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When life hands you lemons . . .


Patrick S
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Over the next couple of weeks I plan on trying several different lemon pound cake recipes, and probably some other lemon desserts as well. I'll post some pictures to this thread, as well as my comments on them. I am also very interested in how other egulleteers like to use lemons in desserts, what everyone else's favorites are.

The first thing I made is the Lemon Pound Cake from America's Taste Kitchen.

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This cake is very good. Next up, I intend to try Sherry Yard's pound cake, which is very similar but includes buttermilk.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I was looking up a recipe in the April 2004 Bon Apetit, and noticed they had a section on Lemon Desserts. It looks wonderful, and there was a recipe for lemon bars that looked both wonderful AND easy.

Speaking of which, there's an entire thread on lemon bars somewhere on eGullet. I don't know how to find these things, every time I do a search for something it continues to elude me, but perhaps you'll have better luck.

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“I’ll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon.” ~ Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer, act I.

It is a common fallacy to assume that winter food should partake of the obvious associations evoked by the cold season’s attributes: Large viscid stews, unspillably thick soups, colossal heavyweight puddings. One wants to be warmed, true, but one also wants to be reminded of better days; to feel the onset of dawn amid the darkest hour that immediately precedes it. Therefore, a wintertime menu is properly designed and intended to supply warmth and sunlight – as well as a similar feeling of opening out of the year ahead that one gets when encountering one’s first glimpse of the tenacious Spring crocus, mayflower, or snowdrop.

In this process, it is essential to provide comforting desserts. I recall Emily Luchetti’s concise & lucid summation of the “ideal dessert,” as written in the Introduction (one should never eschew reading a Foreward or Preface, either!) to her Stars Desserts: “ …luscious, colorful, and composed, yet…spontaneous and natural.” (p. 10)

Weather is a common experience to all, and as bakers & dessert cooks we can use people’s responses to it as a sounding board that provides clues for our choices to comfort guests at the table. For example, on a dark, heavily fog-banked (a regular “pea-souper”) day in Maine, or the Pacific Northwest, we can turn out hot lemon soufflés to solace weather-weary diners. Or, another favorite in the comfort food repertoire, Blueberry Gingerbread, which I believe is quite splendidly accompanied by Lemon Curd Mousseline:

9 large egg yolks

3 whole eggs

6½ oz. white granulated sugar

8 fl. oz. cup fresh lemon juice

16 fl. oz. heavy cream

1 oz. white granulated sugar

Place yolks, whole eggs, first measure of sugar, and lemon juice in bowl set over pan of barely simmering water. Stir with heat-proof silicone spatula, then use wire whip as mixture thicken. Transfer custard to storage bowl and immediately cover surface w/ plastic wrap; cool to room temp. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Whip cream & 1 oz. sugar in chilled stainless bowl set in larger pan of crushed ice. Fold whipped cream into cooled lemon curd.

A good Fr. Lemon Tart is not ubiquitously found. Nevertheless, with some confidence, I offer my choice for a worthy (i.e., tart- tasting) filling:

4½ oz. white granulated sugar; 2 oz. sweet butter; 4 free-run eggs; minced zest of 1 organic lemon; 6 fl. oz. lemon juice; 2 fl. oz. orange juice.

I have sold numerous Lemon-Almond Tarts in which finely ground almonds are whisked into the shell filling. The piquant flavor is a pleasant alternative to the obvious sweetness of most dessert pastries.

A long-standing formula for Lemon-Meringue Pie filling that may please many fanciers of this bone fide undying classic:

1/3 cup cornstarch; 6 oz. granulated sugar; ½ tsp. salt; 16 fl. oz. boiling water; grated rind of 1 large organic lemon; 4 fl. oz. fresh lemon juice; 4 egg yolks; 1½ butter. You know the technical steps.

As for the Lemon-Pound Loaf from A.T.K., it looks like a solidly dependable recipe. Buttermilk is an oft-used ingredient in my baking – and is very good in pound cake batters. A top-calibre rendition I have made for catering sales is one baked in a heavy-duty 10-inch tube pan. First, I prepare a batch of Moroccan preserved lemons; a generous ¾ cup of the peel is added to the batter along with 1 cup of freshly made yogurt and a ½ cup of fragrant honey. The (4) large eggs are separated; the whites being whipped before incorporating them into the batter. Trust me, such modifications elevate pound cake to a thoroughbred class!

Last week, I was hired to prepare the bread & desserts for an 8-person private dinner party. One of the three desserts brought to the table was a Lemon Crème Caramel (baked in a 10-in. loaf pan) served with a triple-choice cookie tray. Lemon-flavored foods score a universal appeal rating.

Also, we cherish: Lemon Buttermilk Pie; Lemon Sablés; (“Souffléd”) Lemon Pudding; Lemon-Pistachio Layer Cake; and Anne Willan’s delightful individual Sugar-Crusted Sponge Cakes, as offered in her book, From My Château Kitchen.

