Posted on

Lemon Chiffon Cake

chiffon

This moist, lemony chiffon cake is simple, delicate and delicious, with a texture that falls somewhere between a dense butter cake and a light, airy sponge cake. Take it to the next level with a topping of fresh blueberries and vanilla ice cream.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

3 or 4 lemons
2 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) granulated sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil
6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

For the citrus glaze:
2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained, plus more if needed
1 Tbs. heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C).

Grate the zest from the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a liquid measuring pitcher. You should have 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml). Have ready an ungreased 10-inch (25-cm) tube pan with a removable bottom.

Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the water and whisk until well mixed. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whites into the batter until almost fully incorporated. Add the remaining whites and gently fold in just until combined. The batter should be smooth but foamy. Pour the batter evenly into the tube pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, upside down, about 45 minutes.

Rotate and tap the pan against the countertop until the cake disengages. Using the center tube, pull the cake out of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and disengage it gently from the pan bottom. Pull the pan bottom and tube from the cake.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, the 2 Tbs. lemon juice and the cream until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is smooth. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if the glaze is too thick, or a little more sugar if it is too thin. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. When the glaze dries, transfer the cake to a platter. The cake is best served the day it is baked. Serves 10 to 12.

Posted on

Almond-Orange Pound Cake

almond

Bursting with the sweet flavor of almond paste and tangy orange zest and speckled with poppy seeds, this exceedingly moist pound cake is gilded with a sugary citrus glaze. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Almond-Orange Pound Cake

3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g.) cake flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

5 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (7 oz./220 g.) almond paste, at room temperature

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) sugar

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small chunks

2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

1 tsp. poppy seeds

For the glaze:

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. fresh orange juice

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour two 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm.) loaf pans.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla just until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on low speed until it breaks up, about 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, beating until incorporated. (If you add the sugar too quickly, the paste won’t break up as well.) Add the butter, a chunk at a time, beating just until combined. Raise the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.

Continuing to beat on medium speed, drizzle the egg mixture into the butter mixture. Mix in the orange zest and poppy seeds. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring after each until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the lemon and orange juices and the sugar.

Place the wire rack holding the cakes over a sheet of waxed paper or foil. Invert the cakes onto the rack and place top side up. Brush the warm cakes with the glaze. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack, then cut into slices and serve. Makes 2 pound cakes.

Posted on

Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

lemon

Let’s face it: making a lemon meringue pie isn’t easy. But the rewards are great, especially if (like us!) you’re a major lemon fan. These little pies take some effort, but they are adorable, perfect for a party, and will impress your guests.

Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

1 batch Flaky Pie Dough for single crust (recipe below)

For the filling:
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 large egg yolks, beaten
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained
2 Tbs. unsalted butter

For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

Prepare the flaky pie dough and chill as directed.

Lightly butter two 24-cup mini muffin pans. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough quite thin, to 1/16-1/8 inch (2-3 mm.) thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch (6-mm.) round cutter, cut out as many disks as you can. Gather the scraps, press together, reroll, and cut more disks. You should have around 40 disks total. Gently press each disk into a muffin cup to line it evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Fill any empty muffin cups with a little water. Prick the bottoms of the shells with a fork. Bake the shells until golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the shells from the pans and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Have ready all the ingredients for the filling and meringue before you get started. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and the lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Place the yolks in a bowl, pour in a bit of the hot sugar mixture, and whisk together. Pour the yolks into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the butter. The mixture should be quite thick. Using a small spoon, fill the baked shells with the lemon filling. Place in the oven to stay warm while you make the meringue (you don’t want to leave the shells in the oven longer than 5 minutes, so you will need to work quickly!).

To make the meringue, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium-high speed until frothy. Beating constantly, slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Beat until the meringue is thick and glossy (when you stop the beaters, the peaks should just barely curl at the ends).

Dollop the meringue on the pies, doing your best to spread it to the edges of the filling to seal the filling in the shells. You can also use a pastry bag and a medium tip to pipe the meringue onto the pies. Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Let the pies cool completely before serving. Makes about 3 dozen mini pies.

Flaky Pie Dough

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
7 Tbs. (3 1/2 oz./105 g.) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar, if using. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes enough for one 9-inch (23-cm.) pie or tart.

Posted on

Sweet Cheese Pastries with Apricot Glaze

apricot

The sweet yeast dough in this recipe can be used for all kinds of different morning pastries, like these cheese-filled sweet rolls, reminiscent of the cheese Danishes from your local bakery. Make the dough the night before so that assembly is easy the next day.


