Viennese Raisin(less) Coffee Cake {ModBak}

The fourth recipe in the Cakes section of the Modern Baker Challenge is Gehrueter Gugelhupf mit Rasinen (beaten coffee cake with raisins), or, more simply put, Viennese raisin coffee cake. Although I don’t have a traditional gugelhupf pan, my Wilton pan is just fancy enough to work for this recipe.

It’s fitting that this recipe comes right after the pound cakes in the book, as it is quite similar to a pound cake in ingredients, mixing method, and flavor. After beating butter and sugar until light and fluffy, I added lemon zest, vanilla, and egg yolks. Then I alternated adding a mixture of flour and baking soda with more egg yolks, mixing each into the batter. Finally, I folded in egg whites. (I omitted the raisins.)

The cake baked up beautifully. The lemon flavor was reminiscent of both the Perfect Pound Cake and Lemon Ginger Pound Cake, as was the somewhat dense texture of the cake. I wonder if the raisins might have made it seem more coffee cake-like. I’ll have to try adding them next time to find out.

If you want to see this cake made in a true gugelhupf pan, along with some stunning pictures of Vienna, check out Sara’s post. And if you want to make this and more amazing baked goods in your own kitchen, pick up a copy of The Modern Baker. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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Lemon Ginger Pound Cake {ModBak}

It’s day five of Strawberry Week here at Of Cabbages & King Cakes. And today’s theme is a simple one — strawberries make everything better.

Case in point:

This is Lemon Ginger Pound Cake from the Cakes section of the Modern Baker Challenge. In the recipe notes, Nick Malgieri states that this cake needs no accompaniment. And he’s right. It’s a great cake on its own. But with height-of-the-season strawberries and freshly whipped cream, it’s sublime.

This is the second recipe in the Cakes section of The Modern Baker. After starting this section with the delicious but fussy Perfect Pound Cake, I was looking forward to trying this simple, quick recipe. Other than grating lemon zest and ginger (I used pregrated ginger), this cake takes almost no time to throw together.

This cake is baked in a bundt pan, which is buttered, dusted with fine bread crumbs, and then sprayed with cooking spray. The bread crumbs seem like a strange addition, but they bake into the cake without a trace.

To mix the batter, I began by combining flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of my stand mixer. I added butter and beat it with the paddle attachment until it formed a heavy paste. Then I added the remaining ingredients: eggs, egg yolks, milk, lemon zest and juice, and ginger, and beat the batter until it was light and fluffy.

I scraped the batter into the prepared pan and smoothed the top.

I baked the pound cake at 325°F for about 50 minutes, until it was firm, golden, and baked throughout. After cooling the cake in the pan for five minutes, I turned it out onto a rack to finish cooling.

I dusted the top of the cake with powdered sugar and served it for dessert. The lemon and ginger combined to give this pound cake a wonderful flavor.

We ate it plain the first night and really enjoyed it. But when we topped it with strawberries and whipped cream the next evening, we realized we had really hit on something.

Check out the other Strawberry Week entries, starting with Monday’s Real Strawberry Shortcakes.

Man, I can’t wait until strawberry season next year.

Lemon Loaf Cake {TWD-BWJ}

This is the second April recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie. Unlike the pizza rustica, which involved mixing and rolling crust, making filling, and shaping a lattice topping, the lemon loaf cake was a quick batter that went from bowl to oven in about 5 minutes. In fact, the most complicated part of the whole thing was denuding the lemons.

The cake baked up beautifully and smelled fresh and lemony when it came out of the oven.

I served the lemon cake for dessert after a dinner of the pizza rustica. Both were big hits with my family.

Our hosts for this week were Truc of Treats and Michelle of The Beauty of Life. Visit their blogs for the recipe. And check out the TWD main page to see what everyone else thought of this recipe.

Cornmeal & Pine Nut Biscotti {ModBak}

This week’s recipe for Modern Baker Mondays is another biscotti. Like its predecessor, spicy hazelnut biscotti, this is a classic, crunchy, twice-baked biscotti. Although I’ve never had biscotti with pine nuts, what really surprised me about these cookies was the addition of cornmeal.

The dough mixed up quickly in the food processor. It came out powdery, much like the hazelnut biscotti dough. And like that dough, it came together on the dough board with a little mixing. Even though I had to press the dough firmly but gently to get it to stay together, I knew once it hit the oven, the butter would melt and pull the dough together.

After I put the logs of dough in the oven, I looked at the recipe again and realized I hadn’t added the correct amount of pine nuts. The recipe called for 3/4 cup pine nuts, but I only added 1/4 cup. I thought it seemed a bit light on the pine nuts while I was adding them, but by the time I figured it out, it was too late to fix it.

I baked the dough logs, then cooled them while I mixed up tart lime wafer dough for later in the week. After the logs had cooled, I sliced them into biscotti, then put them back in the oven to crisp.

