Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rhubarb Tart

I made two rhubarb tarts last summer. The first was a recipe that I found on the Spanish version of Elle (and you should go see the gorgeous tart on that post!), while the second, from Cannelle et Vanille, included strawberries, vanilla bean and orange blossom water (though I confess that because I didn’t want to fill my mother’s pantry with leftover ingredients, instead of the gluten-free crust I just made the one from this tart again). As it turns out, I had higher hopes for the second tart, but it disappointed me. If you try it, I recommend cutting the rhubarb into ½” pieces instead of 3”, and increasing the orange blossom water to 2 teaspoons because as it was, I couldn’t even taste it. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it was the same style as the first one, and realistically I’m only going to keep one recipe for rhubarb tart!

So here it is, the recipe from Elle, with my notes and translation. (Google Translate helped, but I had to revise the text because with gems such as “We booked it” to translate “Reservamos” – instead of the correct “Set aside” – it was both incomprehensible and hilarious!) I made this with rhubarb from my grandmother’s garden (set aside before making shortcakes), which was bright green instead of the beautiful pink shade in the original blog post – plus, I didn’t slice the stalks paper-thin like they did because there’s only so much time I’m willing to spend on decorating the top of a tart; YMMV. I did find pinker stalks later at Jean Talon Market, which I used for the second tart as well as scones (post coming soon). This tart was really great, though. I made the crust with Natrel’s lactose-free butter, and it was so, so good!

For the tart crust
200 g. (about 1 2/3 cup) flour
140 g. (about 1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
40 g. ground almonds
1 pinch of salt
160 g. (about 11 Tbsp.) lactose-free butter, at room temperature and cubed
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste)
2 egg yolks

For the rhubarb topping
3 stalks of rhubarb
4 Tbsp. sugar

For the pastry cream filling
3 eggs
75 g. (just a bit over 1/3 cup) sugar
30 g. (about ¼ cup) cornstarch
375 mL (just a bit over 1 ½ cups) lactose-free milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste)

For the syrup
150 g. (¾ cup) sugar
1 cup water
a few drops of lemon juice (optional)

For the tart crust
In a food processor, mix the flour, confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds and salt. Add the butter and vanilla and process until the mixture is uniform, then add the egg yolks and process again until the mixture is uniform and the dough just starts to come together (it will be soft and a bit clumpy at this point; do not overwork). Pat the dough in the shape of a disc, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom (this is easier with a spray, given the nooks and crannies of a tart pan). Let the dough come to room temperature for a few minutes before proceeding.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and transfer it to the prepared pan. Refrigerate another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Prick the dough with the tines of a fork and blind bake it for about 20 minutes (I always do this by using pie weights set on a sheet of aluminum foil).

For the rhubarb topping
Cut the rhubarb into thin slices (see note above) and mix it with the sugar. Let macerate and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

For the pastry cream
In a saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients until the mixture is uniform. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pastry cream has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to let cool, then cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate (this will prevent a skin from forming).

For the syrup
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly.

To assemble and bake
Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Fill the reserved tart crust with pastry cream, top with the rhubarb (arranging it as you see fi; see note above) and bake for 20 minutes.

Once the tart is ready, brush it with syrup to give it a bit more shine and serve.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Maple-Sage Butter

Over the summer, I finally got to try Natrel’s lactose-free butter. I used it to make tart crusts, which were good in a way that I had forgotten tart crusts could be; I also made tomato butter, but I was expecting something like what they have at Pacini’s bread bar and was very disappointed with that recipe. I do like compound butter, though, which is why I was such a big fan of these pork chops with apples and maple-sage butter. That butter had sweetness from the maple, plus a bit of salt to enhance the flavor, and with the sage, it was absolutely delicious. I had too much for the recipe, but I slathered it on everything I could think of in the following week and it was wonderful. Wonderful, I tell you!

4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, softened, plus 1 more Tbsp. lactose-free butter
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
salt and pepper
4 (6- to 8-oz.) boneless pork chops, ¾- to 1-inch thick, trimmed
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Combine softened butter, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, sage, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl; set aside.

Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops until well browned and meat registers 140 °F, about 5 minutes per side (you can get it hotter if you prefer; more info on the doneness of pork here). Transfer to platter and tent with foil.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Add apples, onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, covered, over medium-high heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup and cook, uncovered, until apples start to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

Stir any accumulated pork juices into apple-onion mixture and spoon around chops. Dollop chops with maple-sage butter. Serve.


L’été dernier (2016), j’ai entendu parler de Lacrem, une marque québécoise de crème glacée végétalienne. Ça a commencé par ce tweet, suivi d’une critique très positive sur le site de Coup de Pouce (qui a modifié son site depuis, et ladite critique est introuvable) – le même magazine a d’ailleurs de nouveau parlé de Lacrem dans une rubrique « On a goûté » cet été, encore une fois en termes positifs (« coup de cœur » et « ultracrémeuse » ressortent). [Soit dit en passant, je déteste vraiment le site web de Coup de Pouce! Même avec la fonction recherche, j’ai l’impression que la moitié de ce que j’y entre reste introuvable, et tous les résultats sont mal classés de surcroît. C’est vraiment malheureux, d’autant plus que c’est le magazine francophone canadien avec le plus grand lectorat!] La Presse + en a également parlé ici, dans le cadre d’une critique de six crèmes glacées sans lactose (dans ce cas-ci, les termes « fond vite » et « moins crémeuse que d’autres » ressortent).

Bon, donc, je voulais y goûter, d’autant plus qu’il y a plusieurs saveurs intéressantes, mais il n’y avait encore que très peu de points de vente, alors je n’ai pas pu satisfaire mon envie avant de revenir aux États-Unis. Cet été, par contre, il y avait nettement plus de points de vente, alors j’ai pu en acheter. J’ai goûté aux saveurs de vanille, d’érable ainsi que de citron et graines de pavot (il existe d’autres saveurs en épicerie, telles que thé vert ou thé chaï, en plus des saveurs exclusives aux crèmeries et aux restaurants).

Mes impressions : c’est une crème glacée très dure, qu’il faut laisser dégeler sur le comptoir une dizaine de minutes avant de s’en servir. De plus, parce qu’elle est à base de soya, je la trouve trop peu crémeuse à mon goût (enfin, trop peu crémeuse pour une crème glacée, mais trop crémeuse pour un sorbet, bien sûr). La saveur de vanille est correcte, sans plus. Je l’ai préférée avec une compote de rhubarbe! La saveur d’érable est bonne, mais je la trouvais un peu artificielle. Ma préférée est la citron-pavot, mais même là, j’avoue que je ne suis pas une grande fan de la texture dure et du léger arrière-goût de soya. Tant qu’à manger de la crème glacée végétalienne, je recommande fortement la crème glacée Tofutti : elle est également à base de soya, mais la texture est parfaite et elle est crémeuse à souhait!

Je mentionne quand même que Lacrem est sans gluten, sans noix et sans arachides, un gros plus!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cherry and Coconut Cream Tart

I finally, finally got around to making this tart last summer. I had been waiting because it called for cream to be whipped and folded into the pastry cream filling (so I needed lactose-free cream and couldn’t substitute coconut milk). And you know what? It turns out that the whipped cream ruined the consistency of the tart filling! It made the pastry cream way too runny. So next time I make this, I’m omitting it entirely. In that case, though, I should reduce the amount of sugar in the pastry cream, but I haven’t tested that yet (another option would be omitting the cherry preserves, but I really like their presence there so I wouldn’t leave them out). Keeping that in mind, this is a delicious tart and I’d love to have it again!

For the tart crust
1 cup (140 g.) flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine, cold, cut into 1” pieces
1 Tbsp. cold water
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the coconut pastry cream filling
¾ cup + ¼ cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp. + 3 Tbsp. sugar (see note above)
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (14 g.) cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the rest of the filling
½ cup cherry preserves (I used a bit more because they were hard to spread)
½ lb. cherries

For the crust
Put flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add in butter and pulse until butter is in pea-sized pieces.