Sweet Cheese Pastries with Apricot Glaze

For the sweet yeast dough:

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) whole milk

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) granulated sugar

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 large eggs

1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) quick-rise yeast

5 cups (25 oz./780 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed

1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

5 oz. (155 g.) cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) ricotta cheese

1 1/3 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Flour for rolling out the dough

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) apricot preserves

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups (22 1/2 oz./705 g.) of the flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, adding as much of the remaining flour as need to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.

Remove the paddle attachment and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth but still soft, 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2-2 hours. (Or, punch down the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Punch down the dough and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.)

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) of the sugar, and the vanilla. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.

Cut the dough in half. On a floured work surface, roll out one of the dough halves into a 15-by-10-inch (38-by-25-cm.) rectangle. Cut into six 5-inch (13-cm.) squares. Set aside and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a dough square in front of you, with a point at the top. Place a generous tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the square. Take the right corner of dough and stretch it over the cheese mixture; push the corner into the dough to secure it.

Pull and stretch the left corner to the right of the cheese to cover it, and press the corner into the dough to secure it. Repeat with the other two corners of dough, stretching the dough over the cheese to completely enclose it. Repeat with the remaining dough and cream cheese mixture.

Place the dough packets, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm.) apart, on the baking sheets. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until they look puffy, 75-90 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and another rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the pastries with some of the beaten egg. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack and bake, switching the sheets between the racks and rotating them 180 degrees halfway through baking, until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Strain through a wire sieve into small bowl. Sift the remaining 1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar into another small bowl.

Stir in 1-2 tablespoons water to make a thick, but pourable, glaze. Brush the apricot glaze over the pastries. Drizzle with the sugar glaze. Let stand until the glaze sets, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 pastries.

Posted on

Rhubarb Custard with Pistachio Crumble

crumble

A thick, rich vanilla custard sprinkled with nutty pistachio streusel blankets a hidden layer of tart, lightly poached rhubarb at the bottom of each of these delicious, gluten-free desserts, created by blogger Aran Goyoaga. Be sure to watch the delicate custards carefully as they bake so you don’t overcook them.

Rhubarb Custard with Pistachio Crumble

For the poached rhubarb:

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

4 stalks rhubarb (1 lb./500 g total weight), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm.) pieces

For the pistachio crumble:

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) unsalted pistachios

4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) sugar

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) brown rice flour

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) almond flour

4 1/2 tsp. tapioca flour

Pinch of kosher salt

For the custard:

1 vanilla bean

2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) heavy cream

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) whole milk

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar

Grated zest of 1 orange

6 large eggs

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) cornstarch

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F (160°C). Have ready 8-10 custard cups or ramekins, each at least 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) Arrange the cups in a baking dish.

To poach the rhubarb, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb, reduce the heat so that the sugar syrup is barely simmering, and gently cook the rhubarb until it is soft but still keeps its shape, about 3 minutes.

Drain the rhubarb, being careful not to mush it too much.

To make the crumble, finely chop the pistachios in a food processor. Add the butter, sugar, brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca flour and salt, and pulse a few times just until a crumble sandlike dough forms. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the custard, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a paring knife. In a saucepan, combine the vanilla pod and seeds, the cream, the milk, half of the sugar, and the orange zest.

Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch, and remaining sugar.

Pour a little of the hot cream into the egg mixture, a little at a time, and whisk until combined. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher.

Divide the rhubarb between the custard cups. Pour the custard over the rhubarb. Sprinkle the reserved crumble over the top of each custard, dividing it evenly. Carefully pour very hot water into the baking dish to reach about halfway up the sides of the cups.

Bake until the custards are set and the crumble is golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely before serving. Serves 8-10.

Posted on

Bake Bunny Surprise

bunny

We flipped for the playful cake shown in our latest catalog, a whimsical treat in the shape of the season’s signature rabbit. All you need to pull it off is our easy-to-use nonstick pan, plus a few everyday baking essentials — then, decorate any way you like. Whether you sprinkle your bunny with sugar, drizzle him with a chocolate glaze or adorn him with colorful icings, this magical cake is guaranteed to make everyone at the table smile.

 Bake Bunny Surprise

There are two ways to serve the cake: You can build a 3-D bunny cake following the directions below, or simply bake one half and serve it, flat side down, directly on a platter. Surround it with festive Easter candies for a pretty presentation.

Add the batterAdd the batter

Grease and flour the pan, then divide the batter made from our Bundt cake mix between two halves.

Bake, then cool downBake, then cool down

Place pan on a wire cooling rack and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn outTurn out

Invert pan onto rack and lift it off. Let cakes cool completely.