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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In your lemon escapades you might want to try this:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/104905

I made it in homage to the Bundt king and thought the ginger addition was outstanding. It takes lemon to a new height. The difference between the CI pound cake and this one is a good bit of butter to flour ratio so you can expect a less dense cake but one that is quite good. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a fancy bundt pan. I'd for sure either inject the glaze the next time or poke many, many holes in the cake to soak it up. And it benefitted greatly from an overnight stay tightly wrapped in saran wrap. It's now moist and much more pound cake like. I also think a topping of candied ginger will be quite good.

Josette

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Josette -- the combination of lemon and ginger sounds very interesting. I definitely want to try this at some point.

Sandra -- I guess I'm lucky because I have plenty of help with eating lemon desserts in my house. My daughter in particular loves lemon. She's very picky about food in general, but loves lemon so much that she always asks for the lemon out of my tea so that she can sprinkle sugar on it and suck the juice out.

Redsugar - thanks for the mousseline and tart-filling recipes. The lemon pound cake you describe sounds like something truly out of the ordinary and delicious. Now I'm curious to try seperating the whites and beating them before folding them into the batter.

Tonight I put together the lemon tart from Greenspan's Desserts by Pierre Herme. This is Herme's lemon cream in a sweet tart shell covered with a citrus flavored glaze. The glaze is made with sugar, water, Oetker's clear glaze, half a vanilla bean, a Tb of lemon juice, and zest strips from 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon (which are steeped in the glaze and then strained out). The recipe calls for mint leaves, but I couldn't find any so I omitted them.

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Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Redsugar,

I'm glad to see you around here again. I was afraid you had been insulted off...

Now for this Morrocan lemon recipe.... Is this like candied lemon rind cut up into the batter? And when you beat the egg whites is it the same amount as in the test kitchen recipe or is it a recipe that's totally different? I love lemon! Tart, tangy lemon any time of the year and in any dessert....

Josette

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Hi Redsugar, would you mind posting or PMing me the Lemon-Pistachio layer cake? It sounds delicious.

Patrick, as always, your lemon tart is gorgeous. I really need to buy Dorie's cookbooks. I don't have any. Maybe, I could suggest them as a wedding present. :rolleyes:

Have you tried Pierre Herme's Ligurian Lemon Cake? I have the recipe, but I haven't made it yet.

This tart is also very good:

Lemon-Pistachio Tart

I didn't think it was pistachioy (a new word) enough, so I added 1/2 c ground pistachios to the crust and sprinkled pistachios over the entire tart.

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Oh true lemon lovers, nice to see you posting on the gullet!

Redsugar, great ideas! I had never thought of preserved lemons in a cake ... good plan, I must try it!

Onto other thoughts, I will have to try and find my original lemon cake, it is good enough for a light wedding cake. Also, Rose Levy Berenbaum has a fabulous lemon poppy seed pound cake recipe, it is all about the infused syrup.

I'm looking for the lemon pucker smiley face!

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Have you tried Pierre Herme's Ligurian Lemon Cake? I have the recipe, but I haven't made it yet.

I plan on making this very soon. The picture of the cake in the book looks nice. I might have to omit the raspberries though. I love raspberry flavor but hate raspberry seeds.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Tonight I made Herme's Ligurian Lemon Cake. Well, actually I suppose its not a Ligurian cake as I did not use Ligurian olive oil (just a cheap mild olive oil), and I omitted the raspberries because I cant stand raspberry seeds. The cake is easy to make, moist and delicious. I'll be making it again. However, I have a great idea for next time, which is to cut the cake in two (or make two cakes) and put a disc of lemon cream in the middle (as in the recipe for the Riviera).

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Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The first thing I made is the Lemon Pound Cake from America's Taste Kitchen.

I assume this is the recipe from Cook's Illustrated? I just got my new issue and saw they had a quickened version.

My grandmother made a Lemon Loaf Cake that was like a pound cake but lighter, and was made by whisking the eggs with the sugar and using melted butter.

I love lemon bars, and there is also lemon meringue pie and lemon souffles.

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Tonight I made Herme's Ligurian Lemon Cake. Well, actually I suppose its not a Ligurian cake as I did not use Ligurian olive oil (just a cheap mild olive oil), and I omitted the raspberries because I cant stand raspberry seeds. The cake is easy to make, moist and delicious. I'll be making it again. However, I have a great idea for next time, which is to cut the cake in two (or make two cakes) and put a disc of lemon cream in the middle (as in the recipe for the Riviera).

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Wow! :wub:

I am definitely going to make that. But, it will have to wait a while. My problem is that I am not crazy about meringue. I like hard meringue, but I do not like squidgy meringue. I think the texture is similiar to marshmallows and I really don't like marshmallows.

Is it very lemony? I think the idea with the disc of lemon cream is an excellent idea.

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I am definitely going to make that. But, it will have to wait a while. My problem is that I am not crazy about meringue. I like hard meringue, but I do not like squidgy meringue. I think the texture is similiar to marshmallows and I really don't like marshmallows.

Is it very lemony? I think the idea with the disc of lemon cream is an excellent idea.

Just leave out the meringue. I dont particularly like or dislike it myself.

