Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lemon-Blueberry Cake

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Blueberries are on sale everywhere, it seems.

This cake was a variation on the Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours. I added blueberries and a tart lemon curd from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Summer isn't an ideal season for transporting layer cakes. It was about 90 degrees in the car and the piping details started to melt. Luckily, the cake arrived at its final destination in one piece.

My favorite part of this recipe was the lemon curd. I've been pleased with the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. It has a good balance of sweet and savory recipes for different skill-levels, and I think it would make an excellent gift for the novice baker.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Desserts I Dislike: Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis

The beautifully photographed clafoutis in Sarah Raven’s In Season convinced me to try the recipe. It was a bad idea. Clafoutis is a dessert that I just don’t like, even when expertly executed.

I’m convinced that Clafoutis (clah-foo-tee) is a dessert whose prevalence is tied to excess or abundance. Unless I happen to have pounds of cherries lying around, I’d rather make any other fruit dessert: a crumble, crisp, cobbler, pie, pandowdy, shortcake, etc. When Pittsburgh cherries cost anywhere from 3.99-7.99 per pound, it seems tragic to waste them on a glorified pancake.

The traditional cherry clafoutis is made with unpitted cherries. I know few people who want to work around pits during dessert. While most recipes (simple mixes of flour, eggs, sugar, and milk) seem designed to highlight the fruit, the low fat content makes them bland and rubbery. I have yet to make a clafoutis recipe that lived up to its promise of “custard-like” texture. If you want custard, why not make a flan?

If you still want to make it, know that Clafoutis is best served shortly after baking, while it’s puffed and warm. I think it’s most attractive when served in individual portions or a cast-iron skillet, preferably with some ice cream or powdered sugar on top.

Does anyone else dislike clafoutis?