Tag Archives: Lemon

One egg, two recipes: lemon curd and fabulous macaroons

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*When this post hits the blogosphere, and Fiesta Friday 21, I’ll be travelling. Since internet will be sporadic, I may not see your comments (or visit your blogs) for a while, but look forward to catching up when I’m back!*

Of eggs and introductions

How does one introduce a recipe? I’ve been wondering about this while scribbling up this post. And to double the trouble, how does one introduce two recipes that together use the whole egg? Chronologically? Alphabetically? Punningly?

I’ll go from the outside, starting at the eggwhite, finishing with the egg yolk.

The eggwhite

I’ve posted about the macaroons before, under the moniker ‘multi-tasking macaroons’. But these macaroons weren’t exactly the same. These, made with coconut chips rather than desiccated/shredded coconuts, were so pretty. This time, the coconut flakes looked like brown-tipped wings. The texture was different somehow, chewy in the middle, crispy on the outside, not too sweet, each coconut flake standing to attention. These, dear reader, were what Alice Medrich intended in her recipe.

But I took a shortcut. I mixed the coconut and egg whites, without half-cooking them as Ms Medrich instructs. These were a tad stickier, and maybe took a tad longer to cook, but they worked well with a fraction of the effort.

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And then, I dolloped rum-spiked dark chocolate ganache. And finished by sprinkling over flaky sea salt…

These macaroons were ready in about an hour, but they could have been eaten in much, much less time. Especially when I piled a few together and let the chocolate ganache pour over them. That was…well, fun, and decadent.

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Sunny-lemony ricotta cookies, because we cannot live on bread alone

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January came with an avalanche of green juice blogging. Even this wee blog, untrendy as it is, got with the zeitgeist and talked about bird seed bread, kale, Burmese salads, and accidental trendiness healthiness.

Then, I bought far too much ricotta. For the past week, our diet has been full of ricotta-laced pesto and ricotta mustard tarts (the tarts adapted from the great Dorie herself). And these ricotta cookies.

These cookies were light, cake-like and fluffy. I added as much lemon zest and lemon juice as I dared, with a fat pinch of crushed lavender buds. And the taste? Creamy and primly sweet from the ricotta and castor (granulated) sugar, but thanks to the lemon zest and lavender, each cookie was a sparkling, sunny mouthful.

Compared to the excesses of December – such as the darkly spiced Sri Lankan Christmas cake lurking in some of the photos – these lemony ricotta cookies seemed positively fresh and sober. Like calisthenics early morning yoga.

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Almost Dorie: lemon-glazed berry almond Danish, and a quick laminated dough

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24 October (October 24, if you’re in America) is Dorie Greenspan’s birthday. I only became interested in baking and cooking in the last few years, and only began to do things properly in the last year or so, but during this time I’ve come to love Dorie’s recipes and her writing. Besides, Dorie was described by someone as “five foot nothing” – being a short person, I heartily approve of the saying that the best things come in small packages.

Around the world, food bloggers, especially those in the French Fridays with Dorie and Tuesdays with Dorie groups, have been posting to celebrate Dorie’s birthday. It’s a giant virtual party that will go for at least a couple of days as we work our way around global timezones.

Birthday parties deserve the best cake and champers, mini kievs (like the ones Johnny might make) and crabapple hooch like Liz made. And, the best parties have a gate crasher or three. This post is a kind of gatecrasher to the Dorie virtual party. It’s not a recipe created by Dorie, but it does come from a book that she penned, collecting recipes that others had baked with Julia Child.

(Sheepishly, this was also the recipe for last week’s Tuesdays with Dorie group assignment. What can I say, non-blogging life got in the way. Sorry TWD-ers all)

The recipe is a Danish braid made with a quick laminated dough. Mine was filled with almond cream and raspberry jam, topped with slivered almonds, and covered in a tangy, puckery lemon-yoghurt glaze. The lemon glaze really completed the pastry, it somehow softened the filling and brought them together in a refreshing, spritzy kind of bear hug.

