Friday, February 26, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert, but in all my years studying Italian and going to department dinners, I don't think this dessert ever came up. I think I first learned about it only by accident a few years ago. So I suspect it's not really that big of a deal in Italy, but maybe I'm wrong. I've never actually been to Italy. Someday when I've made my millions as a farmer (hah hah), Florence is at the very top of my list of places to visit (I might have a mild obsession and crush on Dante).Whatever the case, this was so much fun to make. It's a good thing I took a day off of work to make the tiramisu, it's another one of those projects. We had to make from scratch our own custards (zabaglione and pastry cream), our own lady fingers, and even our own mascarpone cheese. I think the mascarpone is the best part: it's really expensive at the grocery store, but super cheap and easy to make on your own. (Note: I found out, like others did, that the cream never did get to a high enough temperature in the water bath, so I just put the pot of cream straight on the burner, and it turned out fine.) Great challenge!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meyer Lemon Mania!

I wasn't even supposed to be buying anything. I was just there for moral support. But then there they were. A bag of perfect little meyer lemons. How could I say no?

In case you didn't know (and I didn't): Meyer lemon = regular lemon + mandarin orange

You can see why they would be so popular; recipes with meyer lemons are all over the place. They're lemon-y, but sweet and less harsh than a regular lemon. And they're so cute and little! See Rule #7

Meyer Lemon Souffles

(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

5 T flour

¼ c sugar

Pinch salt

½ c milk

2 T butter

5 eggs, separated

2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced

Pinch cream of tartar

Another ¼ c sugar

Combine flour, sugar, salt and milk in medium sauce pan, off heat.

Cook until it starts to come together, constantly stirring, until the mixture pulls away from pot.

Transfer to bowl. Add 2 T butter and egg yolks. Add lemon juice and zest. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar, until foamy, add ¼ c sugar, beat until shiny. Whisk whites into milk mixture.

Pour into small ramekins (makes ~10). Break surface tension by running finger in circle through top in dish. Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes.

Meyer Lemon Blondie Bars


3 egg yolks

3 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced

¾ c sugar

¼ c butter, cold and cut into pieces

½ c whipping cream, cold

Combine egg yolks, ½ lemon juice, zest, and sugar in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously. Cook for about 7 min, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain. Add the butter and stir until combined. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until cold.

Whip the cream. Fold into the lemon curd. Refrigerate until brownie base is ready.

Brownie Base

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup butter (melted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix brown sugar and melted butter. Add egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, until mixed well.

Line a 9-inch pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Spread out dough in pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick or fork to test if it is cooked in the center. Let cool. Remove from pan and spread mousse on top. Freeze and then cut.

Meyer Lemon Baked Alaska

Ice Cream

(Adapted from Half Baked)

1 T Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pinch salt

One (or two if they're short) round layer white cake with lavender in it.


3 egg whites

1/2 c sugar

Zest lemons directly into food processor. Pour in sugar and process until the sugar is faintly lemon-colored and the zest is finely ground. Pour the measured juice into the sugar/zest mixture. Blend until the sugar dissolves. Add milk and cream and blend. Chill for about an hour; the product may break up, but just stir it back together. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.

Line a bowl with plastic wrap; press the ice cream into the bowl, and freeze.

Preheat the oven to 500 F. Beat the egg whites until foamy; add the sugar and continue beating until shiny and stiff. Cut the cake layer to the same diameter as the bowl; place the cake on top of the ice cream and invert onto a cardboard cake round. Spread the meringue on top. Bake for about 90 seconds, until just browned. (The meringue and short baking time will allow the ice cream to remain frozen.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Random Fruit Gallette

Yes, blueberry, blackberry, pear, and pomelo. That's what was available at the market in the middle of winter. Fortunately, they make a pretty good combo!