Trim topsTrim tops

Using a serrated knife, trim the domed top of each cake to create a flat surface.

Sneak a sampleSneak a sample

Enjoy the cake scraps with whipped cream to tide you over!

Fill with frostingFill with frosting

Spread a 1/4-inch layer of buttercream frosting on the flat side of one cake.

Bring it togetherBring it together

Top with the other cake half and let sit for 30 minutes so frosting can stiffen.

Add a finishing touchAdd a finishing touch

Dust with confectioners’ sugar or pipe buttercream frosting to decorate.

Serve up a surpriseServe up a surprise

Stand bunny upright and transfer to a plate or cake stand to serve.

Posted on

Bake a Layer Cake

layer

A towering, decadent, showstopping cake is the best way to celebrate a special occasion, whether it’s Easter Sunday or a spring birthday. Here are our best tips for pulling off your most memorable dessert yet!

Our Celebration Layer Cake Pans

make it easy to bake each layer, and with their pretty scalloped edges, you don’t even need to frost the sides before serving! Our Test Kitchen cooks love these pans because they work with almost any batter: our mixes, other prepared mixes or a scratch white or chocolate cake. Whether you’re using the layer cake pans or a regular cake pan, be sure to brush the pans with melted butter and dust with flour before baking, then cool them on a wire rack before frosting.

Slice into layers

If you’re using a standard cake pan, you’ll need to slice it in half horizontally. Hold a ruler up to the side of the cake base and, using toothpicks, mark the midpoint at regular intervals around the cake. Using a long, thin serrated bread knife, split the cake horizontally into even layers. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard circle. Place the other layer, cut side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Fill the cake.

 When filling a layer cake, jams should be spread thinly, while rich fillings, such as curd, pastry cream or buttercream, should be thicker. Lighter fillings like mousse should be thick, but never thicker than the cake layer. Mound the filling in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge. Flip the other layer over onto the filling, cut side up. Gently push the layer evenly into place. Repeat with remaining layers (remember, you can make as many as you want)!

Frost and finish.

Before you start frosting, you need to make a crumb coat — a thin layer of frosting that sticks to the crumbs so they don’t mess up the surface. Place the filled cake on a work surface and put a small amount of frosting on top. Using an icing spatula, smooth a thin layer of frosting over the cake. The crumb coating should be thin and even, covering the entire surface of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 to 20 minutes, before frosting.

To frost, mound the frosting in the center of the cake and use an icing spatula to smooth it gently and evenly over the top. Smooth down the frosting with broad strokes; be sure not to touch the spatula to the cake without icing on it, or you could pick up crumbs.

Dip the spatula in warm water and wipe clean with a damp kitchen towel as needed. The top of the cake should be flat. Whether you frost the sides is up to you — leaving them bare gives you a more casual dessert, while frosting them looks a little fancier.

Posted on

Monkey Bread with Strawberry Caramel Sauce

monkey

This delectable pull-apart monkey bread starts with an orange brioche dough and is topped with a rich strawberry caramel sauce. It’s the perfect transition into spring, baked into individual ramekins with sprinkled with chopped toasted almonds for a special presentation.

 

Monkey Bread with Strawberry Caramel Sauce

Orange brioche dough (recipe follows)

1 pint (8 oz./250 g.) strawberries, hulled and cut in half lengthwise

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) fresh orange juice

2 Tbs. light corn syrup

1 tsp. orange blossom water

1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Kosher salt

Melted butter for brushing

Flour for rolling out the dough

1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) sliced almonds, toasted

Prepare the brioche dough as directed below.

In a bowl, combine the strawberries and the 2 tablespoons sugar. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the berries give off at least 2 tablespoons of juice, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. In a small saucepan, cook the strawberries and their juices over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are soft and the juices are syrupy, about 3 minutes. Drain in a coarse-mesh sieve, reserving the strawberries and their juices separately.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and orange juice and heat over medium heat until warmed; set aside. In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the 1 cup sugar and the corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts.

Continue cooking, without stirring, as the mixture caramelizes. Wash down any sugar crystals that form inside the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and occasionally swirl the pot by its handle, until the mixture turns dark amber, about 5 minutes.

A few tablespoons at a time, carefully stir in the warm cream mixture (it will bubble up), returning to a boil after each addition, then boil for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom water, lemon juice, orange zest and reserved strawberry juices. Season with a pinch of salt. Let the sauce cool completely.

Generously brush eight 1-cup (8-fl. oz./250-ml.) ramekins or cocottes with the melted butter. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Divide into 8 equal portions. Cut each portion into 6 equal pieces and roll into balls to make 48 balls total.