I was a bit worried that these cookies might have an overly strong cornmeal flavor, but they were really good. As Nick says in the notes, the sweet corn flavor is enhanced  by the lemon zest and vanilla in the recipe. And even though they were light on the pine nuts, they still had a nice, nutty flavor, too.

This recipe is part of the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section of the Modern Baker Challenge. Check out the challenge page to see what other bakers thought of this and other recipes in the cookies section.

Lemon Poppy Seed Drops {ModBak}

This week’s Modern Baker Challenge recipe is a simple, but kind of odd, little cookie. At least I’ve never made or eaten anything quite like it before. The main flavor and texture ingredients are lemon, poppy seeds, and almonds. The dough also contains eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt.

The poppy seeds were the ingredient that seemed a bit strange to me. Other than keeflees, kolache, and lemon bread or muffins, I’m not familiar with using poppy seeds in sweets. And they had a strange effect on the dough — they turned it rather gray. So much so that I was a bit skeptical about making these cookies. After all, who would want to eat a gray cookie?

But I pressed on. After all, with the dough mixed up and ready to go, it was just a matter of rolling hunks of dough in chopped slivered almonds, flattening them, and baking them. I found that the amount of almonds was almost perfect. My last few cookies didn’t have quite as many almonds on the outside, but I also didn’t have a bunch of chopped almonds left over.

I flattened the cookies with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Once they were all rolled and flattened, they were ready for the oven. I was still a bit worried about the color, but I had come this far, so I had to finish them.

I baked the cookies in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes, until they were golden, slightly risen, and baked through. The poppy seeds were still quite evident in the cookies, but they lost their gray pallor in the oven and actually came out looking pretty nice.

Despite the appearance of the dough, these cookies were quite good. They weren’t too sweet and reminded me a bit of shortbread. The lemon gave a bright flavor to them, and the almonds and poppy seeds lent an earthiness that worked well with the other flavors. And even though they weren’t overly sweet, I found myself reaching for them again and again, as there is just something “morish” (as my mother-in-law used to say) about them.

These cookies would be great for a holiday tray, as the flavor is quite subtle and wouldn’t overpower the other cookies on the tray. Of course, they’re not bad on their own, either.

This recipe can be found in the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section of The Modern Baker, by Nick Malgieri. If you want to add a great baking book to your library, this one has everything — from cookies and cakes to pies, tarts, and breads. And the recipes are clear, concise, and easy to follow.

Danish Cheese Pockets {ModBak}

This week’s Modern Baker Mondays recipe is a version of Danish cheese pockets. I recently made the classic version from Bake!, and I was interested to see how these would compare. The Modern Baker version uses puff pastry, rather than a traditional Danish pastry. And the Danish are baked in a muffin tin, which helps them hold their shape.

I began by rolling puff pastry in sugar, just like when I made elephant ears. Once the dough was the correct size and shape, I chilled it while I made the filling, which consisted of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and egg yolks.

To form the pastries, I cut the dough into squares a few inches bigger than the muffin cups. I pressed the dough into the cups, letting the corners drape to the outside of the cup. I filled each Danish with cream cheese filling, then folded in the corners so they overlapped.

I baked the Danish in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the pastry was baked through, the filling set, and the sugar nicely caramelized.

These Danish were really delicious, and would be especially attractive to someone who is nervous about shaping a classic Danish. Tastewise, they were fine; but not as good as the traditional Danish from Nick’s other recipe.

Eggplant Caviar {FFwD} — A Rewind, of Sorts

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was actually a repeat for me. This was the first recipe I made from Around My French Table before French Fridays even started. The only change I made this time was to add some slow-roasted tomatoes.

You can read the original post that I wrote about getting Dorie’s book and this recipe in September, 2010, by clicking here. Rather than blogging about the recipe again, I’m excerpting part of the original post here:

This is really a simple recipe (which, in case you’re wondering, has no caviar in it). The first step is to roast the eggplants.

In a sidebar Dorie suggests slitting the eggplant and stuffing it with slivered garlic. I followed her suggestion, and the roasted garlic gave the eggplant great depth of flavor. I baked the eggplants for 45 minutes, until they were soft and wrinkly.

Once the eggplants had cooled, I halved each one and scooped out the meat. I think I should have baked the eggplants another 15 minutes or so, as some of it didn’t scoop out cleanly. I was able to get most of the meat into the bowl, where I mixed it with garlic and olive oil. (As a side note, if you stuff the eggplant with garlic, you might want to cut back a bit on the raw garlic.)  The recipe says to mash everything together with a fork, but I found it easier to squish it up with my fingers. [Note: the second time I made this recipe, I roasted the eggplants a bit longer, and the meat scooped out better and mashed beautifully with a fork.]

