Sunday, March 27, 2005

The day after

I generally have leftovers for lunch. That's fine with me; if I like something well enough to eat it once, I usually want to have it again. Leftovers are a natural byproduct of an unstoppable desire to cook. There will always be more than two sane people should eat at one sitting.

Sometimes the postmortem on the food is glowing (i.e., "Damn, but I make good Chicken Marsala--even if it is just a recipe I clipped out of Real Simple, and even if I did nearly flame my eyebrows off while I was making it"). Other times, not so much. The cream custard I loved yesterday now seems way too over-the-top and heavy. Big surprise, there, since it is more than half cream.

So since I'm planning a French dinner today (cabbage soup plus a quiche made with Swiss cheese and one giant priapistic stalk of asparagus), I figured out a way to recast yesterday's hefty dessert. I baked a very airy, fluffy orange spongecake (the one in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1) that I glazed with apricot preserves (shades of yesterday's apricots) and filled with a healthy dollop of the orange- and nutmeg-scented custard.

Tangentially, I am kind of surprised that, to my knowledge, none of the low-carb fadsters have illuminated the difference between most American cakes and a certain type of French gateau. (Does anyone know how to make an "a" with a circumflex on an American Mac keyboard?) Sure, we have spongecake in our baking tradition, but do you know anyone who makes it? There's practically nothing in it but egg. It has more in common with a clafoutis or a crepe than it does with our usual birthday or wedding cake.

Save this post. Later I will be credited with igniting the Atkins gateau craze.