We know what you're thinking: Rachael Ray nearly ruined olive oil for all of mankind with her cutesy little abbreviations for culinary staples. EVOO? Just say the name, Ray. Hyperbole aside, don't let those feelings cloud your judgment of Truffles (9202 Clayton Road, Ladue; 314-567-9100 or www.trufflesinladue.com) chef John Griffiths' recipe for Olive Oil Shortcake. A cake made with all the usual suspects plus olive oil and OJ, this recipe's beauty is in its versatility. Eat it with your favorite seasonal fruit and berries, or as Griffiths suggests, enjoy it with a little gelato or even more fruity olive oil. This is a modern Italian restaurant, people. Of course there's going to be olive oil in the desserts.
Olive Oil Shortcake
2 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking power Pinch of salt 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 each eggs 1/2 cup orange juice 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together baking powder and flour and sprinkle salt over this mixture. Combine olive oil, orange juice and vanilla.
In the bowl of a mixer, add eggs and sugar and beat until light and ribbony. Alternating in thirds, combine the sifted dry ingredients and the olive-oil mixture, folding with a rubber spatula. Pour into well-greased muffin tins or shallow cake pans. (If your pans are aluminum, add a sheet of parchment, trimmed to the bottom of the cake pan, and muffin cups to the muffin tins.)
Bake at 350 degrees until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan.
Griffiths likes to lightly brush the cakes with a simple-syrup-and-olive-oil mixture about 30 minutes before eating. Gather some fresh fruit or berries (Truffles likes to buy from local farmers' markets), mix with a little sugar or honey and let them sit. Then spoon over the cake.