Sunday, May 27, 2012

Detroit: Michigan Avenue's New Spots

I haven’t been to Detroit for a long time but was fascinated by this month’s Food and Wine feature on the new restaurants on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Made me want to take the first flight in just to check them out.

This cake recipe is from Jessica Hicks of Astro Coffee.Grinding whole almonds makes such a difference instead of using store bought almond flour.

I loved the flavor of this cake. I would grind the almonds down more than I did so the cake has a finer texture.

I would also use a little more confectioners’ sugar in the glaze as mine was a bit thin.

Almond Cake With Lemon and Crème Fraiche Glaze

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
1 cup unsalted raw almonds
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant polenta
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup crème fraîche


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make The Cake 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 11-inch springform pan.

Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 4 minutes, until they are slightly fragrant. Let the almonds cool completely, then coarsely chop them. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are finely ground but not pasty.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, polenta, baking powder, rosemary, lemon zest and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, combine the eggs and sugar and beat at medium-high speed until tripled in volume, 10 minutes. With the mixer at low speed, add the crème fraîche, then drizzle in the melted butter just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice and boil for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Set the hot cake on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the syrup evenly over it. Let the cake cool completely. Remove the side and bottom of the pan and transfer the almond cake to a platter.

Make the Glaze

In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the glaze all over the top of the cake. Let stand until the glaze sets slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.

This was an instant hit on the menu at Slows BBQ.

Use the grilled onion recipe with the hot sauce and beef broth on other sandwiches as it really had a wonderful flavor.

 I used Applewood Smoked Bacon and coupled with the smoked Gouda, it made a positively winning burger combination.

Smoked Gouda and Bacon Burgers With Sweet BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
One 1-pound onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot or other hot sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of firm white bread
8 slices of thick-cut bacon
3 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded (1 cup)
1/4 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce
2 pounds ground beef chuck (20 percent fat), formed into 4 patties the same size as the bread slices

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until the onion is crisp-tender and just turning translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and beef broth and remove from the heat. Season with salt.
Heat a large griddle. Spread the butter on 1 side of each bread slice and griddle buttered side down over moderate heat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the toasts to a plate. Add the bacon to the griddle and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side; drain on paper towels. Wipe off the griddle.
Season the beef patties with salt and cook on the griddle over moderately high heat until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side. Top each burger with 1/4 cup of smoked Gouda and cook until the cheese melts, 1 minute.
Set the burgers on the unbuttered sides of 4 toasts. Top with the bacon, onion and Sweet Barbecue Sauce. Close the burgers and serve, passing more barbecue sauce at the table.
You can make this recipe for Sweet BBQ sauce or you can cheat like I did and use Ubons BBQ Sauce.
Sweet BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until richly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the butter and melt. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, apple juice, lemon juice, ginger and molasses. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 2 cups, about 25 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree. Season with salt.