Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Excuse me while I powder my nose!"

"Excuse me while I powder my nose" is such a girly saying dating back to the 1930s, evoking images of speakeasies, jazz/swing, and "The Golden Age Of Hollywood." However, this was the time of "The Great Depression," when people were broke, and movies and radio were the most common past-times in an attempt to escape the grim realities of life. Well, I'm glad those days are over - I hope!  With that said, there is nothing depressing, or more girly, than these adorable "Powder Puffs" from Laura Calder of French Food at Home. They would be great with a civilized cup of tea, with coffee for a special breakfast, or just an indulgent anytime treat! Believe me, they taste as lovely as they look!

Powder Puffs

Makes about 12 cakes


1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup or more raspberry jam (or whatever jam you prefer)
3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped with vanilla and some powdered sugar
Powdered sugar, to dust tops


Heat the oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick silicone mats (e.g., Silpat). Combine the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and baking soda, set aside. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time to make a stiff meringue. Whisk in the yolks one at a time. Sift the dry ingredients over the meringue and gently fold them in with a spatula. (Do not stir!)

Drop the batter, using 2 spoons, into 2 tablespoon mounds, spaced well apart, on the baking sheet. (I do 6 at a time.) Bake until well risen, lightly golden, and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Cool on racks.

Spread the flat side of one cake with jam, top with some whipped cream, and then sandwich with another cake. Continue with the rest. Let them sit an hour or so to soften and meld before serving. (If you can wait! Although, if you refrigerate them overnight, they are DIVINE!) Dust with powdered sugar, if you like, then eat them right away!

This recipe is also printed in Laura Calder's, Dinner Chez Moi, but renamed "Jam Yo-yos."