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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick Lemon Cream Dessert

Are you in love with Nigella Lawson?  I'm in love with Nigella Lawson.  Completely in love.

She is gracious, witty, and beautiful.  And it seems she never skips dessert.  Her books are full of quick little things you can throw together from your pantry to satisfy your sweet tooth.  This is only part of what makes her so brilliant.

I've adapted her recipe for Lemon Meringue Fool to fit the choices at my American grocery store.  I've never heard of a meringue nest, and couldn't find one at the store.  Making one for myself sort of defeats the purpose of making this quick and easy.  So, I went with shortbread cookies instead.  They're chewy and buttery and completely delicious.  They add a lovely texture to the creamy tart dessert.

This dessert couldn't be easier.  Thin out some lemon curd with limoncello or lemon juice.  Whip up some cream.  This will replace your work out for the day if, like me you have to whip the cream by hand because you broke your mixer the week before making homemade ice cream.  Blast some cookies to rubble in your food processor, then fold the three together.

Put it into your prettiest glasses, or put it in a bucket.  Either way, it's going to taste amazing.  Nigella has gorgeous vintage martini glasses, but not everyone can be so lucky.  I put an extra dab of lemon curd, some more cookie crumbs, and a shortbread cookie on top.  And then I scarfed down the whole thing in about two minutes.

Fast, easy, delicious.  What more do I need to say?

Lemon Cream Dessert
Recipe adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.

150g lemon curd
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or limoncello if you have it)
250ml heavy cream
15-20 shortbread cookies

  • In a small bowl, stir together the lemon curd and lemon juice to thin it out a bit.
  • Whisk the cream until it just reaches stiff peaks.  It will stiffen up more as you mix in the other ingredients.
  • Fold the lemon mixture into the cream in two batches.  It should be streaky, so don't over mix it.
  • Stash the cream in the fridge while you put the shortbread cookies into the food processor.  A zip top bag and a rolling pin work just as well.  Pulse the cookies until they are coarse and chunky.  Not too fine.
  • Fold most of the crumbs into the lemon and cream, but hold a few back to sprinkle on top.
  • Once everything is incorporated, divide it into four glasses.
  • Add a dab of lemon curd, cookie crumbs, and a shortbread cookie.
  • Stash them in the fridge until you're ready to devour them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Cake Batter Ice Cream: A Delicious Disaster

I am not fortunate enough to have my own ice cream maker, but one of my blogging heroes, Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker , told me I could make homemade ice cream without one.  I had been eager to try it out for ages, but...  Well, I'm sorta lazy.

Things didn't go exactly as planned.  I had to switch to a larger pan.  The recipe said medium sauce pan, but I guess my idea of a medium sauce pan is different.  It also said stir occasionally.  My ice cream mix came out with delicious little lumps of cake that stuck to the bottom of the pan.  I don't know if those cake lumps are supposed to be there, but I fully approve of them.

Then came the bit where you let the ice cream mix freeze and then mix it with your hand mixer.  Make sure you have a nice powerful hand mixer if you do this.  After the second freeze, I ended up blowing out the motor on my hand mixer, which totally sucks because I work at the mall and it will take me months to save up enough for a new one.  Oh, AND as I was putting the completed ice cream back in the freezer, my cake holder fell off the top of the fridge and broke.  This was the point at which I sat down on the kitchen floor and wanted to cry.

But even with all that, this ice cream was amaze-balls!!!  We can't stop eating it.  It freezes quite hard, so leave it out of the freezer for a good 10 to 15 minutes before you try to scoop it.  It's super creamy, and a little sticky.  I made my frosting blue because I hate pink.  And that's the best part about making your own ice cream.  It's exactly the way you want it. If you want me to make this for you, you can pick your favorite color.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Tart and Finding My Voice

Everything I know about baking and cooking I learned from watching Food Network.  Growing up, I was never interested in being in the kitchen.  I barely had time to eat, let alone make a cake.  But these days it's all I can think about.  I've constantly got baking on the brain.

So, I made you this chocolate raspberry ganache tart.

I made this for my very first customer here in Honolulu.  Usually the stuff I bake is for my own personal enjoyment, and if there's anything left over, our co-workers get cookies constantly pressed upon them, lest I eat them all by myself.  But this one was for a co-worker's mom's friend's birthday party.  Did you follow that?  Don't worry, it's not really important.

The thing you don't want to overlook is how incredibly decadent this tart is.  Holy monkey, it's a lot of chocolate.  Gorgeous, silky, heavenly, make you swoon chocolate.  Oh, and raspberries.  They're up there, too.  Normally those would be left on my plate, but like I said, this wasn't for me.  I hear normal humans like that sort of thing though.

See that crooked bit?  That's what happens when the tart shifts around in your cake carrier in the car and then you have to try to fix it later and pipe on more whipped cream to make it look slightly less wonky.  It was a perfect circle at my house, I swear.  I can be a perfectionist for sure, but when it comes to dessert, how something tastes takes precedence over looks every time.

Trust me, you don't want to leave out the fresh whipped cream.  It cuts the chocolate ever so slightly and adds a light airy contrast to the dense ganache.  They compliment each other perfectly.  This tart would be perfect for Valentine's Day, but don't wait for an excuse.  Just try it.

*Photos by the awesome Jamie Sweet