Meyer lemons: sunlight in food form

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More citrus! ALL THE CITRUS! Why stop now? It makes my kitchen smell like sunshine, and besides — meyer lemons are in season (at least on the trees I have access to, ha) and they essentially embody sunshine in one little package.

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Which means they were featured for the last round of dessert shenanigans! In two forms, both in a soufflé-cake-pudding hybrid and some lemon curd because you really can never have too much lemon.

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I love December things! Lights, pretty houses, giant trees, and dessert. And tree elves doing yoga, obviously.

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More drawing, of course.

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But, back to the dessert (since I know that’s why you’re all here anyway!) — Light, refreshing and full of lemon flavor — this hybrid soufflé-curd-pie-cake-pudding is damn delicious. Perfect for the wintertime when the pop of citrus brightens up grey days and makes your kitchen smell like sunshine! Also perfect when you want dessert and need a break from the usual heavy desserts of the season.

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Happy holidays! Hopefully you’re enjoying the season with loved ones and eating everything delicious.

Meyer Lemon Soufflé Curd Cake with Lemon Curd, Maple Blackberries and Mint

Paleo, gluten & grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish, serves 2 (just kidding. Only kind of…) — it actually realistically could serve up to 6! But only if you feel like sharing.

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For the lemon curd (best to make ahead and refrigerate), lightly adapted from What the Fork:

  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • heaping 1 tsp of vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together eggs, lemon zest and juice, honey, salt, and coconut oil. Continue to cook the curd over medium-low, whisking constantly, until it thickens. It should be about the same consistency as pudding after 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat once thickened, whisk in vanilla extract, and strain (I use a mesh strainer and a flat spatula for this) to remove any errant zest chunks. Once cool, store in airtight jars in the fridge. Keeps for a week or two, but I doubt it will last that long!

For the soufflé cake, adapted from 24 Carrot Kitchen, here:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • scant 1/2 c full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • mint leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9″ pie dish.

In a non-reactive bowl (I like to use the bowl of my stand mixer), use a hand mixer or the raw power of your biceps to beat the eggs whites until they’re glossy and hold soft peaks. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, coconut milk, maple, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whisk in coconut flour and salt. Gently fold in the egg whites until fully incorporated. Pour the batter (it will be relatively thin) into your prepared pie dish and bake for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be set and the top should be lightly browned — if it’s browning too fast, cover the top with a bit of foil. This cake is designed to have a pudding-y layer at the bottom, so be careful not to overbake. Let cool before serving.

While the cake is baking, toss a bag of thawed (or fresh, if you’re lucky) blackberries with a drizzle of maple or honey, and let marinate in their juices until ready to serve.

Serve this deliciousness in a bowl, since the cake won’t slice all that neatly anyway and it makes a gloriously delicious mess when served with extra lemon curd, blackberries, mint leaves and a little vanilla ice cream.

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Tolkienesque Cake for Dessert and Elevenses!

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Welcome to the Shire!

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Happy circumstances dictated that a Tolkeinesque dessert was in the offing (sometimes, you just need themed desserts)… as such, this one was directly inspired by the Hobbit: besides Beorn’s honey cake being mentioned in the Hobbit itself, blackberries and hazelnuts just seem like they’d be something you’d stash in your knapsack during your travels, right? And hobbits seem like the type to have cast iron skillets. So there you go. ALSO this cake is not only dessert but also does double duty for Elevenses (I can attest. I actually ate it for elevenses / brunch / breakfast / lunch, as part of a very complete, Hobbity spread).

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In other news, I went to the opera on a random Tuesday the other week because, why not?

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More drawing!

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And more cake.

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It’s rainy and drizzly today and as such is perfect cake and indoor fun weather; I highly recommend this one. It’s somewhat like a light variation on pound cake, and the blackberries / hazelnuts make for a great textural pairing. Plus ice cream. Obviously. They may not have had ice cream in the Shire, but let’s face it: everything is better with a bit of cream, right?

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Yes, the blackberries in the pictures are frozen — they were subsequently thawed and honeyed and drizzled and got all juicy and delicious, but for ease of transportation, that happened after the photos.