Combine water and vanilla extract and drizzle over the mixture. Pulse to combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs – it should not be fully combined into a ball.

Turn out mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk about 1 inch thick. If you have trouble making it stick together add a few more drops of water. Wrap dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10 inch round (to fit a 9” round tart pan), or to fit a 4” x 13” rectangular tart pan. Ease dough into the pan and press into the sides to form.

Chill pan with dough in refrigerator while preheating the oven to 375 °F.

Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake tart crust for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the coconut pastry cream
Combine ¾ cup of the coconut milk with 2 Tbsp. of sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and bubbles appear on the edge of the pan.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 Tbsp. sugar in a bowl.

Whisk the cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup coconut milk in a small bowl and then add to the egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine.

Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Stir in the vanilla.

Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface, and refrigerate until needed.

For finishing the tart
Spread the cherry preserves evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.

Spoon the pastry cream on top of the preserves and spread evenly. Fill the tart shell to just below the top; you may have some pastry cream left over.

Wash and pit the cherries, and slice in half. Arrange cherry halves on top of the pastry cream. Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

This recipe was created by Molly Wizenberg when she was writing for Bon Appétit. I made it with lactose-free cream because I could, but this is a recipe where coconut milk would work, too. This makes 6 to 8 servings, and it was really good.

1 ½ cups water
¾ cup basmati rice
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups lactose-free whole milk
1 cup lactose-free cream
½ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Bring water, rice, and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add milk, cream, and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and mixture thickens slightly to a soft, creamy texture, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Remove pudding from heat and discard vanilla bean. Divide pudding evenly among small bowls. Serve warm or press plastic wrap directly onto surface of each pudding and chill thoroughly. (I like serving it warm, and nothing prevents you from having one big bowl in the fridge and scooping out individual portions as needed.)

Poulet avec sauce à la bette à carde et au fromage de chèvre

Je pensais vous présenter une recette de poulet au marsala, mais en fin de compte, j’ai préféré un plat que ma mère a fait avec une recette de ma sœur : du poulet avec sauce à la bette à carde et au fromage de chèvre. Les quantités ci-dessous sont les miennes (la recette d’origine fait 2 portions; ma mère avait en gros triplé la volaille et doublé la sauce, mais il y avait trop de sauce à notre goût, alors voilà). J’ai vraiment adoré ce plat!

2 c. à soupe de beurre
4 poitrines de poulet
sel et poivre, au goût
2 oignons verts, émincés
2 gousses d'ail, hachées
2 filets d'anchois, hachés (ou de la pâte d’anchois)
2 c. à soupe de farine tout usage
1 tasse de bouillon de poulet
100 g. de fromage de chèvre sans lactose
½ tasse de crème sans lactose
5 tasses de bette à carde, hachée finement
8 feuilles de basilic frais, hachées

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F et placer la grille au centre.

Dans une poêle, à feu vif, faire chauffer le beurre, puis saisir les poitrines de poulet pendant 2 minutes de chaque côté afin de les colorer. Assaisonner.

Retirer les poitrines de la poêle, puis les placer dans un plat allant au four. Réduire le feu de la poêle à moyen.

Saisir les oignons verts, l’ail et les anchois pendant 3 à 4 minutes. Ajouter la farine et remuer.

Verser le bouillon de poulet, le fromage de chèvre et la crème. Bien remuer afin d’obtenir une belle sauce crémeuse.

Ajouter la bette à carde et cuire pendant 2 à 3 minutes. Assaisonner et verser la sauce sur les poitrines de poulet.

Cuire au four pendant 30 minutes.

