference

Thanks to Anson Mills for sharing this recipe.
1 (9x5-inch) loaf pan
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted European-style butter, softened, plus additional for greasing the loaf pan
2.5 ounces ( 1/4 cup) Anson Mills Antebellum Fine or Coarse Yellow Cornmeal, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting the loaf pan
7 ounces (1 cup) superfine sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting the loaf pan
7.5 ounces (1 cup) Anson Mills Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons orange-flower water
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Sift the 1 tablespoon cornmeal through a fine tea strainer into a small bowl and discard the coarse particles in the strainer or return them to the bag of cornmeal. Add the 1 tablespoon sugar to the sifted cornmeal and stir to combine. Dust the buttered loaf pan with the cornmeal-sugar mixture, tilting to coat the bottom and sides, then knock out the excess. Set the pan aside.
2. Turn the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add the orange-flower water, sherry, milk, and vanilla and beat lightly with a fork until combined.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat-beater attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and aerated, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with the egg mixture in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times. When all of the ingredients have been incorporated, detach the bowl from the mixer and fold the batter lightly with the rubber spatula to ensure that no wet or dry pockets remain.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and, using a small offset spatula, spread it to the sides and corners of the pan and smooth the surface. Bake, rotating the pan after 35 minutes, until the cake is deep golden brown, nicely risen, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, then turn it right side up and cool the cake to room temperature.
Makes one 9 by 5-inch cake
Chef Alexander sauced both the plates and cake slices with creme anglaise and gave each serving a dollop of mascarpone lightened with heavy cream and sweetened with powdered sugar.

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