Tag Archives: lemon

Lemon Pound Cake

Springtime.  Sun, longer days, dreams of Summer bliss.  All such happy, happy  thoughts.

See, the gods and goddesses got the lemon season totally right.  Sunny yellow?  Check.  Tart but ready for a bit of sweet sugar?  Check.  A perfect transition between seasons.

Yet, the gods and goddesses did manage to get a few things wrong.  Limes and avocados ripe in the winter to spring months, but the tomatoes for guac in August.  What in the world does that do to margarita season? Another gripe is the whole root vegetable thing in October.  Here along the Pacific coast, October is sunny and warm and inviting and begs for leisurely walks to soak in the sun’s rays.  Do root vegetables go with this vibe?  I think not.

For now, let’s get back to Springtime, and lemons, and strawberries and make a lemon pound cake and smother a thick slice with strawberries fresh from the field.  We can all get on board with that plan.

Lemon Pound Cake

recipe inspired by Cooking Light , strawberries from Chan’s strawberry stand

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 TBS dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or stick margarine, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 TBS grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 8 oz low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

For the topping:

  • 2 baskets fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced into thirds
  • 1 TBS sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray, and dust with the breadcrumbs.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Beat the butter in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and lemon extract, beating until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add grated lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over top of cake.
  5. Prepare strawberries by combining strawberries and sugar in a bowl and allowing to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Slice lemon pound cake and top with strawberries.

Notes:

  1. Simply delicious!
  2. This is a perfect dessert for a meal you are hosting because the cake can be made a day before.
  3. Sneaking a thin slice of the pound cake for breakfast is totally acceptable.

Lemon Bars

Spring has sprung, and although on one hand this is expected, so many things are new as if for the first time.  California poppies line the highways and byways of daily travel.  Sunlight in the evenings invigorates.  The sun seems to be everywhere … in the sky, in the mood, and in the food.

Lemon Bars

inspired by the amazing Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
    3 cups sugar
  • 2 TBS grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Try not to eat too much of the “extra bits” as you do this.  Chill.

2.  Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

3.  For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

4.  Cut into bite sized pieces and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Notes:

  • My favorite grocery store has the most wonderful lemons in stock.  They are the size of limes and just full of juice.  These were certainly what got me onto the lemon bar kick.
  • Lemon bars make great thank you gifts for people who have jumped in to lend a hand.  😉
  • I love this plate.

Lemony Cheese Danish

Something impressive and fool proof was needed for breakfast.

My father in law was in town for a visit, where he was a skilled sous chef in preparing the annual Tax Dinner.  For his final day at our house, the plan was to have a nice breakfast before he hit the road to return home to Washington.  In this house, we’re pretty much bowl of cereal or quick pancakes kind of people.  Fancy would mean adding bananas or chocolate chips to the pancakes.  That’s it.  My father in law on the other hand is a master of breakfasts and  has a wide range of pancakes and muffins and fruit mixes and … and… and… in his repertoire.  Yeah, this felt a bit like making a Mexican meal for Rick Bayless.

The game plan:  keep it simple, find one new fool proof yet dazzling recipe.  Thank goodness for Ina Garten, as I’ve trusted her recipes on complete faith several times and she’s never ever let me down.  Not one to read a recipe all the way through while making it first thing in the morning and wanting to rush, I noticed the words “easy” and “20 minutes” and actually paced myself for an easy 20 minutes while cooking up the sausages and eggs and slicing the strawberries.  Oh no, no, no.  The puff pastry needs to be defrosted, the filling needs to be mixed (duh),  the little danishes need to be assembled, the sheet of danishes needs to be refrigerated for 15 minutes, and THEN they are baked for 20 minutes.  Seems in my rush, I skipped over two little words before the 20 minutes:  cooking time.  Typical.

These lemony cheese danishes are truly easy, dazzling, and delicious!

Lemony Cheese Danish

adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 extra large egg yolks, room temperature

2 TBS ricotta cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 TBS lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1 egg beaten with 1 TBS water, for egg wash

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth.  With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.  Don’t whip or the mixture will become runny.

3.  Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until its a 10 inch by 10 inch square.  Cut the sheet into quarters.  Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares.  Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold diagonally to form a triangle.  Press the edges of each triangle together to form a sealed packet.  Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.  Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.  Refrigerate the baking sheet of 8 danishes for 15 minutes.

4.  Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking.  Serve warm.

Notes:

  • I rushed and sped up the mixer, contrary to directions.  Yes, it makes the filling runny.  A few minutes in the fridge firmed it up a bit.
  • The recipe actually has you fold the two outside corners of the puff pastry together, overlapping the corners, and adhering with a bit of the egg wash.  I was worried about the runny filling and just made triangles.
  • These passed the “teen test” with flying colors!
  • My father in law even asked for the recipe to try at home.  Success!

Lemon Lemon Loaf

One of the most enjoyable, stressful, and pretty much makes my day kind of days are when I’m making dinner for the Kaleidoscope Krockpot Brigade.  Kaleidoscope is a local cancer support group and the krockpot brigade is simply one of many components to the support offered to families dealing with cancer.  My part in this is simple, make meals for families and deliver. That’s it.  And honestly, it is pretty much my comfort level.  Two wonderful coordinators schedule the dinners with the cooking group and let us know of allergies and what not.  The challenge is to have a full meal at the designated family’s house at 5PM.  Usually, I’m just leaving work at 5.  Our family eats late-ish and usually we either do a soup or a main plus one side.  In the summer, a few extra fruits and veggies get tossed in for good health, but we keep it simple.  When cooking for another family, I try to do a main, a side or two, a salad, and dessert.  All to their house at the same time I usually arrive home.  Yeah, stressful.

But words cannot even convey the enjoyment I get out of planning, shopping, cooking and delivering these meals.  Planning is essential!  Meals tend to be delivered a day or two after chemo.  But really, exactly who will be home, who will be rushed to the hospital, and which family members may be visiting is all a guess.  The meal should be hot and ready to eat, hoping the family is having a good day, but should be ready to be stashed in the fridge and freezer if cancer is dictating the family’s schedule.

But it is dessert, always the dessert that gets me.  Desserts just scare me.  There, I said it.  First step towards redemption, right?  See, if a main or side dish gets off kilter, I can conjure up a few tricks and get everything back on track.  But desserts?  Eek!  Lumpy cheese cake?  Done that.  Flat any kind of cake?  Done that?  Crunchy chocolate sauce?  Yup, done that too.  Always one to give it another go, even while muttering under my breathe, I gave this a try.  Oh, and yes, to share with a family dealing with cancer.  Luckily, it was a home run as evidenced by what remained after one day of noshing by a teenager.

Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking via Epicurious

Ingredients:

Lemon cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups sugar

8 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup grated lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon syrup

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the sides and bottom of two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.  Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

2.  Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

3.  Put the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined.  With the motor running, drizle the butter in through the feed tube.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse until combined.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

4.  Sprinkle the flour mixture, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined.

5.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

6.  To make the lemon syrup, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

7.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the cooled loaves onto the pan.  Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.  Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup.  Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again.  Let the cakes sit for at least 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • Those ingredients in the food processor barely fit.  Be ready to a bit of mess when transferring the liquids to the large bowl.
  • I left the cakes in the pans when poking them with toothpicks to pour in the syrup just to save a bit of time.
  • Yes, you did read the egg and butter quantities correctly.
  • Since this makes two cakes, you can wrap and freeze one for later, or give it to a friend.