Visitandine Mini Cakes #FrenchFridayswithDorie

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My brain has been a little foggy these past few days. In the mornings I open my eyes, get out of bed, put my socks on - extra-cheesy pun intended - wash my face and anyway go about starting my day, all the time feeling that I am missing something important.

It is a very strange state of mind to be in. And after a while my relationship with reality becomes hazy and I start to forget and mix things up, like what suit of cards my Bridge partner threw first (huge, friendship-braking mistake) or was I supposed to make a cake called vichyssoise or a soup called visitandine.  Major mix up!

I was almost sure that this weeks recipe for our French Fridays with Dorie was a soup. It turns out it was not. It was this humble but -oh-so-sinful- cake. It was "invented" by an order of French nuns, the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, whose purpose was to visit and care for the sick and poor in their homes, hence the name Visitandines. 

Dorie says that if she had known the recipe for this cake at the beginning of her baking career, there wouldn't have been a career to talk about. I couldn't agree more. If there is one cake recipe you have to learn in your life then this is it! 

Four basic ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar and butter are all you need to bake the perfect Visitandine every time. From the eggs you use only the whites. You whisk them until firm and then you mix with the flour and the melted butter. If you want to take it up a notch, brown the butter because brown butter makes everything more fragrant and absolutely delicious. 

You can give the cake any size and shape you like. It will manage perfectly in all of them. I made mini cakes using a well buttered muffin tin and I added a few frozen blueberries and sliced almonds.

You can find Dorie's original recipe here.

Improvise and create your favourite flavour combination. Use the leftover egg yolks to make a pastry cream. Whatever you do the cake will still be fantastic.  

Who would have thought that it was "invented" by nuns! I have to hand it to the sisters, they know how to bake a cake. 

As for the soup. My woolly brain did not dream about it. The soup was last week's recipe. It was not a vichyssoise but the Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India as Dorie calls it, only that in my case it was with Chickpeas.  

It was a gorgeous soup both in appearance and in taste. Bold, aromas; subtle and comforting flavours; full of colour and character. I loved it so much I made two huge pots and put it in the freezer for the next time I am in the need for a little Indian fix. Turmeric and garam masala are the stars of the recipe and if you want to make your own garam masala spice mix head over to my friend Alice's blog for a great recipe. 

To see how my fellow Doristas like both recipes click here.

French Fridays with Dorie (FFwD) is an online cooking group where we cook recipes from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
We do not publish the recipes on our blogs. For more information about our group and on how to join us click here