Hi guys! I know its been few and far between for updates, I’m having a really busy start to my 2012. Besides my slow internet connection at the house and barely getting out and about to update, I’ve been baking up a storm.
I got an inquiry about a wedding cake in June (YAY!) and about a week was spent pricing that out. It would’ve only taken about an hour had the forms I drew up before didn’t “lose” themselves…So I had to start all over. Then 2 days later, THEY were gone too! Sigh! I tried out 2 buttercream recipes, the first was super fluffy so if you’re looking for a topper, its a good one. For a two layer cake though, not so much, icing went everywhere when I sliced into it!
The first few days in January involved CHOCOLATE! My mom brought home these delicious brownie bites from a work Christmas party and I had to cover them up so I wouldn’t eat any more! I decided to make my own anyway. I cheated on this one, I bought a box of brownies, used my tiny scoop and put them in a mini muffin pan (be careful so they don’t overbake!) and when they cooled, I used that aerosol can of chocolate frosting from Pillsbury and added a cute dollop to the top. Delicious!
On to these egg yolks…While pricing out the wedding cake, I had a LOT of cake going around the house. (I still have a bunch…) Of course, it was a white cake so I had a ton of egg yolks left over. I searched for what to do with them and I found quite a few recipes I wanted to try. 75% involving lemon. I’m quite a lemon addict if you don’t know it. I order water with lemon at restaurants, if you have a lemon wedge, I will offer to take it off your hands for you… =p and lemon bars, GAH! Don’t get me started! My first finds were yummy lemon pound cake and a lemon poppy seed loaf cake with a glaze. I made the pound cake but I added some poppy seeds, I was going to use the glaze on it too but I didn’t get that far. Then I was onto lemon bars. Like I said, one of my favorites! They turned out amazing! I rarely have luck with making my own lemon curd but this turned out fantastic! Then I was on to some savory recipes. I found a few but only made one, Grits and Cheese Souffle. My parents hate grits but Archie LOVES them. The recipe is in the newest Food Network magazine so I advise you to check it out. Its only a bit complicated, as you have to blend everything together so its smooth, then you fold it into a meringue type mixture (first time making souffle, forgive my terms! haha) and ladle into ramekins. They turned out so good!
Here are some pictures and the lemon bar recipe.
* 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
* 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour (dip and sweep method)
Lemon Curd Topping
* 4 large egg yolks
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 3 fl oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 1/2 large lemons)
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
* Pinch of salt
* 2 tsp lemon zest (finely grated) I use my Microplane, which is great for when you need finely grated zest.
* 2 TB powdered sugar for dusting
8″ square, 2″ deep metal baking pan, bottom and 2 sides lined with an 8-inch by 16-inch strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
((I used my 11×7″ brownie pan))
Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes, wrap it, and refrigerate.
In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugars for 1 minute or so, until the sugar is very fine. Add the butter and pulse in until the sugar disappears. Add the flour and pulse in until there are a lot of little moist crumbly pieces and no dry flour particles remain.
Dump the mixture into a plastic bag and press it together. Remove the dough from the plastic bag and knead it lightly, until it holds together.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Pat the dough into the prepared pan. Use a fork to prick the dough all over.
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the top is pale golden (do not brown).
While the shortbread is baking, prepare the Lemon Curd Topping.
LEMON CURD RECIPE
Have a strainer, suspended over a bowl, ready near the range.
In a heavy saucepan, beat the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in lemon juice, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes, until thickened. It will thickly coat a wooden spoon but is still liquid enough to pour. (A candy thermometer will read 196°F.) The mixture will change from translucent to opaque and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of a wooden spoon. It must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle. (It will steam above 140°F. Whenever steaming occurs, remove the pan briefly from the heat, stirring constantly to prevent boiling.)
When the lemon curd recipe has thickened, pour it at once into the strainer. Press it with the back of a spoon until only the coarse residue remains. Discard the residue. Stir in the lemon zest.
When the shortbread is baked, remove it from the oven, lower the temperature to 300°F., pour the lemon curd on top of the shortbread, and return the lemon bars to the oven for 10 minutes.
Cool the lemon bars completely in the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the lemon curd completely before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar.
Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the pastry on the 2 unlined sides. Use the foil to lift out. Use a long, sharp knife to cut the lemon squares. Wipe the blade after each cut.
The powdered sugar will start to be absorbed into the lemon bars topping after several hours, but it can be reapplied before serving.