Ajouter le basilic à la fin de la cuisson, rectifier l’assaisonnement au besoin et servir.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Summer highlights 2017

We’re now adapting to our new routine, with the Engineer being back to work and the Little Prince being back to (part-time) daycare and the Fox and I trying to figure out a good napping schedule (for him, not for me). We got really lucky because Hurricane Harvey avoided us entirely (going so far as to circle the beltway, even), so everything is fine for us here. People overreacted and bought all the water at the grocery store (doesn’t affect us) and all the gas at the station (we do need to fill up before next week), but we only had a few days of rain, so we really can’t complain. If you want to make a donation to help the people who *were* affected, you can do so here or here, for example.

This post is about our summer travels to Quebec. We had some personal highlights this year, including the wedding of the Actor and the Leading Lady (for whose reception I baked 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies – their dessert table was a potluck buffet of dishes made by guests, and it was AWESOME). We also had days of perfect alfresco lunches and dinners with loved ones we don’t get to see nearly often enough.

We made the time to try various restaurants that were on my list. First, there was Épicerie Hào, which makes some amazing pork buns. The Engineer actually said that every other establishment can just stop trying, because they’re never going to top these! An order of 2 buns will run you $9.50 plus tax; be aware that the place is very small and, while there is a counter with a few seats (where you will get glasses of water and chopsticks), you might be better off treating it as a grab-and-go place. There are also vegetarian buns and sometimes a salad and dessert, but that’s it. We loved it!

We then tried Café dei Campi, where I wanted to go because I’d heard that they make vegan cannolis. Well, it turns out they only make them twice a year (and not at fixed dates; the waiter couldn’t even tell me whether they’d have them again before Christmas). However, EVERYTHING there is vegan, so it was still a place that made me super happy! We ate two strawberry tartlets with oat cream along with some donut holes, and they were delicious. The fauxtella-stuffed donuts looked fantastic, but the woman ahead of me in line took the last one and once something’s gone, it’s gone. The place is small, but there’s a comfortable bench out front and a park where you can eat your treats to go. (They also serve what I’m told is great coffee, along with lunch dishes like pizza and quiche.) I’d love to go back for more pastries! (I now realize that some of them might also be sold at Gusta Foods at the Jean Talon Market, if you’re in the area.)

We also went to Hoche Glacé, which sells vegan soft-serve ice cream. And it was fantastic. Admittedly, I was hoping for one of their seasonal flavors like beet-raspberry, but it was carrot cake, so I opted for a plain vanilla soft-serve dipped in dark chocolate, and I loved it. I tasted the soy a bit, but didn’t mind it all that much. It turns out that they also sell vegan blizzards and various other treats, so I’ll try one of those next time! There’s plenty there too for non-vegans. Plus, they made the yard into a very inviting terrasse, so it’s nice to linger a bit. I hope to go back, even though it’s out of the way for us.

We went to a location of Copper Branch, a vegan fast food place whose menu looked really good. Sadly, the food (and smoothie) did not live up to our expectations at all, plus the kitchen made a mistake with my order and was then rude about fixing it. So we hightailed it to Juliette & Chocolat for dessert. I had the vegan brownie, which is excellent, albeit a little too sweet; the Engineer had the brownie kebab for variety. There’s also an iced pop that’s vegan, so that’s two dessert menu items I could have, but when I went a second time that month I ended up ordering the dark chocolate raspberry dome (along with a LactoJoy), and it was *so* good. My dream gig right now would be consultant, to expand their lactose-free options on the menu!

We had a great lunch at La Belle et la Boeuf, which turned out to be super kid-friendly. They make awesome burgers – we’d love to go back and explore the menu! For what it’s worth, their poké bowls also look delicious, but we weren’t there for a poké bowl. I had the Beauty, which contains brie, monterey jack, homemade fig jelly, arugula and caramelized onions. Divine! The fries were perfect, too. And if you’re a fan, they’ve got pink Kool-Aid pickles!