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So! Cake! And a nice revisit to the land of the Shire; I was a little overdue. Be warned, the maple hazelnuts are supremely addictive…. don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)

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Honey Almond Cake with Honeyed Blackberries and Maple Glazed Hazelnuts

Lightly sweet cake that is somewhat akin to a lighter pound cake, topped with tart-sweet blackberries and crunchy hazelnuts. Hobbit-y dessert perfection that also happens to be gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and arguably paleo (depends on what sweeteners are on your okay list). The cake is adapted from Cookie and Kate, here! One confession: I’m a crazy baking person and for Hobbit authenticity and size preferences I wanted to make this in my 8″ cast iron skillet, which meant that I made a 3/4 recipe of a a full 9″ pan. I will be posting my altered measurements here; if you bake it in a 9″, it will just be a slightly shorter cake (apologies for some of the funky measurements!)

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For the cake:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal), firmly packed
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • scant 1/2 c runny honey
  • 1/8 + 1/16 c melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease cast iron skillet or pan of choice with coconut oil. Toss a little almond flour in the bottom to finely coat. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together beaten eggs, honey, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake on the center rack of the oven for about 38-40 minutes. I checked mine at 30 and put it back in for 8; it was perfect at 38. The top should be golden brown and firm to the touch, and the center shouldn’t jiggle when lightly shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool before topping and serving.

For the honeyed blackberries:

  • 1 bag frozen blackberries, or fresh if they’re in season
  • 1 tbsp runny honey

Thaw blackberries, if frozen, and toss with the honey…. and that’s it! Let sit for a few hours if you have time — they get extra juicy that way.

Maple Glazed Hazelnuts:

  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

For serving: Top cake with honeyed blackberries & glazed hazelnuts, and preferably ice cream.

Store leftover cake in the fridge; covered with foil in the original pan is just fine. I’m here to attest that this cake is fabulous the next morning for breakfast!

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Even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes

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I’m on sort of a roll here to see how many desserts I can make in my fave 8″ cast iron skillet… I’ve recently re-embarked on a cast iron love affair, and it is PERFECT for dessert. Points for charm, too, of course. So! This week’s incarnation is cobbler. Or some type of fruit dessert with topping. There are so many different ones: crisp, crumble, cobbler, grunt, slump, pandowdy, buckle.. now that I’ve listed them all, I feel compelled to go look up the differences. Hold that thought…

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Holding?

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Okay. I’m back.

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Woah. Information overload. Apparently grunts, pandowdies and slumps are the New England version of cobbler, whereas cobbler is more traditionally from the Deep South. Huh. Who knew. Anyway, they’re basically the same thing anyway: take some delicious fruit and smother it in a biscuit dough / pie dough incarnation / crispy crumble thing and bake that thang in a skillet. Any way you slice it, they’re obviously delicious, so let’s just leave it at that. Despite the research I’m still not sure if this is *technically* a cobbler, but who cares. Let’s not get technical, it’s the weekend!

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Look at me doing research for fun not even a week out of graduate school! What. Weird. I’m going to stop now, that was quite enough, thank you.

Cobbler! Ahhhh. Summer fruit. Probably one of my favorite eating seasons. For when you have all the fruit and can’t possibly sit and eat it all. And for when you want your fruit to have a crunchy, crumbly delicious topping. Because even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes.

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Peach, Blackberry and Blueberry Almond Quinoa Cobbler

This could easily be gluten free — just sub the spelt flour for more quinoa flour or any other gluten free flour of choice. Could also be dairy free: sub in melted coconut oil for the butter. Refined sugar free, healthy fats, and full of antioxidants. Perfect summer dessert, and a perfect reason to bust out that smallish skillet of yours. Yield: 1 8″ skillet, serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are and whether this gets eaten for dessert and then for breakfast…  A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 2 c peaches, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  •  1 c blackberries*
  • 1 c blueberries*
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp date sugar

*mine were previously frozen; if yours are too, just thaw them first

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour, toasted**
  • 1/4 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c date sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled

**toast the flour over medium heat in a smallish skillet, stirring occasionally until fragrant (less than 5 minutes usually; take it off just before it starts to brown)

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or another 8″ pan of choice with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, toss fruit with cornstarch, lemon juice, and date sugar. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond meal, toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, date sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in whisked egg, maple, and vanilla, followed by the melted butter. Stir until just incorporated.

