Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lemon Loaf Cake

Such an easy recipe.  Such a light, "springtime" cake.  

Easy was good as I squeezed this in while my son and husband were off at the hardware store, and Rhiannon was taking a nap.  That's how easy it was.  

Light was good as I was expecting more traditional pound cake heaviness to the loaf, and it was surprisingly light and fluffy more like a layer cake.  (I don't think it was light in any other sense of the word, due to the decent amount of butter and cream in it.)

And maybe it was that Portland was having a remarkably dry and sunny spring weekend that this cake just felt like springtime.  Maybe it was the fact that the color of the cake matched the daffodils in my yard.  

I followed the recipe without any deviations or experimentation.   I am finding this cookbook, 
Baking with Julia, to be so detail oriented (which is helping a novice like me to master these baking skills); this recipe told me when to switch from a whisk to a spatula in the mixing process!  Never have I read a recipe so specific with mixing utensils.    

Next time, I will deviate a bit.  Maybe some glaze, some more lemon juice, and I would love to serve it with lemon curd as that sounds just heavenly.   I will, however, maintain the timing of switching from whisk to spatula.

For the recipe and more on Tuesdays with Dorie see our hosts:

The Beauty of Life

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pizza Rustica

All ready to bake.

Yum. Yum. Yum.  For some reason I just loved this one (my fourth recipe with the baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie).  Maybe it was the sweet/ savory combination, maybe it was the fact that it doubled as a dinner (and not an extra recipe for the week), maybe it was how simple it was to make yet how elegant it looked.  I don't think I have eaten anything exactly like this, so it was also novel.  Whatever it was, it was great.  

The crust.

The dough is a sweet dough, ideally made in a food processor, but seeing as I don't have a big enough food processor, I resorted to using my grandma's good old pastry blender and some elbow grease.  The dough was easy and workable, but did require a decent amount of flour when rolling to keep it from sticking (all that sugar).  

The filling.

It was simple enough my three year old helped make it, but he soon lost interest when he realized it wasn't sweet.  Since I am a vegetarian and this recipe traditionally calls for prosciutto, I did improvise a bit and substituted kalamata olives, thinking the salt levels would be about right.  My husband, who would have loved the prosciutto, thought the kalamatas were a fair replacement and easily ate an extra slice.  For the filling, I also used part skim ricotta instead of whole milk ricotta, not by choice, but because the store didn't have whole.  Lucky for me, I think the part skim turned out better: less rich and less sweet to balance out the crust.  

Putting it all together.

I have had a little pastry wheel for years, given to me by my in-laws.  But to this day, I have never used it and on occasion I have thought to throw it out, thinking, " When the hell am I ever going to use this thing?"  Today was the day.   What a handy little tool.  That and the bench scraper I bought for the chocolate tartlets.  It's so nice to have the right tools.   Maybe I should get a food processor...?

The pastry wheel put to use!
To see the full recipe and learn more about Tuesdays with Dorie; Baking with Julia, see the links below.