French Frdays with Dorie

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Cake

This week's recipe was selected by Sihan of Befuddlement. Though she did not feel her cake was a total success, I am delighted with her choice.
The only thing that displeased me about this recipe was the blueberries. First of all, what is with these darn people who package goods anymore? I expect to purchase blueberries by the pint or half-pint - or if we get really carried away, by the pound. I do not expect to pick up a "half-pint" container and learn that it has be "under-sized" to seven ounces! And, on top of that National Disgrace, I had to pay $3.50 for the tiny little thing!
Well, my sister did, she kindly picked the berries up for me and I kindly forgot to pay her for them. If you practice this, you will save a lot of money over the course of a year, but you will probably annoy the heck out of your siblings. My sister, of course, is a saint who never gets annoyed with me - she knows that is useless - I am incurable. She was calling these the gold-plated blueberries. I am happy to say that the berries themselves were quite nice.
The cake had a great rise, it was light and fluffy and I loved the hint of nutmeg in every bite. I would have liked my berries to be a bit more evenly distributed, they did sink to the bottom a good bit, but even with the undersized pint, there were plenty of them in the cake. And, do I love me some crumble crust? Yes, I do, and this one is great. I will be making this cake again . . . and again, and again...
Go to here to find the recipe on Sihan's site or BUY THE BOOK! Cooking From My Home to Yours by Dorrie Greenspan.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

French yogurt cake

Many thanks to Liliana of My Cookbook Obsession for selecting this week's recipe. I swear this cake comes together easier than a muffin does! It doesn't even require the KitchenAid - how weird!

Well, it comes together easily if you can find the darned marmalade! Click on the link to visit her website and see both her delightful mini-loaves and the recipe. Of course, you could just buy THE BOOK - Baking From my Home to Yours.

Dorrie suggests lemon marmalade. I could not find that in any of the stores I tried and did not want to battle the traffic to get to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. But, today I tried Ellwood Thompson, a local organic grocer, and found that they carry Pink Grapefruit Marmalade. I had resigned myself to making the cake with an orange marmalade glaze, but I so wanted to be exotic!

Yes, my life is truly so sad and boring that I feel finding grapefruit marmalade and using it in a recipe is an exotic thrill. I weep for myself, no need for anyone else to tear up.

Of course I paid no attention to my poor little camera yesterday when I was taking photos of the giant pileated woodpeckers that were trying to fell my tree so I did not realize I had drained its battery. I will update this post with a photo of the cake tomorrow and report on the taste then.
I read on a few of the other blogs that the cake tastes better the next day, anyway. See you next week.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of photos of the birds and the tree - just so you can see what two active beaks can do in about, oh, say 20 minutes:

Cake Update: Yum! Normally I am not much for jam in or on desserts. I was thinking just this morning of how I once heard Rosie O'Donnell say that she doesn't consider anything with fruit in it a dessert. Of course that is insane - fruit pies and cobblers are among my favorite desserts - but I am semi- in that ballpark with jams. Or I was until I tasted this cake. I am beginning to come to the jam side or at least the Pink Grapefruit Marmalade side! The cake itself had a very delicate taste of citrus, but my God, the smell was divine. It wasn't overpowering by any means but it was so tantilizing. The cake was moist and the marmalade was exquistely tart. I don't think much of orange marmalade, but I am totally keeping this stuff around from now!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lemon Cup Custard

I was very torn about this recipe. On the one hand, I lLOVE lemon flavored items. On the other hand, I am not especially fond of custard - especially custard that is flan-like in texture. I decided that my custard would be more pudding-like and commenced to blending.

After having read the various comments I knew that I needed to up the ante to get a more intense lemon flavor so I doubled the lemon zest - steeping the zest of one lemon for an hour to enhance that flavor and mixing the zest of another lemon into the sugar to brighten its flavor. I also used Fiori Di Sicili extract in the egg/milk mixture.

This all resulted in a very enticing delightfully scented custard. My custards baked in less time than I expected. I set the timer for 35 minutes, but I should have checked them at about 30. I think they are just a hair over done. I think they are more solid than they should be - they don't really have much jiggle left!

The tops actually seem to have a very slight skin, but underneath that they are very silky.

They have an initial eggy taste but then the lemon taste takes over - they are definite keepers and are super easy to whip up. I think I may give the espresso variation a try. Thanks to Bridget of the Way the Cookie Crumbles for making this selection. She has posted the recipe here or you could buy THE BOOK! Baking from my Home to Yours.