I love second dates. They tend to be the right combination of excitement, nerves and (on the good ones) creativity. Some of the memorable ones include going to a museum and watching a movie at home after, going to the open house of a building designed by my architect date’s firm, going to a baseball day game. This weekend, I had another fun second date of cooking together in my apartment. It was the first time cooking a full meal with another person in my tiny little space, but I was with someone who also really enjoyed good food so the result was really fun and really tasty.
On the menu was herbed salmon with roasted potatoes and asparagus, which all turned out great. But really, the star of the meal was dessert. A French Yogurt Cake (pound cake) with strawberries and raspberries macerated in walnut liqueur. I picked up this black walnut liqueur from Old World Spirits after going to a craft spirits tasting a couple of months ago, where I was blown away with it. It’s pretty much a walnut brandy, that isn’t super sweet and has a mildly nutty flavor with some notes on anise. When I had it at the tasting I knew I wanted to cook with it, but I just wasn’t sure how. I had visions of making a sauce for pork tenderloin, or baking, but finally ended up using it in its raw state with the berries, which was absolutely the right way to start. I loved that the fruit yielded a sauce to soak into the cake, and that we added a splash (ok, a little more than a splash) of liqueur to the whipped cream so it all tied back together. Yum.
Now, the next thing that happened… I don’t know if I should feel embarrassed that I ate it, or proud that I came up with it, but I’m telling you nonetheless. I made pound cake French toast the next morning for breakfast. That’s right, pieces of pound cake drenched in creamy egg mixture and pan-fried to perfection. Then I turned some of the left over berries into a sauce – heated up with a little more sugar and squeeze of lemon to brighten them, and topped it all with some of the walnut liqueur whipped cream. All the same things as the night before, but with a twist that I enjoyed even more than the original. The cake was warm, a little eggy and undoubtedly very rich. It’s not super custardy like a real french toast because the cake is so thick, but it was delectable all the same, and the berry sauce was really the best part. Yet another testament to the power of re-imagining leftovers.
French Yogurt Cake recipe here (I substitued the lemon with a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and it probably would have been great with an additional 1/4 tsp.)