In a bowl, combine the drained reserved strawberries with 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) of the cooled caramel sauce. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins.

Pour 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) of the remaining caramel sauce into the same bowl. For each serving, add 6 balls to the sauce, turn with a rubber spatula to coat well, and transfer to a ramekin, fitting the balls as evenly as possible. Repeat with the remaining balls and ramekins, adding more caramel sauce, if needed. Reserve the remaining caramel sauce.

Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly oil a sheet of plastic wrap and place it over the ramekins, oiled side down. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the plastic wrap from the ramekins and bake the monkey bread until golden brown, about 30 minutes.   In a small saucepan, warm the reserved caramel sauce over medium heat. Brush the tops of each monkey bread with some of the reserved caramel sauce, sprinkle with the toasted almonds, and serve. Serves 8.

 

Orange Brioche Dough

1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) plus 1 tablespoon whole milk

1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk

3 1/2 cups (17 1/2 oz./545 g.) unbleached flour, or as needed

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

2 tsp. orange blossom honey

1 tsp. kosher salt

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

1 large egg beaten with a pinch of fine sea salt, for brushing

Make the brioche dough the day before baking. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat to 110°F (43°C). Pour into a bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) of the flour and stir well. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup flour over the mixture; do not stir. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the starter rises and cracks through the flour topping, about 1 hour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast mixture, the remaining 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, 2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) of the flour, the sugar, honey, salt and orange zest. With the mixer on low speed, add just enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that does not stick to the bowl. Remove the paddle attachment and attache the dough hook.

Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding about 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) flour, as needed, until the dough is smooth, 5-7 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, being sure the first addition is absorbed before adding more, to make a soft, sticky dough, about 3 minutes. If the dough sticks to the bowl, add more flour, a little at a time. Shape into a ball.

Lightly butter a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Add the dough to the bowl and turn to coat with the butter. Cover the bowl tightly with the plastic wrap, buttered side down. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover again, and refrigerate for at least 8 or up to 24 hours.

Posted on

Meyer Lemon Tart

tart

Moravian cookies lend a subtle sweet spice to this bright lemony tart, which makes an impressive ending to a celebratory meal. If Moravian cookies are unavailable, substitute graham crackers. To streamline prep, use a jarred lemon curd.

Meyer Lemon Tart

6 3/4 oz. (210 g) Moravian cookies or 9 graham crackers (about 5 oz./155 g)
3 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 jars (15 oz./470 g) Meyer lemon curd
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
Freshly grated lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F (165°C).

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cookies until fine crumbs form. Add the sugar and pulse until combined. Add the butter and process until the crumbs begin to stick together.

Transfer the crumbs to a 9 1/2-inch (24-cm) tart pan. Using the bottom of a 1/2-cup (125-ml) dry measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the fluted sides. Place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and add pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and bake for 5 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Spread the lemon curd evenly in the cooled tart shell and refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 3 hours. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream and lemon zest, cut into slices and serve. Serves 8.

Posted on

Bacon, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyere Focaccia

bacon

Rich with olive oil, nutty Gruyere cheese, crisp thick-cut bacon and sweet onions, this focaccia is like taking a trip to the Alsace. Serve it as an appetizer, part of a brunch, or in place of bread at the dinner table.

Bacon, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyere Focaccia

1 package (2 1/4 tsp. ) active dry yeast
2 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) warm water (110°F/43°C)
3 cups (15 oz./470 g.) all-purpose flour
6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml.) olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) loosely packed shredded Gruyere cheese
6 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
2 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar in the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, 4 tablespoons (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) of the oil, salt, rosemary, and cheese. Attach the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it back into the bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron frying pan, fry the bacon over medium-low heat until just crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but a few teaspoons of the bacon fat. Add the onions and saute over medium-low heat until they start to wild, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon brown sugar and a pinch of salt and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the bacon, and let cool.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Dump the dough onto the prepared pan and press it into a rough rectangle. Using your fingers, stretch the dough into a rectangle about 10 by 14 inches (25 by 35 cm.) Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy, about 1 hour.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Dimple the surface of the dough with your fingertips. Gently brush the dough with oil, then sprinkle evenly with the bacon-onion mixture. Bake until gorgeously golden, 15-18 minutes. Cut into squares and serve while warm. Makes 1 flatbread.

Baker’s Note: To use the focaccia for sandwiches, omit the onion and bacon toppings and shape the dough into a smaller, thicker rectangle or square. After it has cooled, cut into squares, split through the middle and fill with goat cheese and grilled eggplant and peppers, or any of your other favorite sandwich fillings.