Tuesday, May 29, 2012

lemon pistachio breakfast cake

every sunday morning, i head out to the demonstration garden to work with my fellow gardeners for a few hours.  it is usually peaceful out there and we always have a good time together.  how can you go wrong if someone always comes out to the garden with a freshly baked cake?  unless you are that someone who is searching through cupboards trying to figure out what to bake...did i mention that the "someone" in question is me?

this week, lemon sounded like a good choice to me.  it has been so hot and lemon sounded light and refreshing; a good choice for a crowd.  that is providing a crowd shows up.  since it was a holiday weekend, i ended up gardening by myself with a cake for company.  luckily, for me anyway, i wasn't in a sweet tooth mood and was easily able to limit myself to a small slice.

this is a moist cake that is quickly mixed up in one bowl and baked in a medium sized (about 8 cups) bundt pan.  rather than make a glaze as the recipe called for, i opted for a more finger friendly dusting of powdered sugar-we don't have the time for plates and forks in the garden.

lemon-pistachio breakfast cake
adapted from a recipe by lou seibert pappas.  the original recipe, lemon-glazed buttermilk bundt cake can be found in the 2006 book, coffeecakes, simple, sweet and savory published by chronicle books.

serves 10-12
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (i used unsalted, dry roasted pistachios from trader joe's)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
powdered sugar for dusting the cake

preheat the oven to 350.  grease an 8 cup bundt pan and set aside.  in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, zest, canola oil, chopped pistachios and salt and whisk until smooth.  sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda over the top of the egg mixture.  stir it a couple times with a rubber spatula, add the buttermilk and continue to mix until smooth.  scrape it into the greased pan and spread it out evenly.  bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert it onto a rack to cool completely.  to serve, dust the top with a small amount of powdered sugar and cut into slices with a serrated knife.

Monday, May 28, 2012

sunday with my husband

"i need your help, dessert help"...it was my husband speaking; it was also the end to any plans i may have had for sunday.  such is the life of a pastry chef whose husband happens to be the executive banquet chef for a university.  i packed up my gear, grabbed my cookbooks and out the door i went to give him a hand.

 he was busy making wraps for the 100+ campers staying at the university.  
 while he arranged the various fillings, 

and then rolled them up, 

 i got busy with the desserts.

 chocolate trifle with strawberries; i made the cake, the chocolate mousse and macerated the berries

 i also made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

and like the amazing woman i am, i cleaned up my mess and hit the road as quick as i could.  it was sunday and i had some serious lazing about to do.   now that things have quieted down in the demonstration garden and the show preparations are done, look for me to be back here baking up whatever strikes my fancy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

twd: hungarian shortbread with rose hip jam

 and with the blink of an eye, it is tuesday with dorie time again.  this weeks adventure, hungarian shortbread, is hosted by lynette of 1 small kitchen and cher of the not so exciting adventures of a dabbler.  shortbread, seems easy enough, right.  not according to the recipe.  the headnote warns us that shortbread can be tough to work with and that luckily for us, this easy recipe will save us.  well, i have made many batches of shortbread and while it can be tricky in a warm kitchen, i would not say it is tough to work with.  this recipe is unusual in that the dough is frozen and then grated into the pan.  hard to believe, but true.

i made my dough the night before and froze it.  then i cut it in half and grated half into my baking pan.  since there is just the two of us, i opted to just make a half batch and i baked it in a pie plate.

 looks like grated cheese-nachos anyone???

 i sneaked a peak at the chatter page and the consensus seemed to be that baking the bottom crust was necessary.  i trooped on in full force and pre baked the bottom.

 the recipe called for making a rhubarb jam or using something store bought-i opted for store bought and used a jar of rose hip jam that has been in the fridge for a while.

next up, the rest of the dough is grated over the jam

into the oven it went.  over all, the bottom needs to be pre baked and the top takes a while to get nice and golden brown.

 dressed up with powdered sugar and ready for tea.  my opinion-a lot of work for something that wasn't very much like short bread to me.  i did not get any of the sandy-flaky texture that i like in a shortbread.  it was very buttery and the bottom just did not want to bake; it stayed a little doughy even though it was much darker than the top layer.  would i make it again?  maybe but i would definitely skip the grating and just spread it into a pan.  as for the top-i say crumb topping!!!  see you in two weeks with our next baking adventure.  if you would like the recipe, visit the blog pages of our hosts, lynette and cher, or better yet, buy the book!