Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lemon Dream Pie

By Heather

I recently helped a friend throw a baby shower for my dear friend Kelly.  It was a really fun time to socialize and celebrate her little one.  And the food was yummy too!  This was the first time I'd made this dessert and it won't be the last.  It was so good (if I do say so myself).  If you're a fan of lemon curd you're going to love this.  It was creamy, it was tart, it was supremely lemony!  I had recently made a lemon cake (recipe to come) and a friend who tasted both the cake and this dessert said that this was hands down the better of the two.  I'd have to agree that it was really delicious (though I still love the cake) and reminded me somewhat of a key lime pie (but better!).  It's perfect for a spring gathering or potluck - enjoy!

Lemon Dream Pie

10 lemon sandwich cookies
8 whole graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Add the cookies and crackers to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until they are finely ground. Add the butter, sugar and lemon zest to the bowl, and continue pulsing until well combined - the mixture should start to clump just a little. Turn the mixture out into a 10-inch springform pan. Press into an even layer and half-way up the sides to form the crust. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the crust to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

For The "Canary Yellow" Layer:
(I didn't use the recipe for the Canary Yellow Layer that is printed here.  I would have, but I already had homemade lemon curd on hand and wanted to use that.  The recipes seemed very similar, so I wouldn't hesitate to use the recipe here.)
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup of lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
½ cup water
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
8 large egg yolks
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

Whisk sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch and salt together in a large non-reactive saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture is translucent and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in yolks until combined. Stir in zest and butter. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

Strain through fine mesh strainer into the baked and cooled pie shell and scrape off filling from the bottom of strainer. Reserve about 3 tbsp in a small dish for the decoration. Refrigerate while making creamy layer.

Creamy Filling Layer:
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons) and 1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest
1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
¼ cup sugar
1 (8‑ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14‑ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
⅓ cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir ¼ cup of the lemon juice and gelatin together in a small bowl and let sit to soften.

Process the sugar and lemon zest together in a food processor until the sugar turns bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese and continue to process until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the condensed milk and pudding mix and continue to process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl.

Microwave the lemon juice mixed with gelatin until warm (just before bubbling), about 15-30 seconds. Stir to dissolve the gelatin.

With the food processor running, pour the warm gelatin mixture, remaining lemon juice, and vanilla through the feed tube and continue to process until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the creamy filling into the pie shell on top of yellow layer and smooth the top with a spatula.

Transfer the reserved Canary Yellow filling to a small resealable plastic bag and snip one of the corners. Pipe thin, parallel lines of the Yellow filling onto the creamy layer, then drag a knife or toothpick through the lines (perpendicular to them) to create a decorative pattern.

Refrigerate the pie, uncovered, until chilled and set, about 6 hours. Serve chilled with whipped cream (optional - I forgot to get out the whipped cream and we never missed it).

Source: This was adapted slightly from my friend's blog, http://virtualgoodyplate.blogspot.com/, and was called Bill Bryson's Dream-Fulfilling Lemon Pie (after a book - they were having literature night). 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Cake

I saw a picture of Martha Stewart's cake and thought that was a great cake for Easter!  So I set out to make it.  The above picture is my attempt at it.  It doesn't quite look like her elegant one, but the taste was amazing.  The quality and texture of the cake was wonderful.  The frosting was sweet but that was because I substituted milk chocolate for the bittersweet.  Next time I would probably use the bittersweet.  Definitely a keeper!

Source: www.marthastewart.com  Chocolate Cake with Crepe Paper Flowers and a Phyllo Nest
Posted by Lisa
  • For the Cake

    • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
    • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    • 3/4 cup warm water
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup dark rum
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Make the cake: Butter two 10-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment cut to fit, and butter parchment. Dust with cocoa, and tap out excess. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Add remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  • Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into centers of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 45 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn onto racks. Remove parchment, turn cakes right side up, and let cool completely.
  • For the Frosting

    • 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • Make the frosting: Sift confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and salt into a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating until combined. Beat in melted chocolate and sour cream until combined
    • For the Garnish

      • 1 thick 16-ounce block bittersweet chocolate, room temperature
      • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
      • Phyllo nest
      • Small candy-coated chocolate eggs
    • Make the garnish: Using a vegetable peeler, scrape chocolate at a 45-degree angle. Using a spatula, transfer curls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 days).
      (I tried this and it did not work...at all.  I ended up tempering my own chocolate and then spreading it on the back of a cookie sheet, and using a small metal spatula, scraping it up before it set completely and making curls.  It actually worked. Surprised me!  Beware that the chocolate sets up pretty fast so you have to move quickly)

  • For the Nest

    • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for mold
    • 1/2 ounce ( 1/2 cup) kataifi (a type of phyllo), thawed
    • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Make the nest: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a 1/3-cup-capacity round silicone mold with butter. In a bowl, gently toss butter and kataifi to combine.
  • Lift kataifi out of bowl, gently stretching strands to form a loose rope. Lay 1 end in the cupped fingers of 1 hand. Gently spiral rope to shape into a nest.
  • Fit nest into mold, pulling up edges to rest over rim. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in mold on a wire rack. Unmold. Dust with cocoa.

I tempered good quality chocolate and made the curls that way.

  1. To assemble: Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to create level surfaces. Reserve trimmings

  1. Place 1 cake, cut side up, on a cake stand. Spread 2 cups frosting over top. Top with remaining cake, cut side up.

  1. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides

  1. Using tweezers, gently press chocolate curls to sides of cake. Dust top with confectioners' sugar if desired. Decorate with nest, chocolate eggs, and flowers

  1.  Finely grind cake trimmings in a food processor

  1. Sprinkle crumbs over top of cake.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Green Bean Crisper Appetizer

These are my new favorite appetizer at restaurants.  I just love them.   I decided to try and make some at home.  I must say I am quite pleased with them and the whole family gobbled them up.  No left overs!
Posted by Lisa


1 bag of fresh green beans
Panko bread crumbs
1 cup flour (seasoned)
2 eggs

oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:
1 avocado
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg dry ranch seasoning mix
squirt of lemon


*Dampen the green beans with water.
*Put the flour and seasoning in shallow dish (season with salt and pepper and maybe a bit of cayenne pepper)
*Dredge the green beans in the flour and set aside

(the beans that are less covered were not moitened with water first)
*Discard remaining flour.  Put the Panko bread crumbs in the flour dish and season with salt/pepper
*In another shallow dish, put the 2 eggs and about 2 tsp water and beat with a fork
*Working in small amounts, add beans to the egg mixture, then into the panko crumbs.  Coat evenly and gently set on a plate until all of them are coated.

*Bring about 1 to 2 inches of veggie oil to around 350 degrees
*working in small batches, add beans in a single layer to the oil and fry until golden.

*set on paper towel to drain.  Serve with dipping sauce.

Directions for dipping sauce:
* Scoop out avacado and mash in a bowl
*squirt with a little lemon juice
*mix in 1 cup sour cream
*add the pkt of ranch dry dip mix
*thin with milk to desired consistency