Posts Tagged 'lemon'

Pipe Dream #141: To Stop Swooning, Craving, Caving – Lemon Bars

Two Ina recipes in one week? Am I overwhelming you? Wait, why am I even worried about this? TWO INA RECIPES IN ONE WEEK.

Her recipes are the bomb. I’ve never had cable, so I didn’t know a thing about Ina Garten until I was in high school. I think that was when my mum bought me Barefoot in Paris. She has such an easy style about her, and her recipes are so classic and clean. I was inspired. I think her brioche was the first thing I ever baked on my own, actually.

I also love lemon bars something deep. This is Midwestern grad party food right up there with puppy chow and minted brownies. When I saw hers, I swooned, I craved, and then I caved and made them. A whole 9 x 13 pan. And then I ate half of the pan. And then cut the rest of the pan into weensy bits so I would have enough to take to both of my jobs. Lauren fail. But really.

These kept well, too. Make sure to cut them and sprinkle with powdered sugar only after they are totally cooled! I cut and sprinkled a little too early (another classic Lauren fail), and the sugar melted into the top instead of staying snowy. Also, the filling part of this recipe makes a lot of filling for the amount of shortbread. It’s great, but if you’re not the type for filling, I guess we can still be friends I guess you could halve it. Or 2/3s it.

Be well, friends!

Swooning, craving and caving daily,


Lemon Bars

From the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

7 large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Rando Tuesdays: Leftovers – Tarte Au Citron

There aren’t many moments in my life in which I think to myself, “I have arrived. I have actually arrived,” but let me tell you. Eating a lemon meringue tart in my very own hotel room overlooking the streets of Paris after a day full of shopping was one of those moments. I don’t even feel foolish telling you that.

Ok, I feel a little foolish telling you that, but come on! It was awesome! And just to clarify, I have definitely not arrived. Mostly in every sense of that phrase.

I had tart dough left over from yesterday, and I was so pleased with the way the rhubarb tart turned out that I couldn’t even wait to continue trying out recipes. This tart was just a mini experiment, so don’t mind the pastry edges. Also, the meringue was not as perfect as yesterday’s. I think my bowl was not clean (Lauren 3 Meringues 3). The filling itself was divine, and you get to use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue. Everyone loves a kitchen torch. Surrously.



Tarte Au Citron

Patched together from The Great British Bake Off

For the crust:

See yesterday’s recipe.

For the lemon tart filling:

5 free-range eggs
125ml/4fl oz double cream
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 lemons, juice and zest
icing sugar, for dusting

For the meringue:

See yesterday’s recipe.

Roll out the pastry dough until it is bigger than your tart pan. Carefully lift the tin base off the work surface, drop it into the tin, then ease the pastry into the corners and up the sides of the tin, pressing the overhang lightly over the rim. If the pastry has cracked at all, simply press it together to seal. Press the pastry into the flutes of the tin then lightly prick the base with a fork, but not quite all the way through. Place the pastry-lined tin on a baking tray, cover loosely with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Remove the cling film from the pastry case and line with foil so it supports the sides, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 12-15 minutes, until the pastry is set, then lift out the foil and beans. Carefully trim the excess pastry from the sides using a sharp knife, holding the knife at a sharp angle and slicing away from you. Remove the trimmings from the sheet. Return the empty pastry case to the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until it is pale golden and completely dry. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

For the filling, break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk again until they are all well combined. Pour the filling mixture into a jug, then into the cooled baked pastry case. To prevent it spilling as it goes in the oven, pour in most of the filling so it almost fills the tart, carefully sit the baking sheet and tart on the oven shelf, then top up with the rest of the filling to completely fill it. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until just set but with a slight wobble in the centre.

Once cool, remove the tart from the pastry case and pipe meringue over the top in shells. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue slightly. Serve.