Pour the fruit into the prepared skillet, and top with spoonfuls of batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Highly recommended with your ice cream of choice (in this case it was paleo gelato made from cashews and maple syrup, I’m obsessed). Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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Inadvertent Tuesday Baking Spaz

Six point five inch cake pans are probably the best invention in the cooking world.

Seriously! I had no idea how much I was missing out until they came into my life… I make EVERYTHING in them! They’re perfect for two people (because really, even I think a 3 layer, 9 inch cake for two is a wee bit excessive), and it means that Kira and I can try even more things, since we don’t have to forage our way through a huuuge amount of food. Perfect.

Tuesday’s random baking occurrence happened to involve some blackberries, nicely donated by Kira’s lovely Mutti. What better use for slightly-tart blackberries than in CAKE?! And what better excuse for breakfast than a whole wheat cake with fruit?! Or midmorning snacking. Or mid afternoon. Or whenever.

I really love snack-type cakes. You know, like the type that isn’t very sweet, usually made in an 8 inch pan. They take me back to my childhood, when my wonderful Mutti would make crazy chocolate cake, and I would come home and power down a fourth of the cake (no, I’m not joking) for an after-school snack. No milk, either—milk is for sissies! I’ll chase my cake with a shot of ice cream, thank you! I would (and maybe still do, *ahem*) eat it by excavating the cake from underneath, to preserve the glazed bit on the top and on the sides, to be eaten last and with great relish. Corner pieces are my favorite–all the glaze puddles in the corners! I’ve been known to scrape the glaze off of Vati’s cake, when he was distractedly looking the other way, teehee! Not that I do that anymore, psshhh…

Anyway. This random baking spaz involved, like I said, blackberries. Lots of antioxidants in those cute little seedy characters. This cake was significantly less sweet than most cakes, which Kira and I really liked. We reduced the sugar a bit, but it has a nice crust of crunchy turbinado, which provides a bit more sweetness. This cake got a definite two thumbs, waaaay up. It really would be perfect for a light ending to a brunch, and I’m sure it goes well with ice cream (what doesn’t?!).

Not the most aesthetic, but WHATEVER. It was delicious, and we wanted cake sooner rather than later.

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Adapted from here!

Though we made it in 6.5″ pans, I’ll post the full recipe :). We made a few adaptations—I’ll note them in the recipe.

Preheat yo’ oven! 350, pleeease. Lightly grease your pan of choice (originally a 9″ round cake pan).

  • 1 egg
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c butter (we used unsalted), softened (or microwaved, if you’re lazy like me)
  • 1/2 c sugar*
  • 1.5 tsp sugar for sprinkling on the top, for crusty deliciousness!
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt, thinned with a bit of milk**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blackberries, as many as you deem appropriate

*As you know, I have a penchant for reducing the amount of sugar in recipes. This one originally called for 2/3 c for the entire cake. Since we halved it, I used 1/4 c brown sugar. Kira and I both like it—if you want it sweeter, feel free to up the sugar. If I made the full batch, I’d probably use a scant 1/2 c.

**The original recipe called for buttermilk. We have it, but it’s currently in a bit of a frozen state for preservational purposes… as we (rightly) thought we’d not use it right away. Since plain yogurt is a buttermilk substitute, we used that instead, and thinned it out with a bit of milk. It worked perfectly! I would totally do it again.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium-type bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with your trusty handheld mixer that you inherited from your grandmutti, until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, being careful not to spray it everywhere with the electric power of the beaters. I do NOT speak from experience this time… well, rather I speak from experience in that it DIDN’T happen this time, so there! Alternate the flour and the buttermilk until you have a batter. It’ll be rather thick.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and place the berries into the cake, pressing them down into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top (make sure you don’t skip this—it’s excellent!). We used turbinado, and it creates a super tasty crunchy crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. For a half recipe, it was probably somewhere around 25-20 minutes (just keep checking after 15 until a tester comes out clean).

Indulge your gastronomical gremlins’ snack attacks any time of day… they’ll love you for the change from muffins to cake (because they’re fickle like that). Besides, it has fruit and a serving of whole grains, AND reduced sugar. I’m thinking this makes it a nicely balanced snackie, which should appease both you and your gremlins :)