Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lemon chiffon cake where's your sugar?

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Nineteen years! I'm getting old. Yikes! So I decided to make a simple cake to celebrate. I searched "The Textbook" and picked the Lemon Chiffon Cake. It looked easy and sounded tasty.

The five eggs had been carefully separated and brought to room temperature with the rest of the ingredients mise en place waiting to be added. The oven was preheated and the pan greased waiting for the batter.

I read over the instructions first to get familiar with the recipe. First you combine the egg yolks and oil with the lemon juice and zest. Hmmm...interesting. The recipe did not tell me how much lemon juice or zest I would need. Which was odd since I thought baking recipes had to have exact measurements or the recipe would fail. But all right, I could decide how much lemon juice I wanted in my cake. That was no problem. After the above-mentioned ingredients are whisked together, then I was to sift the flour, sugar, wait a minute- what sugar? The only mention of sugar is under the ingredient list for the French meringue. Did I miss the sugar somewhere? Maybe I didn't read the recipe close enough. I reread it again and no, not one mention of sugar in the cake batter. Just to be sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me, which sometimes they do, I had my hubby check the recipe and nope, no sugar measurement. Okay, now what? I have five eggs at room temperature and a recipe that's incomplete. How frustrating! I was tempted to guess on the sugar amount, but I didn't want to possibly waste ingredients.

After searching high and low for a recipe that took 5 warm eggs, I found Paula Deen's recipe for pound cake. Thank goodness, Mrs. Paula Deen saved the day!

Hallelujah! It took five eggs! They didn't have to be separated, but that was an easy fix I just reunited my separated eggs into one bowl, which made them happy.

Now there are a couple of reasons why I don't have any picture of me making this cake. Number one, I was too annoyed by the messed up Lemon Chiffon Cake recipe and the second; my hubby was helping me make the cake. He wouldn't have minded if I had taken some pictures, but as it was getting dark, I would have had to use my light box and well, it would have taken too long and I was annoyed-wait I already mentioned that.

But I did take some of the finished cake. It was so good it made my annoyance melt away.
If you have never made it you need to try it. The crust that forms on this cake is sooo good! It is so moist it melts on your tongue and if your feeling annoyed and angry at a cookbook like someone I won't mention, then it will put them in a better mood.

Thanks Paula for saving the day!

Here's a link if you would like to make it and eat all your worries away.

Mama's Pound Cake Recipe

P.S. She's so wonderful she even tells you how much sugar goes into the cake! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tarte alsacienne ( Alsatian Apple Tart )

For this tart I decided to make sweet tart dough instead of the usual pie pastry. Maybe I would have better luck with it, as it didn't seem as temperamental as pie pasty. This dough uses eggs and is mixed together in a blender.  The hardest part of the recipe was making sure each egg was thoroughly incorporated before the next one was added, and to mix them in well or it would separate.

Maybe I was talking to my thirteen year old too much and was not fully focused on what I was doing, because the mixture separated on me-Silly me to think it would be so simple. "The Textbook" did suggest if this were to happen, I should continue to mix it until it came back together or add a spoonful of flour. It needed a spoonful of flour to bring that baby back together.

Here's the dough looking all-sweet and innocent like it didn't give me any problems.

After the dough was refrigerated, I rolled it out and transferred to the tart pan where I lined it with parchment paper and filled it up to the brim with dried pinto beans. Which lucky for me, I have a lot of.

The funny thing about these beans was I couldn't remember if I had any dried beans in the house. I actually spent a few moments searching my pantry worried that I might not have any. Then I remembered the huge bag of pinto beans stashed in my laundry room cupboard. How could I forget we own a 25lb bag of dried pinto beans? I like to make refried beans. Once in awhile I'll make them several times a month, but apparently it's been awhile since I've made any.

Doesn't it look beautiful? I hope the crust will be flaky. I've got my fingers and toes crossed.

Instead of apple compote, this tart is filled with yummy custard, which was easy to make. All you do is mix eggs, milk, cream and vanilla and then strain it. I wasn't sure why this would have to be strained, but it did leave behind some egg white that did not get mixed in.

While the crust baked, I caramelized the apples.

I arranged the apples in the shell (which according to the recipe should be in a decorative pattern) and poured the custard over the apples.

My final take on the apple tart-

The apples and the custard were great, but the crust was not tender.

Sigh- someday I'll get it right.