I've been in the casting process this week for the next play I'm directing, On Golden Pond. Do you know the movie? It had Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda as a couple in their late 70s who return to the same rural cabin in Maine every summer that they bought when they were newly married. That's really about it for the plot, except for a subplot concerning their adult daughter and her difficult relationship with her father.
The movie came out when I was nine or ten, and I loved it. What nine-year-old loves On Golden Pond? I think mostly it was because I was obsessed with Katharine Hepburn. As an aside, do you know if you type the name "Katharine" into Google, the first entry is for Katharine McPhee, who was on American Idol, and not Katharine Hepburn? That just seems wrong.
Most people are nervous when they come audition. The thing they don't know is that I'm nervous, too, because I really want to find the right people.
It's a little like having the right ingredients--if the basics are solid, it's much harder to screw up the end product.
This month's Cake Slice pick didn't initially interest me--a loaf cake of frozen mousse sandwiched with chocolate wafers. However, the mousse is simple and delicious. I made a few adaptations to use coffee rather than espresso beans, and Kahlua rather than Frangelico because I don't think I've ever had Frangelico in the house.
We served it for the Bastille Day dinner, and it was delicious. Better yet, I was able to make it a day ahead of time and didn't have to worry about it the day of the dinner party.
Frozen White Chocolate-Espresso Loaf Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup ground coffee
9 oz. good-quality white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. Kahlua liqueur
Nabisco chocolate wafers
Line a large loaf pan with plastic wrap, ensuring that the ends of the wrap hang out of the pan.
To make the mousse, pour the water in a small coffee cup and sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let it sit for five minutes. In the interim, make a small sachet out of cheesecloth (I used an old linen tea towel) and put the ground coffee in it. Place the sachet and 1/2 cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Bring the cream to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for at least fifteen minutes.
Place the coffee cup in the bottom of another small saucepan or skillet and add water until it comes halfway up the side of the cup. Bring the water to the boil and stir the gelatin until it is totally dissolved. Then turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
Remove the coffee sachet from the cream, squeezing it to release excess liquid. Put the saucepan back on the heat and let it come to a boil. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl, then pour the hot cream and gelatin over it. Whisk the hot liquid into the chocolate until it is completely melted, then whisk in the vanilla and Kahlua.
Let the chocolate mixture cool. Then pour the remainder of the cream in a medium bowl and whip it to the soft peak stage using a hand mixer on medium speed. Fold in the white chocolate mixture in three installments.
To make the cake, pour about one and a half cups of the mousse over the bottom of the loaf pan and smooth it. Spread one of the chocolate wafers with a dollop of the mousse and press it against the long side of the pan. Continue placing the chocolate wafers in rows in this same manner--you may need to break wafers in half to get to the end of the pan.
When you put the second row in, make sure the wafers are sandwiched against the first row. Continue until you have put it as many rows as possible, then carefully pour the remaining mousse in and spread it evenly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, ensuring that it is touching the mousse. Freeze for at least four hours, or overnight.
To unmold, lift the edges of the plastic wrap. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and allow them to stand a few minutes at room temperature before serving.
Makes approximately ten slices.