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April 2012

Individual Italian Almond Cakes

Individual Almond Cakes

I love making things that have been reduced to two servings, which is often the perfect amount. These days, I prefer NOT having lots of leftover dessert, so I’m always looking for mini versions of my favorite recipes. This almond cake comes from the 2009 edition of Cooking for Two, which I highly recommend.(http://amzn.to/JXf6e9)

Download Individual Italian Almond Cakes

1 cup (4 ounces) slivered almonds, toasted* (or use Bob’s Red Mill finely ground Almond Meal/Flour)

7 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup (1 ounce) cake flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Mixed berries, for garnish

 

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease  two 4 ½-inch springform pans.

2. Process the toasted almonds, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a food processor until very finely ground with a texture that resembles flour, about 15 seconds. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and remaining  5 tablespoons of sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the egg until combines. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the ground almond mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the milk and beat until just incorporated, 15-30 seconds.

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake until the cake is puffed and golden on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and let the cake cool slightly, about 30 minutes.  Slide cakes onto  serving plates and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm on its own, or with berries and cream.

6. To Store: Remove the cake pan bottom and wrap the fully cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap. Store the cakes at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. (If frozen, let the cake thaw completely at room temperature, 2 to 4 hours.) To warm the cake, unwrap it and place on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

* To toast almonds:  Spread the almonds out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until very lightly toasted and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes (do not over toast); let cool completely.

Almond Cakes baked

Almond Cakes with berries


Individual Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon pudding cake

I love lemon desserts – especially in the Spring and Summer months. The batter separates as it bakes, creating a light sponge cake on top and a creamy pudding on the bottom. Makes a great Easter dessert!

Makes 6   Download Individual Lemon Pudding Cakes recipe

2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons

1 cup milk, at room temperature

Lemon Zest or Mint garnish

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter six 6-ounce ramekins (or spray with Pam).

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to medium and add the egg yolks, mixing until incorporated. Add the flour, lemon zest, and salt and beat until combined. Add the lemon juice and milk and beat until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Place the dishes in a large baking pan and add enough boiling water to the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

3. Bake until the tops are golden and the center springs back when gently pressed, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool completely, at least 1 1/2 hours. (The pudding cakes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.) To serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the dish and invert onto a plate.

Lemon pudding cake egg whites
Lemon pudding cakes pan
Lemon pudding cake baked
 


Fast Easy Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce 2

Fast Easy Homemade Applesauce

A friend of mine called and asked me what was the best way to use up a bunch of apples and I naturally suggested applesauce. I often find the crisper drawer in my  own refrigerator filled with a variety of apples and end up throwing them into a pot with a few ingredients to create a delicious homemade applesauce. It’s so versatile – I add it to oatmeal at breakfast, blend a scoopful into smoothies, use it to replace pumpkin in muffin recipes and it’s also a great accompaniment to many main course dishes. 

Download Fast Easy Homemade Applesauce recipe

4 pounds apples, such as McIntosh, Gala, and Braeburn

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

1 cup apple juice (or water)

3 inches of cinnamon stick

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

1. Peel, core, and slice apples.

2. In a large pot, bring apples, salt, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and apple juice (or water) to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until apples are very soft and falling apart, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor until smooth with small chunks remaining. (Add sugar, if using.)

4. Let cool, and then transfer applesauce to airtight containers.