After the eggplant meat was sufficiently broken down, I added the remaining ingredients — lemon zest and juice, onion, basil, thyme, cilantro, cayenne, salt, and pepper [and the second time, roasted tomatoes marinated in olive oil].

The recipe doesn’t specify how much salt to add; I found that it needed quite a bit, about 2-3 teaspoons. I used black truffle salt, which gave the dish amazing flavor. I also added healthy amounts of black pepper and cayenne.

I was hooked on Dorie from the time I tried this recipe, and I went on to make about half a dozen others from AMFT before French Fridays started. 

When this recipe came up for French Fridays, I actually forgot I had made it before. I’m glad, because had I remembered I might have passed on making it again; and this is definitely one worth repeating.

Lemon Curd Ice Cream {Recipe}

In my recent attempt to come up with a recipe for Pimm’s ice cream , I took Vizzini’s advice and went back to the beginning. I knew that I wanted to use lemon and lime flavors, so I searched for ice cream recipes that I could tinker with to get the mix I wanted. That, in turn, led to a search for the perfect lemon curd and lime curd.  For the lemon curd and ice cream, I ended up adapting my own recipes from some that I found online. The lime recipes were derived from the lemon ones.

As the basis of the lemon ice cream recipe, I used one from my friend Tracey’s blog, which she adapted from Murphy’s Ice Cream Book of Sweet Things. I stuck with the basic ingredients from Tracey’s recipe, but tinkered with the proportions a bit; and I made several significant changes to the instructions, which I think simplified the recipe without negatively impacting the results.

 Lemon Curd Ice Cream

(Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until thick and light lemon colored, about 1 minute.
  2. Pour the milk into the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly, to temper the egg yolks.
  3. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon curd, lemon zest, cream, and lemon juice, in order, mixing well between each addition.
  5. For best results, refrigerate overnight before churning in ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Lemon Curd {Recipe}

When my friend Di decided to host a virtual ice cream social, I knew right away that I wanted to contribute my newly-created Pimm’s No. 1 Ice Cream Cup recipe. The only problem was that I hadn’t actually written it yet. And I had intended to use it as the culmination of a 5-day lemon-lime extravaganza, which would include recipes for lemon curd, lime curd, lemon curd ice cream, and lime curd ice cream (none of which I had written, either).

I decided to go ahead with the plan, so I will be posting these recipes over the next few days, ending with the Pimm’s ice cream on Sundae Sunday.

Lemon Curd

(based on a recipe by Alton Brown)

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 stick cold butter

Directions

  1. Put water in a medium saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat.
  2. Combine eggs and sugar in a metal bowl large enough to fit over saucepan without the bottom of the bowl touching water in the pan. Whisk until light, about 1 minute.
  3. Add lemon juice and zest to the egg mixture, place bowl over simmering water, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Cut butter into 10 pieces and whisk it into lemon curd, one piece at a time, stirring until melted before adding the next piece.
  5. Scrape curd into a container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled.

Makes 2 cups.

This curd is delicious. It tastes a lot like lemon meringue pie filling and can be used to make lemon curd ice cream or tart, or eaten on toast, scones, or directly from the jar.

Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote {FFwD}

When I first saw the July list for French Fridays with Dorie, I figured this week’s recipe was one I’d skip. I love salmon but no one else here eats it, so I never make it at home. However, my daughter asked if I could make pulled pork for her, and since I don’t eat pork, I figured this would be my chance to make salmon for myself.

I made the salmon for dinner the same evening that I made chunky beets and icy red onions, also from Around My French Table, and both were delicious.

As fancy as it sounds, this dish was really quite easy to put together. I began by searing grape tomatoes in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, just to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes a bit. To make the packet (“en papillote” means “in parchment” but like most recipes, this one uses foil to make the packets, I suppose because it’s easier to fold into a nice, tight seal), I began by laying freshly-picked basil from my garden on a sheet of foil, then sprinkling with salt and white pepper.

I set a piece of salmon on the basil, drizzled it with olive oil, then seasoned with salt and white pepper. I set the tomatoes to one side of the salmon, grated lemon zest over the fish and tomatoes, then scattered some of the leftover icy red onions from the chunky beet recipe over everything. I squirted a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, then finished it with lemon slices, basil, and a sprig of thyme.

After sealing the packet, I put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to cook the salmon for dinner. I cooked the packet for 10 minutes at 475°F. I served the salmon in the papillote, opening the packet at the table.

This was a wonderful dish. The salmon was cooked beautifully — moist, flaky, and tender — and the herbs and lemon gave it a bright, fresh flavor. This dish paired well with chunky beets and icy red onions and corn on the cob for a satisfying yet light Sunday supper.

If you’ve shied away from cooking fish at home, this is a great recipe to try. It’s quick and easy, without a lot of unusual ingredients. And sealing the ingredients in a foil packet ensures that the fish stays moist and absorbs the flavors of the herbs and spices.

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