The cake is lemony, but not intensely so. Much less intense than the pound cake for instance. If I were to make it again I would either add a little more zest and/or juice, or glaze with lemon syrup. But then my tastebuds have been spoiled lately and I like more intense flavor to begin with.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Tonight I made Herme's Ligurian Lemon Cake. Well, actually I suppose its not a Ligurian cake as I did not use Ligurian olive oil (just a cheap mild olive oil), and I omitted the raspberries because I cant stand raspberry seeds. The cake is easy to make, moist and delicious. I'll be making it again. However, I have a great idea for next time, which is to cut the cake in two (or make two cakes) and put a disc of lemon cream in the middle (as in the recipe for the Riviera).

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Patrick, in view of the omitted raspberries, perhaps you could try a raspberry cream made with seedless raspberry preserves? I get mine at Publix here in FL, and it really IS raspberry-ee :blink: (new word I just invented?) but quite sweet, so you would need to up the pucker power a bit!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I've made two more lemon cakes, one with sour cream from pastrywiz.com, and one with buttermilk from Ina Garten. The one from pastrywiz simply does not have enough lemon flavor. But then, the recipe is messed up. The ingredients call for zest, but the ingredients dont say how much. I added about 2Tb.

The Ina Garten recipe I like quite a bit. I used 7 lemon's worth of zest. Its my new favorite lemon cake. I made these as petite loaves, about 3.5" long. The recipe yielded 15 cakes. I had problems getting the mini loaves unmolded. I only sprayed the molds. Next time I need to oil and flour the molds for better release.

The sour cream loaf: Here's the recipe.

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The Ina Garten loaf: Here's the recipe.

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"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Beautiful, Patrick. I'm not sure which is your greater talent, making your desserts or photographing them.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Patrick:

Your desserts are gorgeous. You should be duly proud.

And as the Anointed Limoncello Queen of eGullet, I simply must suggest little shots of iced Limoncello alongside any of these artistic desserts.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Patrick,

Gorgeous! Are you lemoned out yet?? Funny thing... I just saw this same recipe today when I looked up her outrageous brownie recipe and thought I'd like it alot with that amount of lemon zest. Tell me how the texture is of this compared to the first cake you made, which I think had less flour to butter. I'm assuming this one is lighter like a cake and not so pound cake like.

Josette

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Thanks Katie, Doc, and Josette for your compliments. I'm so pleased to be able to share these pictures with you.

Are you lemoned out yet??  Funny thing...  I just saw this same recipe today when I looked up her outrageous brownie recipe and thought I'd like it alot with that amount of lemon zest.  Tell me how the texture is of this compared to the first cake you made, which I think had less flour to butter.  I'm assuming this one is lighter like a cake and not so pound cake like.

Suprisingly, I'm not lemoned out yet! If anything, my taste for lemon has grown now that I've found some really good ways to use it.

The texture of the Garten cake is as you suspect lighter, spongier, less brickish than the CI cake, but with a lemon flavor that is even more intense. All of the cakes Ive made have been good, but I think this one will now be my default lemon cake.

Next thing I want to do is get a marinade injector so I can shoot lemon syrup into the cakes. I'm also tempted to try warming some lemon cream and injecting that into the middle, making a little Uber-lemon twinkie out of the petite loaves. I don't know if that will work or not, but since I have 15 of these cakes to experiment with, it may be worth a try.

Thanks Katie for suggesting limoncello. I will definitely give this a try.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've made two more lemon cakes, one with sour cream from pastrywiz.com, and one with buttermilk from Ina Garten. The one from pastrywiz simply does not have enough lemon flavor. But then, the recipe is messed up. The ingredients call for zest, but the ingredients dont say how much. I added about 2Tb.

The Ina Garten recipe I like quite a bit. I used 7 lemon's worth of zest. Its my new favorite lemon cake. I made these as petite loaves, about 3.5" long. The recipe yielded  15 cakes. I had problems getting the mini loaves unmolded. I only sprayed the molds. Next time I need to oil and flour the molds for better release.

The sour cream loaf: Here's the recipe.

gallery_23736_355_1106104039.jpg

The Ina Garten loaf: Here's the recipe.

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Patrick, I hope I'm not going to get in Dutch with the powers-that-be for quoting brand names, but both Baker's Joy and Pam are sprayable flour-shortening blends that ensure quick release of baked goods. I've sworn by Bakers Joy for years! :wub: The Pam with flour is relatively new; I saw it down here just before the holidays.

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Tonight, the Lemon variation of the Orange Blossom Honey madelienes from Sherry Yard's The Secerets of Baking. The recipe uses equal parts of all-purpose, cake, and almond flours. These are easily overbaked, especially if you follow the times in the book. I made 2/1/2 dozen with the recipe, and I think 10-11 minutes about right. I doubled the zest to 2Tb and brushed the madeleines with warm lemon syrup when they came out of the oven. These are great.

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"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I bet those Madelienes are kind of a change for you now because of a crispier crumb. They look great.

Back to Ina Gartens, I would like to try filling them with a Brie and lemon emulsion filling. Give me a glass of Champagne and it would be a happy night.

Great work, keep it up.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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