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Chef Harry Presents Chocolate Cake for Judith Light [ - ]
by jasonc_wtbr
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Author: Harry Schwartz
Source: Copley News Service
Date | Issue: 05/21/2001 | NA
Topic: Recipe
Submitted by: mich_l81

Chef Harry Presents Chocolate Cake for Judith Light

By Harry Schwartz

With a nickname like Sugar Lips, it's no wonder Judith Light has a weakness
for chocolate cake. She and her husband of more than 15 years, Robert, act like
newlyweds, another reason the nickname applies. And after playing Angela Bower
on ''Who's the Boss?'' for eight seasons, she knows very well how to flirt and
play the game of love.

Since Tony Danza did all the cooking on the show, however, it was a nice
surprise to learn that Judith is a whiz in the kitchen. She loves to bake, often
taking a basic bread dough recipe and turning it into herb bread, olive bread,
crusty rolls and focaccia.

''I also make a fabulous eggplant Parmesan that my husband goes crazy for,''
she told me. ''And I love vegetables. Just steamed fresh vegetables with a
little grated Parmesan. One of the best things I ever had was in Capri last
year. It was a rocket pizza. (Rocket is a leafy green better known in this
country as arugula.) It was like a salad on top of pizza delicious crust, thinly
sliced tomatoes warmed only by the heat of the crust, herbs, a bit of fruity
olive oil and rocket. It was absolutely to die for.''

The influence of Italy on her lifestyle goes beyond cuisine. Her
Mediterranean-style Hollywood Hills home sits atop a hill overlooking the city
and on out to the sea. It is designer perfect throughout with comfortable,
inviting conversational groupings in florals and stripes.

The other man in Judith's life is Ralph Lauren. She loves his designs and
uses them on the walls, furniture and even in her closet.

Her kitchen is enormous with country tile countertops and floors accentuating
a huge center island. Ralph Lauren appears again on the walls in a
blue-and-white pinstripe pattern. That is contrasted in the adjoining breakfast
room by a bolder floral fabric that is warmed by a stone fireplace.

The kitchen table is a thick marble top and iron base surrounded by wicker
chairs. A meal-planning desk holds loads of cookbooks, and her kitchen
television is always tuned to cooking shows. A huge hutch contains a stunning
Majorca collection.

The decor continues outside. The breakfast room leads to an outdoor
entertaining area where a huge Tuscan-style stone table is shaded with a white
market umbrella. A double barbecue is available for grilling, and fabulous clay
pots filled with herbs and flowers abound.

''I can't plant edibles in the ground because of all the rabbits in the
neighborhood,'' she said. ''They have their salad before I get mine.''

A smaller outdoor area provides a cozy nook for coffee and conversation with
Richard.

But I was there for lunch, and she was a pleasure to cook with. Here's what
we had.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

6 cups tomato puree

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 eggs, beaten

1 large eggplant

1 cup flour

Canola oil for frying

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded fontina cheese

2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Yields 8 servings.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over
medium-high heat. Saute garlic and onions until golden. Add tomato puree and
sugar to pan. Bring to a simmer and stir in basil, parsley and dried Italian
herb blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to allow mixture
to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Beat eggs and 1 teaspoon olive oil until frothy. Slice eggplant into
1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip in flour then egg mixture. Fry in canola oil until
golden brown and tender. Drain on paper towels. Toss cheeses together to mix.

Place a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a deep 9x13-inch
baking dish or lasagna pan. Layer fried eggplant, sauce and cheeses in repeated
layers until all are used, ending with sauce and cheese on top. Bake in
preheated 350 F oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

JUDITH'S CHOCOLATE CAKE

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup creme fraiche

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon water

2 cups cake flour

Yields 8 servings.

Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Grate chocolate finely into small
saucepan and stir in half-and-half. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil,
stirring constantly. Continue to boil gently until mixture thickens, about 5
minutes. Set off heat.

In mixing bowl using electric beaters, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and
creme fraiche to creamed mixture. Blend well. Dissolve baking soda in water and
blend into creamed mixture. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture
and beat well until mixture is light. Pour 1/2 of the batter into each greased
cake pan.

Bake in preheated 350 F oven on middle rack for 30 to 40 minutes or until
cake domes in the center and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool
cakes on racks for 30 minutes and then remove cakes from pans to racks to cool
thoroughly before frosting with Fudge Frosting (recipe follows).

Fudge Frosting

3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup Dutch process cocoa

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups cream

5 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and cocoa. Add
corn syrup and slowly stir in cream until smooth. Cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.

Boil without stirring to 232 F on candy thermometer or soft ball stage.
(Remember not to let the bulb of the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan.)
Remove from heat. Add butter to pan but do not stir.

Cool mixture until warm but not hot. Add vanilla to pan and, using an
electric hand mixture, beat until thick enough to spread and frosting holds its
shape. Makes enough frosting for filling, top and sides of two 8-inch cake
layers. If mixture tends to harden during spreading, add a bit more cream to
soften.