Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ken's Home from Saudi and Abu Dhabi

Or at least, he was.  And then he turned around and went right back out the door (with Steven this time) and left for a bike trip to Moab.  The little girls were a little unhappy about it - Carmen even asked: "Why do you have to go again??? Can't mom take Steven to Moab?"

While Ken was away he missed some weird & wonderful cooking.  Carmen took this picture of Kelly's Lemon Meringue Cake (wonderful).  She also managed to capture our Donvier ice cream maker which is out from making Avocado Ice Cream (weird), and the lemons I canned (weird or wonderful?) as a first step to a Moroccan Chicken recipe I want to try after the lemons pickle for a month.

Kelly's blog is private so I can't link you there, but here is the recipe copied from her blog:

Lemon Meringue Cake

This recipe originally came from Martha Stewart in the mid-90's, but you can't find this exact one on her website any more (what up, Martha?), so I'm just going to put it here in it's entirety.  I still have the print out from the 90's, and so I'm happy to have it in a more permanent form.  
Make the lemon curd first. 
Lemon Curd Filling
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)
4 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (this is roughly 2 large lemons)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
Zest of 2 lemons (how handy!)
1.  In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.  Place over low heat (medium, maybe depending on your stove), and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.  (You will know -- all of the sudden it's just thick.)  Remove pan from heat, and stir to cool slightly.
2.  Strain curd through a sieve set over a small bowl.  (Do not skip this step, or you will have bits of cooked egg in your lemon curd.  Unseemly.)  Add butter, a piece at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition.  Stir in lemon zest, and let cool completely. 
Lemon Meringue Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, room temperature, plus a bit more to butter the cake pans.
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus a bit more to dust your cake pans.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
Lemon Curd Filling (recipe above)
Swiss Meringue (recipe below)
1.  Heat oven to 350•.  Butter two round 8-by-2 inch cake pans.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour, making sure to coat pans evenly.  Tap to remove any excess.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes (don't skimp).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, about 5 minutes; scrape down sides.
3.  Reduce mixer speed to low.  Slowly add sifted flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk a little at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
4.  Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans, and return to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.  (if you have the time, it wouldn't be a bad idea to put them in the freezer before the next step -- it will make cutting them easier!)
5.  To assemble, turn cakes upside-down onto cardboard cake rounds and remove parchment paper.  Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally.  You will have four layers.  (Martha is a bit overly explanatory, no?)
6.  Spread 1/3 of the lemon curd filling over the bottom layer.  Top with the second cake layer, and spread with 1/3 more of the filling.  Remove the cake round from second cake.  Top with third cake layer.  Spread with remaining filling.  Top with fourth cake layer.  Chill assembled cake until set, at least one hour, or overnight is fine, too.
7.  Heat oven to 400•.  Using an offset spatula, spread the Swiss Meringue all over the cake, making decorative swirls.  Place cake, still on cake round, on a Silpat lined baking sheet (you could also use Parchment paper, Martha, please.)  Transfer to oven.  Bake, watching carefully, until meringue has browned around edges and begins to brown elsewhere, 3 to 5 minutes.  (You could also use a blow torch if you have one.)  Transfer cake, on round, to a serving plate.  (This is tricky!)  When slicing cake, run a knife under hot water, then wipe dry, and cut.  Repeat with hot water between slices.
Swiss Meringue
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.  Combine the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes.
2.  Transfer the bowl ot the electric mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes.  Use immediately.

The cake turned out so pretty. Jaclyn thinks it could be inspiration for a wedding cake, though she would do chocolate cake beneath the meringue - the lemon cake tasted too much like my lemon bread recipe (not special enough).

I really, really loved the Swiss Meringue. Heating the ingredients before whipping changed the texture significantly. I'll never do *regular* meringue again.


Marie said...

I made that cake for my cookie exchange dessert, and oh, my! Fabulous!

I have never started a recipe a month in advance. What ever those canned lemons are for better be amazing.

Glad Ken made it home.

Jill said...

I don't enjoy meringue, but I appreciate the beauty of the cake.

Hmm, canning lemons, that's a new one for me.