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September 2008

Lemon Meringue Cake

Janene Tindall's Lemon Meringue Cake

I made this recipe for my sister’s birthday party, as it not only is as beautiful as it is tasty, it also doesn’t call for any hydrogenated oils (trans fats, like in Cristco), which she is allergic to.  This seems like an elaborate cake, but it really wasn’t, plus the cake can be made a day in advance and you can use purchased lemon curd for the filling in a pinch.  Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Cake

Cake:

·         4 large eggs

·         2 large egg yolks

·         3/4 cup whole milk

·         1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

·         1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

·         2 cups cake flour

·         1 1/2 cups sugar

·         2 teaspoons baking powder

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1/2 cup vegetable oil

·         1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

MERINGUE:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.       Make cake:  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides.  Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter again.  Whisk eggs, yolks, milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel in medium bowl to blend. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk oil and butter into flour mixture. Add egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes on racks 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap with plastic. Let stand at room temperature.)

2.      Make filling:  In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water and juice until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; gently stir in butter and lemon peel. Cool completely.

3.      Make meringue:  In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form.  Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on an ovenproof serving plate; spread with a third of the filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer.

4.      Finish cake:  Spread meringue over top and sides. Use your fingers to make even, decorative “flips” with the meringue.  Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 12-14 servings.

Tips:

·         To save time, store-bought lemon curd will work in a pinch for the filling.

·         Anytime you’re going to beat stiff egg whites, remember to chill the whites, the beaters, and the bowl – the whites will stiffen in a flash!  Swirl some ice water and the beaters in the bowl, drain, and dry – or pop them in the freezer for a minute or two.

·         To make a lighter textured cake, sift the dry ingredients several times with a fine sifter.


Homemade French Toast

Fantastic Homemade French Toast

For many of you, school has started up again, and if you are like me, you find yourself rushed to get out the door on time (no matter where you’re going!). Breakfast time often suffers, and although I am not at all a fan of eating on the run, I do concede that eating on the go is better than not eating at all! This week we have been enjoying the very quick and tasty meal of French Toast. Save yourself the expense (not to mention preservatives!) of store-bought frozen waffles or toast, and make your own! You’ll find it surprisingly easy. Here’s what it takes:

Eggs
Milk
Cinnamon
French bread or a loaf Texas Toast


French Toast is very forgiving, and measurements do not need to be perfect. In general, 2 large eggs, about ¼ cup of milk, and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon whisked well together will make about a half a loaf of bread’s worth of French Toast. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, and brush on a light layer of vegetable oil. Dredge each slice of bread in the egg mixture (both sides), and place on the skillet. You can cook several at once. Cook for about 2 minutes or until light brown and toasty, then flip. When that side is nice and toasty, remove to a plate. Keep cooking more bread until your egg mixture is all used up.

For freezing, separate the cooked, cooled slices with waxes paper, place in a freezer bag, and put in the freezer. When you need a quick breakfast, simply remove a couple of slices from the freezer and pop in the toaster. We like to spread on a little butter and maple syrup, and place two slices together like a sandwich. Easy to eat on the go!


Thoughtful Friday 8

Pikeplacemarketproduce

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it? You can't taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. ~Astrid Alauda

P.S.  Don't forget that the wonderful Farmer's Market at Country Village only goes through the month of September - get your fresh, local, organic produce while you can!  Plus, there is just something totally different and fantastic about shopping in an open air market...


Thoughtful Friday 7

Carkeekparksunset

"Softly the evening came.  The sun from the western horizon, Like a magician, extended his golden want o'er the landscape;     Trinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest       Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow