If you have been following this blog, you have seen that I have taken a chance to delve into the world of Julia Child and Julie Powell including reading Child's biography My Life in France and Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia.
Well I got my hands on a copy of the book that really set both these books in motion, the cookbook Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simon Beck, and Louisette Bertholle.
I have no intention of cooking the entire cookbook, in fact, it didn't take me long to discover that this cookbooks dedication to technique is far from simple, and that Julia's prose is very uncookbookery. Additionally, MOST recipes require the cook to flip back and forth from the "variation" to the "master recipe" to other recipes that serve as ingredients for what you are making.
I imagine that Julia Child expected people to attempt to cook through the whole book as if they were enrolled in one of the early cooking classes that the three authors put together.
My first recipes were from the end of the book -- the desert recipes. In fact, I cooked the very last cake recipe Le Marquis, which like most of the cake recipes required separating the eggs, "making a ribbon" as Julia calls it with the yoke and the whipping up the eggs real big.
It was in the egg white whipping that I think I did not live up to Julia's expectations, and frankly, my whipped eggs were not as "peaky" as I imagine she would have wanted.
I also had the joy of melting chocolate in a double boiler, and then mixing it all together (actually my wife joined me in this process, she's a great whipper). I also bought cake flour which I used for the first time -- kind of fun. This cake only has 1/3 cup of flour in it, it's actually very light.
As the pictures show my cake actually was pretty stout when all was said and done, so my wife and I cut it in half and layered it to give it some more height.
Julia gives a variety of icing and filling recipes in the book, but I decided to go with her final recipe in volume I, the chocolaty Glaçage au Chocolat...which I like the refer to as Mocha Butter.
By the time we finally got to eat the cake after the cooking, cooling, chocolate melting, egg white whipping, then we found it to be very good. In fact, I loved it. My wife told me my love for it was part "cognitive dissonance" and that my effort made me like it more. But that is not all true, I truly found it taste delicious, although are final product and presentation was lacking.