Recipes: Lemon, Ricotta and Thyme Mini-Loaves; Banana Bread; Lemon Angel Pie; Black Tea Blondies With Caramel Swirl

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Lemon, Ricotta and Thyme Mini-Loaves

Makes 8 mini-loaves.

Note: From “The New Way to Cake,” by Benjamina Ebuehl.

• 1 c. (200 g) superfine/caster sugar

• Zest of 2 lemons

• 1 tbsp. (8 g) finely chopped fresh thyme

• 1/2 c. (120 ml) sunflower or vegetable oil

• 1 c. (250 g) ricotta

• 2 eggs

• 1 1/2 c. (190 g) flour

• 2 tsp. (10 g) baking powder

• Pinch of salt

Icing:

• 1 1/4 c. (150 g) powdered sugar

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 8 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 mini-loaf pans and line each bottom with a strip of parchment paper.

To make the loaves: Place the superfine/caster sugar and zest into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar. This helps to release some essential oils for a more intense fragrance. Stir in the thyme.

Add the oil, ricotta and eggs and whisk until smooth. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and divide batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until loaves are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pans before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing: Add the powdered sugar to a medium bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a thick-but-pourable glaze. If the glaze becomes too runny, mix more sugar. Equally, if you think it’s too thick to pour, add a little more lemon juice. Spoon glaze onto the cakes, letting it drip over the edges and top with a sprig of thyme.

Nutrition information per 1 mini loaf:

Calories 440 Fat 18 g

Sodium 190 mg Carbohydrates 65 g

Saturated fat 3 g Added sugars 43 g

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 56 mg

Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 2 ½ carb, 3 fat.

 

Banana Bread

Serves 10.

Note: For a twist on this classic, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cardamom or pumpkin pie spice blend to the basic mixture. From “The Big Book of Amazing Cakes,” from “The Great British Baking Show.”

• 1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp. (total of 9 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened

• 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. light brown sugar

• 2 extra-large eggs, beaten

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 c. flour

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 3 large or 4 medium very ripe bananas, well mashed

• 3 tbsp. sour cream

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan.

Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until pale and creamy.

Add eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until fully combined, then add vanilla.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into bowl. Add one third of flour mixture, one third of mashed banana, and 1 tablespoon sour cream to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, and gently beat together. Repeat with another third of flour, banana and sour cream, then finally the remaining third of each.

Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour (don’t be tempted to open the oven door), until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean.

Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition information per slice:

Calories 320 Fat 13 g

Sodium 270 mg Carbohydrates 48 g

Saturated fat 7 g Added sugars 19 g

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 70 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ fruit, 1 ½ starch, 1 carb, 2 ½ fat.

 

 

Lemon Angel Pie

Serves 8.

Note: From “Midwest Made,” by Shauna Sever.

Meringue:

• 4 egg whites, at room temperature

• 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

• 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

• 1 c. (200 g) sugar

• 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract

Filling and topping:

• 2/3 c. (150 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

• 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin

• 1 c. (200 g) sugar

• 6 egg yolks

• 2 eggs

• 2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest

• 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

• 3 tbsp. (42 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

• 1 c. (240 g) heavy whipping cream, chilled

• 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla bean paste (or extract)

Directions:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 275 degrees.

Spray the bottom, sides and rim of a 9-inch glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel.

Prepare the meringue shell: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Begin whipping the whites on medium speed until they start to become opaque and hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, spoon in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time — don’t rush this stage, as you want the sugar to dissolve as much as possible to yield a sturdy shell.

When all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the meringue reaches very stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute more. The meringue should ball up in the whisk and create an almost vertical peak when you lift the whisk from the bowl. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Pile the meringue into the prepared pie plate. Using the back of a small spoon, shape the cloud of meringue into a thick-bottomed pie shell, so it billows up the sides about an inch and clings to the inner rim of the edge of the plate. Smooth the bottom evenly. Bake the shell until crisp, set and ivory in color, about 1 1/2 hours. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and allow the crust to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour more; don’t worry if the shell falls or cracks a bit while cooling.

Meanwhile, prepare the lemon filling: In a small cup, combine 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice with the gelatin and stir until any lumps disappear. Allow the gelatin to soften for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a 2- to 2 1/2-quart saucepan, whisk together the remaining lemon juice with the sugar, egg yolks, eggs, lemon zest, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat. Whisking often, cook the curd until a few lavalike steam bubbles come to the surface, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the lump of softened gelatin until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Pour the curd through a sieve into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Allow the curd to cool at room temperature while the meringue shell is cooling,

When both have cooled completely, spoon the filling into the shell. Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic wrap. Chill the pie for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight. Just before serving, whip cream with the vanilla bean paste (or extract) to soft peaks and pile on top of the curd.

 

Black Tea Blondies With Caramel Swirl

Makes 16 to 20.

Note: From “Tartine: A Classic Revisited,” by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson.

• 1 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. (210 g) all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. Earl Grey tea leaves, finely ground

• 2 1/4 c. (400 g) dark brown sugar

• 1 c. (225 g) unsalted butter, melted

• 2 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1 tsp. salt

• 3 eggs

• Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish.

Sift the flour and ground tea into a small bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.

With the mixer running, add the eggs 1 at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle the Caramel Sauce over the top and drag a knife horizontally left to right, creating a marbled design. Bake until the center and the sides have risen evenly, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Using a sharp knife, cut the blondies to the desired size. These will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.

 

Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Note: This is a versatile sauce and cake filling. We’ve adapted it slightly to substitute the use of vanilla extract. From “Tartine: A Classic Revisited,” by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson.

• 2/3 c. (160 ml) heavy cream

• 1/4 vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)

• 1 1/4 c. (250 g) sugar

• 1/4 c. (60 ml) water

• 2 tbsp. light corn syrup

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 3/4 tsp. lemon juice

• 4 tbsp. (60 g) unsalted butter

Directions

Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod into the cream. (If using extract, add at the end.) Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture is amber-colored, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have your cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel sauce one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, if using. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool.

The caramel will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

 

 

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