Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD:BWJ Lemon Loaf Cake

I am a sucker for lemon desserts. I love a puckery, assertive lemon flavor offset by a bit of sugar. I was pretty excited for this one. It'sa one bowl/one loaf pan dish. That's my kind of baking!

This recipe had a minor fuss factor. The flour needed to be sifted and stirred in in shifts. But the butter was melted (yay time saver!) The eggs were cracked directly over the sugar. Everything else was added to the one bowl and then poured into the loaf pan. I'm not sure that I beat the batter enough. My cake was pretty squat.

Where I did worry about this recipe, however, was the lemon factor. It only called for the zest from three large lemons. While zest is wonderful and full of flavor, I was skeptical that is was going to be enough. I gilded the lily a bit. I added the juice of one lemon to the batter. (Again, could be part of the reason there wasn't much rise) I also made a glaze with the juice of the remaining two lemons and some powdered sugar. They were naked and sad and begging to be put out of their misery.

I glazed the still-warm cake a number of times. First I took a skewer and poked a bunch of holes in the cake. Each time I glazed, I gathered the run-off and poured it on again.

This was a winner. The glaze made it very moist and the lemon flavor was out of this world.

Having said that, I'm not sure that I'd rush to make it again. I have another recipe that I really enjoy and comes out slightly less dense. Go check out the recipe and lovely photos at the host blogs this week. Truc has the recipe at Treats and Michelle has it at The Beauty of Life.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Now that it's almost Passover...

I forgot to show this year's hamantaschen bake-fest. For the past five years or so, we've had a baking party for Purim and included lots of the Boy's and Girl's friends. This year, we had some sickies, so our party consisted of one good friend. She's been a part of the baking for a few years now, so she's pretty expert.

For the uninitiated, Purim is a spring festival that celebrates people doing the right thing. (Yes, that's a total nutshell. Go visit wikipedia for more details) One of the traditional treats is hamantashen. It's a butter cookie that is filled and then squished together to form a triangle of sorts. Traditional fillings include apricot, poppy, and prune. I have kids. Our fillings are chocolate chips (white, milk, and dark) butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, and apricot, strawberry, and raspberry jams. The combinations are endless.

Two of our intrepid bakers - The Girl and her Friend.

Rolled and cut dough starting to get filled.

The squishing technique.

Formed hamantaschen waiting to get baked.

Tah dah!

Hamantaschen! Not all of them stayed squished. Those are the ones you eat first.

Everyone's favorite part!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

TWD BJW Pizza Rustica

This is called pizza, but it's not like any pizza I've had before. I'm a Chicago girl, so I'm naturally drawn to stuffed pizza. I also like thin crust, and I've been known to eat my share of thick crust pizza. (Maybe this is a post for another time....)

Anyway, this is more like a double crusted quiche than a pizza. This starts with a simple dough, though mine never quite came together. It's sweet, which is interesting for a savory dish. I used four tablespoons of sugar instead of the 1/3 cup that the recipe called for. (The Husband pointed out that this may be part of the reason my crust didn't quite work) It ended up looking more like a cornmeal crust than a flour one. It rolled out ok, but I couldn't do a woven lattice. I ended up laying my lattice strips across the top. The edges of the crust browned nicely, but the top and bottom were still pretty pale.

The filling, as written, was fairly plain. It's made up of ricotta, pecorino, and mozzarella cheeses, some eggs, a bit of prosciutto, and not much seasoning. I decided to make a vegetarian version. I caramelized some onions with thyme, then cooked down some portobello mushrooms and spinach. I added that to the cheese/egg mixture and added a good dose of garlic and pepper.

Mine needed a few extra minutes in the oven. It smelled reallygood when it was baking. The verdict from the whole family was a thumb's up with one small caveat. The Girl liked the crust and she liked the filling, but she didn't like them together. The Boy, who normally HATES mushrooms, ate up the whole thing.

Not so photogenic, but delicious!

I would absolutely make this again. I loved the filling version that I made. I really want to try this crust at least one more time to see if I can get a better roll/lattice.

Check out the recipe at Emily and Raelynn's blogs.