And then there was poutine. The Engineer and I always say that it’s an “annual” treat for us, but the truth is that it had been years since our last proper poutine, and I was really, really craving it. I started by having one of the worse ones of my life at a restaurant I shall not name (I had forgotten that even in Quebec, poutine isn’t automatically good); it was so bad that I don’t even count it. I then had an excellent one at La Banquise; since I wanted the real thing, I didn’t try their vegan version and just used some LactoJoy. The only odd thing was that the cheese curds were the same size and shape as the fries, which was unexpected. But then, THEN, I had a poutine good enough to make the angels sing, at the Big Orange. It was textbook perfect, with home-style fries, curds just hot enough to be slightly melted while retaining some squeakiness, and the perfect fry/cheese/sauce ratio. The memory of that poutine will have to keep me warm until next year! Again, a single LactoJoy took care of the poutine AND the Orange Julep. That was by far one of the best meals of the summer! Sadly, the Little Prince categorically refused to even taste poutine. We didn’t want to force him, but at the same time, I’m sure there will come a day when he’s a teenager and will regret not taking advantage of this opportunity! We’ll just remind him that that’s why we think he should taste new foods before deciding whether or not he likes them. He did, however, agree to try a beaver tail (his first!), and he really enjoyed it.

Finally, I want to talk about the Aquarium du Québec. It’s been there for over 50 years, but somehow we had never been. The location is fantastic, right on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. There are three distinct pavilions, plus beautifully manicured gardens in between. The Aquarium houses marine mammals like seals, walruses and polar bears; a whole bunch of saltwater and freshwater fish; rays that you can touch; plus the perfunctory jellyfish, starfish and seahorses. And sea dragons! I have to admit that every time I see a seahorse or sea dragon, I’m reminded of how much I like them, even if I seem to forget in-between sightings. There are also picnic areas, cafeterias, a playground, a tree-to-tree pathway built for kids (let me know if you can think of a good translation for “hébertisme”), a splash pad, and free parking. One of the buildings also has a lactation room, and it was my first time using one – I really appreciated the comfort and privacy, but would point out that it was essentially a hot house on that day in late July! The Aquarium also gives out free strollers and wheelchairs, which is great, though one of the pavilions is not stroller-accessible so we had to split up and take turns visiting it, and there’s one section that I didn’t get to see because the stroller-friendly path didn’t take me there (the Engineer and Little Prince saw it, unbeknownst to me, while I was breastfeeding). We really enjoyed our visit! Lastly, to seal the deal: the admission price is *excellent* if I compare it to what they charge either at the San Antonio Aquarium (which basically charges the same but has much, much less to offer) or the New England Aquarium (about twice the price, but not twice the sights).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Chocolate Chip Pancakes Cooked in Bacon Fat

Remember when I had leftover bacon fat? Well, I found the perfect thing to make with it: chocolate chip pancakes. You’re welcome. (The original recipe, from Bon Appétit, is titled “Chocolate Chip Pancakes Cooked in Bacon Fat: Okay!”, and in my mind, the “Okay!” is pronounced like this one.) This was obviously really good! The original recipe calls for the fat rendered from an entire package of bacon (which is what I had on hand, but I didn’t use all of it). If you don’t have any prior to making this, you can cook the bacon right before making the pancakes and serve it as a side. I made a smiley face with chocolate chips in the first pancake, for the Little Prince, but by the time it landed in his plate it looked more like Jack Skellington (whom he likes, so I guess it’s okay). Enjoy!

2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
2 ¼ cups buttermilk substitute (lactose-free milk with 2 Tbsp. vinegar)
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil (or, hey, use bacon fat!)
2 eggs
¾ cup chocolate chips (I didn’t measure mine, just added them during cooking)
bacon fat (see note above)

Mix together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a big bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the buttermilk, the oil and the eggs.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the liquid mixture in there and stir it together with a wooden spoon (or a whisk, according to the original instructions, which also state that you don’t have to worry about overmixing with whole wheat flour).