Pipe Dream #45: To Wipe Out Wonderbread – Braided Lemon Bread

I don’t eat bread very often. I usually have enough carbs in my diet (ahem), and plus, have you ever tried making a sandwich? If I go to Jimmy John’s, I’m not paying six dollars for a ham, tomato, lettuce, mayo and bread I could eat at home. I’m paying for someone to take all of those ingredients out of the fridge in single servings and arrange them. Making a good sandwich, like making a good salad, requires a lot of patience and creativity.

Wonderbread is basically horrible nutritionally and flavorfully. Give me something whole grain, with wheatberries in it or something.  I like to chew my bread, not have it dissolve in my mouth like so much angel food cake.

That being said, this lemon bread is not a superfoodwholegrainsubstantial bread. It is made with all purpose flour, and it is filled with lemon curd and cream cheese. Hello. I know I probably sound hypocritical right now. But this bread is part rustic substantial bread and part unhealthy goodness. So it is bad for you, but it won’t melt in your mouth. Man, I’m making this bread sound worse and worse. I should put this on my resume somewhere. Proficient public relations writer: cannot describe anything in an appealing way.

I’ll get lots of call-backs, I’m sure…

Point of the story, this bread is fabulous and decadent and almost wholesome. My family ate the whole thing when it was fresh from the oven. We couldn’t wait.

I apologize for the picture quality/lack of explanatory shots in this post. For a great tutorial on how to braid the loaf (man, I want that on a business card), click on the link in the recipe. SmittenKitchen does such a nice job of it. And also, this recipe includes lemon curd. You can find my recipe here or another recipe on the Ahnternit or buy some from your local grocer.

Braided Lemon Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour

Sponge (above)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
Pearl sugar* or sparkling white sugar for sprinkling

Lemon cream cheese filling
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (5/8 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) homemade (recipe below) or prepared lemon curd

Make sponge: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make dough in a stand mixer: Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes. ??Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.


Make dough by hand: Whisk together sour cream, butter, egg, sugar and vanilla in a large, wide bowl. Stir in sponge. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon as best as you can; you may need to get your hands in there to form it into a shaggy ball. Turn ball of dough and any incorporated scraps onto a counter and knead until a smooth, soft dough forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.


Make the filling (while dough rises): Combine all the filling ingredients (except the lemon curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.

Prepare bread: Gently deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper, please; I did not and it led to all sorts of trouble. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling. Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.

To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper; if you have a bench scraper, this is a great time to use it. Remove the four corner segments. To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips until you are out. You can tuck the last couple that hand off decoratively under the end of the braid.

Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy.

Bake bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with pearl or coarse sparkling sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Pipe Dream #38: To Inflate Cake – White Cupcakes

I made cupcakes for a family gathering. I believe it was the first time I had specifically been asked to make something for “the family.” I was pretty much honored. I made chocolate cupcakes with a one bowl recipe that I’ve linked six dozen times with a leftover praline pecan filling (recipe soon to come), and a new white cake recipe with lemon filling.

This particular white cake recipe requires that you whip the egg whites separately from the rest of the batter and then “fold them in.” I’ll talk about “fewlding in” some other time. I don’t exactly believe in it. Anyway, you can’t stir them in a ton or else they’ll deflate and yer cake’ll be flat. So they say. You can see the recipe below for more detail.

I started out on the chocolate with just one layer of petals. They begged for more frosting. I obliged them.

Packaging and moving was something of a hassle because I didn’t have my cupcake carrier, but thankfully they arrived in one piece. I need to think of a way around my cheapskatedness and order real cardboard cupcake holders for mass transportation.

See the weirdness of the frosting on the lemon ones? That is because I somehow interpreted the ‘ounces’ as ‘tablespoons’ in my other favorite frosting recipe. For your reference, there are 3 tablespoons to one ounce. FYI. JIST in case ewe wanted to know it. Because I didn’t.

My auntie even had this little stand to put ’em on. Oh for cute.

Even though the frosting was more corrupted than the CIA in the third season of Alias (abc’s amazing spy thriller that I was addicted to long before my family got Netflix), at least  someone ate them. P.S. Isn’t she just the most beautiful thing alive? Pretty sissy, playse come visit me soon.

