Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gale Gand, Grocery Store Rushing, and a Mother's Day Dessert

Yesterday, Mom, Aunt A., and I went to see Gale Gand. Gale made Vita's Ricotta Doughnuts and a lemon cream to dip them in. In an effort to find the recipes online, it seems like that's what she makes for most cooking demonstrations. The doughnuts were good, but I kind of have a fear of hot oil and frying things, so the last (and only) time I've ever fried things was in a deep fryer in my cousin's apartment in Tehran. I figured that was relatively safe-and the only possible way to make what I was making. Mom really liked the lemon cream though, so I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate it into a mother's day dessert by pairing it with blueberries and something else. I finally decided that an angel food cake was probably the missing link. Mom thought that it sounded like a good dessert, so I set off to figure out how to make it.

I remembered a recipe for angel food cake cupcakes being in a Cooking Light from last summer. Even better, the recipe I was thinking of turned out to be Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes, which made it very easy to rationalize the time and cost when angel food cake is so readily available (and cheap) right now, and sold next to the berries and whipped cream, of course.

I made the cupcakes with no trouble, other than going to line the muffin tins and realizing I was out of liners, which I rarely use. I know that for angel food though, it's important. It was extra driving practice too. (And just $1.07 more). I was worried my egg whites were deflating, but they turned out looking fine.

The lemon cream did not go as smoothly. I had everything I needed, and managed to have a lemon with no seeds that yielded almost enough juice, making the usually time-consuming part easy. But then my absent-mindedness kicked in. I cooled down the lemon curd, turned around to get my drink, and realized I'd forgotten about the two tablespoons of butter that I'd measured out. I figured the whipped cream I'd mix in with it would made up for the creaminess missing.
And that was the second problem. Since the lemon curd was in the mixer bowl, I figured I might as well make the whipped cream with a whisk and join Mom and Tiff out on the patio. After minutes of whisking, I was getting nowhere. So I got out the hand beaters and by the time the table was set and dinner set out, I still hadn't gotten anywhere. I asked Mom to put the bowl in the fridge with the beaters and figured it would work after dinner once it was chilled.
It still didn't work. I was trying to make whipped cream with half-and-half. Mom just had a very nice latte with her cupcake instead.
I'm actually kind of glad for the mistake though, because the cupcakes turned out really nice anyway, and the lemon curd made a tasty glaze (which is what I considered doing before I forgot the butter and thought it might need the creaminess of the whipped cream, as well as the lightening, to make it more appealing to my anti-custard cousin.)

Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes with Lemon and Blueberry Topping
adapted from Cooking Light 's Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes and Gale Gand's Lemon Creme
Makes 8 cupcakes

1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) cake flour
3/8 cup (45 grams) powdered sugar
3 liquid ounces egg whites (2-3 large eggs)
a pinch salt
3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
8 muffin cup liners

Lemon curd topping:
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 large lemons, maybe more)
lemon zest from half of a lemon (well, don't cut the lemon first...)

a pint blueberries
lemon zest, optional (to garnish)

for the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line 8 muffin cups with liners.

Sift together cake flour and powdered sugar 3 times.


In a mixer (I definitely recommend a stand mixer for this, and I usually find it more of a hassle to use one) beat egg whites and salt at high speed until frothy, about a minute. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar, a spoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour mixture oven egg white mixture; fold into egg whites and repeat with remaining flour mixture until all is folded in. Stir in vanilla and grated lemon zest.

Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350º for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

for the lemon curd:
Bring a couple inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan that you can fit the mixer bowl over without touching the water.

In a mixer with whisk attachment, or with hand beaters, whip the eggs and sugar together into pale yellow and fluffy. Mix in lemon juice and zest.
Rest the bowl over the simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally. until the mixture is thick and custard-like, about 10 minutes.

While the curd cooks, half-fill a bowl larger than bowl using to make curd with ice and water. When curd is thick, rest bowl in ice bath to cool, stirring occasionally.

to assemble cupcakes:

Spread a layer of the lemon curd over the cupcake and top with blueberries and lemon zest.

Some lemon curd with be left over, refrigerate and save for another use.
(This month's Everyday Food recommends using lemon curd in mousse, on scones, over fresh berries, or over pound cake and has its own lemon curd recipe on page 126, as well as one that uses it to make a lemon mouse. They only recommend keeping their curd for 3 days.)


Vanessa said...

oh my, are those beautiful!

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