Melt some bacon fat in a skillet on medium heat so that you only have a sheen on the bottom of it. Put ¼ cup of pancake mixture in the skillet for each pancake (I usually make 3 per batch at that size). Flip the pancakes when the top looks set and the edges are golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Burmese Semolina Cake

I bookmarked this recipe on a whim. It calls for half-and-half, so I used half lactose-free cream and half lactose-free milk, but you could use coconut milk instead of the cream and get an equivalent result. It was a bit of an odd dish in that it’s not like most desserts I know. The cake itself is almost bland and certainly not very sweet, so I recommend serving it with fruit or maybe lactose-free ice cream or some kind of sauce. That being said, it was very good and it was a great canvas for seasonal strawberries.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted, cooled slightly, divided
1¼ cups semolina flour (this is made from durum wheat; I haven’t tried it with corn)
1 large egg
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1 ½ cups lactose-free half-and-half (see note above)
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Grease an 8x8” baking dish.

Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; let cool slightly. Serve with fruit or your preferred accompaniment.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lemon Bundt Cake

Once upon a time, the Engineer asked me to make a lemon bundt cake, for no reason other than he had a craving for one. I didn’t have a recipe handy, so I googled it and settled on this recipe from the White on Rice Couple. But then I realized that I needed lactose-free cream so it (something whippable, so I couldn’t just substitute coconut milk), and so it ended up on the back burner until I was in Canada. (You can always make this to compensate, but it’s not pure lemon.)

In the meantime, I made a small chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache that was an abject failure. I mean, I had thought it was weird that in the original post, the cake was covered with a bough of lilacs, as opposed to just a few flowers, but now I think I know why: the cake disintegrated upon unmolding. If you ever want to attempt it (the recipe is from Sweet Laurel Bakery), I can unequivocally say that you need to line the pans with paper in addition to greasing them and dusting them with cocoa. I’m not sure I liked it enough to attempt it again, though, especially since the frosting needed to be refrigerated for consistency.

Then, once I was in Montreal, I finally got around to making this coconut cake from a recipe I tore out of Martha Stewart Living in… 2004. Turns out the cake itself was fine, but the coconut cream was a disaster. It was supposed to be a frosting, but I had to serve it as a sauce on the side – so much for waiting to have lactose-free cream! That was a disappointment almost 13 years in the making.

So anyway, then I got back to the lemon bundt cake, and thank God I did. This cake was moist and delicious and very lemony, and it was really all you could want from a lemon bundt cake. And we lived happily ever after. Enjoy!

For the cake
2 ¾ cups (345 g.) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
zest from 4 large lemons
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
½ cup lactose-free cream

For the lemon glaze
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar

For the vanilla icing
1 cup (120 g.) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. lactose-free cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (I used an angel food cake pan).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 20 seconds. Set aside.

In a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (if the bowl does not feel cool while creaming, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then continue creaming).

Beat in the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated.

Mix in the flour mixture in three stages, until just combined. Set aside

Whip the cream just past the soft peak stage. Stir in about ¼ of the whipped cream into the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drop the pan from about 4" above the counter to knock out any bubbles.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake by knocking it against the counter (I also ran a knife along the edges). Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

Stir together the lemon glaze ingredients (if needed, heat them briefly to help dissolve the sugar). Brush on the hot cake until all of the glaze is absorbed. After it has cooled, if serving within a day or two continue to final step, or if serving later in the week, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (keeps 4-5 days wrapped in the fridge).

On the day you are ready to serve (or the night before), take the bundt out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. In a bowl, whisk together the icing ingredients, adjusting the cream or confectioners’ sugar amount to make the icing fairly thick but pourable (not runny). If the icing is close to the thickness you want, but still a touch too thick to pour, warm it slightly and it will become more fluid until it cools off (perfect for icing the bundt cake). Drizzle the icing over the top of the bundt cake and serve.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcakes with Cardamom Whipped Cream

I could no longer find rhubarb in grocery stores after making the clafoutis, so I thought I’d have to hold off on making more recipes with rhubarb until next season. But then I was lucky enough to get rhubarb straight from my grandmother’s garden! Since there were still a lot of delicious, seasonal, local strawberries at the store, I decided to make roasted strawberry-rhubarb shortcakes – and, bonus, I’ve got lactose-free cream here to go with it! These were delicious as a not-too-sweet dessert, and I imagine they’d be good as an indulgent breakfast, too. This recipe makes 6 shortcakes, though we had leftover cream and filling (great with yogurt or ice cream).