And they were well received.

Be happy,


White Cake

Adapted from JoyofBaking

2 large eggs separated

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup room temperature butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract (if you want)

1/2 cup milk

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Separate the eggs, placing the whites into one container and the yolks into another. Let come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 8in pans, or in my case, cupcake tins.  Normally I use PAM, but this recipe really calls for the butter and flour method, which is actually pretty effective.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add 3/4 cup of sugar (reserving the rest) and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Now add egg yolks, one at a time, until completely incorporated.  Add vanilla and almond extract until combined, about 30 seconds.

Now add the flour mixture and milk.  Starting with the flour, add 1/3 of the mixture and mix until incorporated.  Now add 1/2 milk mixture, mix until combined.  Add half the remaining flour, combine.  Now add the rest of your milk and combine.  Add remaining 1/3 of your flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  This whole process should take less then 2 minutes.

In a separate clean bowl with clean whisk attachment, whip eggs whites until foamy then add the cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks occur, and then gradually add in your remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Take a rubber spatula and fold the eggs whites into the cake batter.  Make sure they are fully incorporated, but do not over stir the batter, as you do not want the eggs to deflate.

Put batter into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Pipe Dream #7: To Take The Violence Out Of Zesting

I zest lemons a lot. They are useful, and I put lemon zest and juice in things you wouldn’t necessarily suspect, like pancakes. Also, I love pancakes.

Are you ready for a really awesome story?

Ok good.

This is what happened to my fingers the other day when I was zesting a lemon. I put a watermark on the photo in case you were thinking of stealing it. Who wouldn’t want to claim this jamming art and frame it on their wall?

And this is after about three weeks of healing. The microplaner gouged me real deep. And there was blood. And my knuckle was weirdly distorted.

Aren’t you glad you heard that story?

Ok, you can go and read someone else’s cool blog now.



I Got It Right: Perfect Lemon Scones

I have made these scones four times, I think. For me, that is a lot. Partly because I have only lived 21 years, and partly because I try not to repeat recipes unless they are really good. I think that maybe I inherited this from my parents. Their DVD collection is pretty small relative to some people’s because they only invest in a DVD unless it was so good that they will watch it a hundred times. Anyway.

I would make these scones a hundred times. They are nice and rich, but not too dense, and they have a great lemon flavor. Perfect scone. Basically, there is no new baking recipe under the sun, but I was trying to be unique and different so I added a bit of ground ginger to the glaze and chopped up some candied ginger for a garnish.

Just a thought: I’m not above saying that when I make these  in the morning, it makes it easier for everyone I know to forgive their grievances against me, making my life much more pleasant. It could work for you too. You should try it.



Lemon Ginger Scones

Adapted from Disney Family Fun…yep

These keep really well; often I will make them at 11:00 at night for a surprise for my family or roommates or whoever, but they can be made a couple of days in advance for sure.

For the scones:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, plus a little for brushing
1 egg yolk, beaten slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 400°. Grease a large, heavy baking sheet (preferably not a dark one), and set it aside. I’ve overbaked the bottoms in the past. Parchment paper might be good here.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and toss the mixture with your hands.Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the cream, the yolk, and the vanilla extract and use a fork to blend the liquids within the well. Then use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, just until the dough holds together.
Scrape the dough onto a flour-dusted surface and then, using floured hands, knead it gently three or four times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4-inch thick, then cut it as you would a pie into 8 wedges. Transfer the pieces to the baking sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch between them. Brush the tops lightly with cream.
Bake the scones in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 16 to 18 minutes. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.
For the lemon glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons heavy  cream
1 tablespoon ground ginger, or to taste
While the scones continue to cool, make the glaze. Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk them until the mixture is smooth. If necessary, you can thin the glaze with water (or *ahem* cream), stirring in no more than a 1/2 teaspoon at a time. When the scones have cooled for another 10 minutes, drizzle each one generously with glaze. Makes 8 scones.

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