Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Individual Desserts

Layers of Lemon

Layers of lemon promises exactly this: tart and sweet lemon curd alternated with vanilla bean cake and whipped cream.  The best part is, everyone gets their own and it's a stunning presentation.

Stress relief tip of the day:
Press on it. Acupressure is a quick and effective tension releaser—it can reduce stress by up to 39 percent, according to researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. For fast relief, massage the fleshy area between your thumb and index finger for 20 to 30 seconds.

Layers of Lemon Recipe

Vanilla Bean Cake:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups lowfat milk, room temperature
1/2 cup half and half, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Lemon Curd:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9" baking dish. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, half and half and egg whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed for 3 minutes, or until the butter and sugar are very light. Add in the vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter fully incorporated and smooth, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Once ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.  Pour batter into pan coming up half and inch.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Allow cake to cool.  Use the parfait glass as a way to cut perfect circles for the layering.

Lemon curd: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar together until very light yellow and fluffy. Whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Rest the mixing bowl in the saucepan, with the bowl's base above the simmering water (pour out some of the water if necessary). Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and custardy, about 15 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate until cold. Fold in the whipped cream.

Whipped cream: Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Start on a medium speed and beat for one minute until it thickens.  Add the powdered sugar and turn speed to high for one minute.  Transfer cream to a pastry bag with a star tip.

Layer cake circles, lemon curd and whipped cream into parfait glasses.  Repeat layers twice.  Top with sprinkles if desired.

Mary-Yum's Sugar Therapy Blog

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