For the shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups plus 1 Tbsp. lactose-free cream, divided (I think coconut milk would work here too)
1 Tbsp. demerara sugar

For the fruit filling
4 cups chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces, from 4 or 5 stalks)
4 cups quartered strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
juice of 1 medium lemon

For the whipped cream
1 ½ cups lactose-free cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cardamom

For the shortcakes
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in 1 ½ cups of the cream and stir until the dough is shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just until it all comes together. Shape dough into a 4x12-inch rectangle.

Cut the dough into 6 (4-inch-square) pieces. Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling
While the biscuits cool, reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F.

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, and juice together in a large bowl. Spread over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft, stirring halfway through, about 20 minutes total. Cool on the baking sheet.

For the whipped cream
Whip the cream on high speed in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cardamom, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the shortcakes
Slice the shortcakes in half. Place the bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon the strawberry-rhubarb filling over the bottom halves, top with a big dollop of whipped cream, and top with the other shortcake half.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Small knitting projects

I kept going in my efforts to knit through the stash, prioritizing baby projects because, well, people keep getting pregnant. I mean, if everyone could just stop having babies for a second, I could finally knit something for myself, you know? Ha! I suppose I’ll get there eventually.

I started by digging into some gorgeous yellow yarn, Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino in Cadmium – it also comes in worsted weight and probably others, but what I had on hand was lace, so I knit double-stranded. First, I made a puerperium cardigan for a tiny little boy who turned out to have the really cool name Asher Hendrix. I used blue buttons that were in my collection, originally from Etsy.

In my previous post in this series, I mentioned the ongoing grey yarn saga. See, I had a skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace Yarn in Medium Grey (03) left over from a previous project, and I really wanted to use it up. I thought I had enough to make a small garter yoke baby cardigan for the Fox, but it turns out I didn’t. So I set about buying a second skein, only to realize that it’s been discontinued! I finally located one in the U.K. Of course, once I got it, it was from a different dye lot, so I figured I’d use the recommended trick of knitting alternating rows from each skein, so that the greys blend into one another. So I started over, only to realize that there was still a visible striping effect! I frogged everything and balled up the colors individually. I ended up making another puerperium cardigan with most of the first skein, this one for the Fox, and the second (British) skein is still sitting in my stash.

As for the garter yoke cardigan, I made it in more of that luscious cadmium yarn, with star buttons I hadn’t used in a while.

I decided to make the Fox an Offset Wraplan with more of that yarn – I can’t get enough of that color, and it’s super soft, too. Plus, it’s a great pattern! I used wooden buttons.

I then used up some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Duck Egg (leftover from the Temari sweater) to make another Jeudi sweater, again for the Fox.

Friends of mine announced they were adopting their second daughter, so I made them a short-sleeved Kina cardigan with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Coral. I had 4 skeins, so I made the 4T version – it’s definitely too big for her right now, but at least she’ll grow into it (and can currently wear the cardigan I had made for her older sister). I used a button from my stash and threw in a knit flower to make it more interesting. I really like the pleats at the neckline! It turns out I actually had a blank card with a design that looked like the flower, so of course I had to use it for the care instructions!

Finally, for the Little Prince, I made the Lancelot sweater I’d been eyeing for so long. I bought some Classic Elite Adelaide Yarn in Charcoal because, based on its description, it seemed perfect to show off the pattern on the front. In person, it’s a bit fuzzy and I feel like it looks better in the pictures than in real life. I had set aside two large black buttons to finish it up, but they ended up being too big, so I riffled through my mother’s button collection and chose two yellow ones. I needed a little less than 4 skeins of yarn (I thought I’d need 6), but then again the sweater came out a bit smaller than I expected – I had hoped it would fit him for a trip a year from now, but I’ll be lucky if he can still wear it this winter! At least I’ve got another child on whom I can pawn it off.