To make things pretty, I also sprinkled roughly crushed dried strawberries over the top. They added more intense bursts of sweet-tart, and flecks of colour.

Mr Gander took half of the Danish braid to work, as a way of getting to know people in a new-ish area where he’d recently started working. The Danish braid was wolfed down, and I think he’s now known as the guy who brings Danish braids to work.

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Quick laminated dough and fraisage

Rather than talk about all of the components of the braid, this post will focus on the quick laminated dough used in the braid. The recipe for the Danish braid has been published by the contributing baker Beatrice Ojakangas and is reproduced below.

Laminated dough – for croissants – was one of the more challenging recipes I’ve made as part of the TWD group. Making the laminated dough for the croissants took up most of a day, so I was pretty happy to see a recipe for a ‘quick’ laminated dough.

The quick recipe takes short cuts when putting the dough together. It didn’t require the baker to make detrempe (the yeasted dough used in lamination), beurrage (the block of butter used in lamination), and all that. Instead, it was a relatively quick process in the food processor, or even by hand. Basically, you cut butter into flour and sugar until the butter is still in visible, small chunks. Then, you roll out and fold the dough a few times – even this might be a shortcut as real Danish doughs should have 243 layers, and the quick dough didn’t seem to have as many layers.

After chilling and resting, it’s ready to be used to make Danish braids.

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‘Donut forget’ blueberry-lemon-yoghurt mini bundts

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Mr Gander knew it was the card for me. It features a girl eating food, and has a food-related pun.

Puns make me go ‘squee!’; food-related puns get a ‘double squee!’

(This is the after-effect of my English honours year, when I and other fellow Honoraries lived and breathed words, words and words, until our obsession with language got a tad out of control.)

I wanted to make donuts to go with the card, but we only had a mini-bundt cake pan. So, we had mini-bundt cakes instead, they are holey and therefore kinda donut-like, right?

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These were happy mini-bundts, based on a baked doughnut recipe from the fabulous Spoon Fork Bacon. These have wholemeal flour for substance, blueberries for smurf-y goodness, yoghurt for health and a buttermilk-like tender crumb.

It was just the right recipe for impromptu baking. The batter was absurdly easy to put together, and I had all of the ingredients in the pantry. (Actually, I didn’t have apple sauce that the recipe called for, and used the same amount of butter instead)

Instead of a blueberry glaze, I spooned over a sharp lemony icing, slightly thickened and mellowed with Greek yoghurt. Then, on a whim, I grated sunny-yellow lemon zest over the bundtlettes, the yellow standing out against the red-purple-blue stains from squishy blueberries.

The liquid glaze melted into the bundtlettes, pooled in the gaps where blueberries sank into the cake batter, and dribbled down onto the board next to stray bits of lemon zest. It was all a bit ad hoc and make-it-up-as-you-go, but the result was a crowd pleaser. We could almost believe winter is coming to an end in the Antipodes.

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A tale of two citruses – lemon and grapefruit curd

On an afternoon stroll, I saw a cardboard box outside a terrace house with bright yellow, knobbly citrus inside. There was a bit of paper stuck on the box that said ‘FREE / lemon and grapefruit’.

I took four at random. One was a large grapefruit, two that might have been large grapefruits or small lemons, and one very small lemon. They filled the house with a real citrus smell: intense, sun ripened on the branch, full of lush oils in the zest.

I thought about ways to celebrate this bounty, and remembered my first taste of lemon curd:

We were talking to a friend’s neighbour, an immaculately flamboyant gentleman in an impeccably restored terrace house. Knowing our love of books, he showed us through his book collection. We marvelled at shelves of leather bound volumes and rare-ish editions, and tried not to stare at the jade-green peacock feathers, tropical fronds and other mad hatter-esque decor that crowded every wall and ceiling. As a finale, he took us into the kitchen and gave us each a spoonful of quivering, pale golden lemon curd he was serving at dinner that evening.

Since then, lemon curd – really tart lemon curd – has had an allure associated with that impeccable, mad hatter-esque house.

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