Monday, May 22, 2017

Lemon Crème Fraiche Pound Cake

Pound cake is one of the easiest cakes to make, but to make a truly good pound cake requires just the right recipe. When I came across a recipe for a lemon pound cake in Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008), I was intrigued by the fact that had melted butter

in it – and lots of it, as well as sour cream to make it moist. Most pound cake recipes rely on the process of creaming the butter and sugar together for several minutes to create the air bubbles that give the cake its structure (along with a little modern help from leaveners). This recipe relies on eggs and leaveners alone. So I tried Matt and

Renato’s recipe and I thought it was excellent – very moist and very lemony (important for the lemon lovers among us). Then I decided to tinker around with the recipe, changing the ingredient proportions slightly, changing the mixing process, cutting the sugar a bit, and substituting crème fraiche for the sour cream for extra richness. The resulting cake is equally good (not necessarily better): a simple Bundt cake with lots of tangy lemon flour and a moist crumb the color of sunshine. Another pound cake recipe for the ever-growing repertoire.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buttercrunch Toffee Chunk Ice Cream

After a five month vacation from blogging, I was inspired to post today by a new book by my super-talented colleague, pastry chef Dana Cree. I am convinced that Dana’s new book, Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop (Clarkson Potter, 2017), is destined to be a classic on the subject of frozen desserts. 

It covers lots of science (but not so much that you begin to nod off), information that is key in creating frozen desserts with the ideal flavor and texture. For example, Dana tells us how to make proteins (eggs, milk) work for your ice cream, how the amount of sugar in your base affects your ice cream’s texture, and how stabilizers 

(bad reputation aside) work to assure textural perfection. And then there are the recipes – ice cream (custard as well as eggless Philadelphia style), sherbet, frozen yogurt and a panoply of add-ins, including Cookie Butter Bits, Pretzel Toffee Chunks, Gooey Butter Cake (!), and Creamy Caramel Ribbon. Makes me want to drop what I’m doing, race to the kitchen, and make every blessed recipe in this incredible new book. Thank you, Dana (I think!). Here’s her recipe for a Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream with Buttercrunch Toffee Chunks added. I ate half of the batch in two sittings – research, you know.