Monthly Archives: January 2012

When Life Gives You Eggs

Last week, when made the French pound cake, quatre-quarts, I had an egg mishap. The eggs needed to be separated, and on the last egg, I broke the yolk into the bowl of egg whites and had to start over. I discarded the whites and stored the yolks in the fridge until I could figure out to do with two yolks. I’m not sure what I was thinking because I could have just saved the whites and the yolks, leaving me with two whole eggs, but I didn’t.

Earlier in the month when I made a key lime pie, I had 4 extra egg whites. Those I used in place of two whole eggs in a quick bread. I was less sure what to do with the yolks.

Alice, one of my cyber-friends, made a brilliant suggestion. Alice lives in London, and her idea was very British. “Why not make lemon curd?” she said. I have a stash of Meyer lemons, and I’ve always wanted to try making lemon curd, so that was the solution.

To make a lemon curd, sugar, or for this recipe, honey, is combined into melted butter along with lemon juice. Then, over a double boiler, the egg yolks are whisked into the lemon mixture until it thickens. The recipe said it would take up to 10 minutes, but it took me closer to 20 minutes. I think it took that long because I was conservative about the temperature of water in the double boiler.

The lemon curd is a lovely contrast of sweet and tart. The Meyer lemon gives it floral undertone. Now, I have to whip up a batch of scones for the perfect teatime snack!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Makes 1¼ cups

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
½ cup honey
½ cup Meyer lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Zest of 1 lemon, if desired

If you are going to use the zest, zest one lemon before juicing it.

In a bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter. Stir the honey into the butter until it’s combined. Now, stir in the lemon juice.

Whisk the egg yolks and whole egg together. Add to the warm lemon mixture. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens. This will take a while, 10 to 20 minutes. It’s done when you run your finger through the mixture on a spoon or spatula, and it doesn’t run back together. Stir in the zest, if using.

Pour into a jar and chill. This will last for two months in the refrigerator.

french fridays with dorie: quatre-quarts

A perfect cake! It’s easy, it’s elegant, and it’s delicious. This is a perfect cake for snacking on over tea with friends on a lazy afternoon. A sliver of this cake is a perfect end to a breakfast that was missing “something”. A wedge of this cake is the perfect to send home in a doggie bag with an expected dinner guest. This cake is also a perfect excuse to use my cake dome.

Dorie says this is the sort of cake that’s common on most French homes. I wish I were French. I was trying to remember if there was a go-to cake that my mother always had around when I was growing up. I think the go-to baked snacks at our house trended more towards brownies (always from a mix) and Toll House cookies.

Mom in 2002

My mom did make a signature cake, a chocolate chip cake. It wasn’t a fancy cake. She served it from its 13×9 metal baking pan, merely sprinkled with powdered sugar. But, we only had it for special occasions. The funny thing is that one reason I think she only made it for special occasions was that you had to separate the eggs, beat the whites separately and fold them in, just like in this everyday French cake. Maybe our cake was French after all.

Even with the step to beat the egg whites, this was a snap to put together. The only advice I have is to break the egg whites over a separate bowl one at a time and then transferring the white to the bigger bowl. Normally, I do this. I don’t know why I didn’t the day I made this. Unfortunately, the third egg yolk broken (which never happens to me), ruining my bowl of whites, so I had to start over with new eggs. (That means I have two extra egg yolks in the fridge. Any suggestions on what to use them for?)

I used dark rum in my cake, and I loved the extra zing it gave over the more pedestrian vanilla. The friends who came over to tea suggested trying other liqueurs for the rum, maybe kirsch for some subtle cherry flavor. That sounds interesting. I sprinkled the top with the granulated brown sugar left over from the crème brulees. As in that recipe, the sugar didn’t melt as expected, so I’ll try turbinado, which melted better on my custards, the next time I make this cake.

This cake might be simplicity itself, but I know the other bloggers for French Fridays with Dorie are bound to put their own twist on things. For more ideas, check out their posts on the FFwD site.