Monday, June 25, 2012

Lime Curd (aka Liquid Gold)

Lime Curd

There are certain things one should always keep on hand. Toilet paper, for example. And soap. Deodorant, also a good one.

This applies to the kitchen too. Olive oil. Eggs. Bacon (no seriously, why would you ever not keep bacon on hand?). Salt. And curd--duh.

This lime curd is known affectionately around these parts (meaning my house, meaning by me) as liquid gold. Look how silky...

Lime Curd Almond Cake
This is a mini almond cake lime curd smothering situation.

I know what you're thinking: "Didn't you just post about lemon curd?" Yes, but I have toyed around and majorly improved upon that recipe. (And made it with the more seasonally appropriate lime.) So listen up people. Listen the frig up! Because this is it. This is real talk.

Perfectly tart-sweet lime flavor talk. Smooth, thick, satiny talk. Delicious talk.

Spread it on an English muffin. Bake it in an almond cake. Spoon it over peach slices. Because one way or another, you will be consuming this lime curd at an alarmingly rapid rate. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rose Water Tartlets with Vanilla Sugared Berries

Rose Water Berry Tartlets

I have horrible luck transporting tartlets. I've been trying to figure out why I have this problem, and I think it stems from my serious love of these things. (Because I do have a serious freaking love of tartlets.) It's like I try to be too careful, which results in me overcompensating, which results in exploded tartlets inside my pastry carrier--smears of pastry cream, runaway berries, broken tart shells--and a sad me. It's not a pretty sight folks. Delicious, yes. But definitely not pretty. Unless you're into that whole abstract, deconstructed dessert thing. Then tart explosions are for you! For me, though, they only result in something like a toddler who lost her mom at the grocery store. And as an adult woman, that, too, is not pretty.

Anyway, can we talk about how pastry cream is this amazingly magical thing. So easy to make yet so incredibly satisfying and delicious and adaptable. I want to do a million different things with pastry cream, make a million different versions of pastry cream, put a million different things on and in pastry cream, and, ya know, eat it out of a cute bowl with berries and a spoon...

[In retrospect, perhaps that also contributes to my transportation problem--I get a tad overzealous when filling tartlet shells with pastry cream, thinking I can fit much more than I actually can. Not good for transporting. But very good for eating.]

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bourbon Banana Nut Bread

See that bottom slice? It's soaking in bourbon glaze. It's going to be super-bourboned. In the best way.

Sometimes I just want something fulfilling and simple, like a fried egg or french fries or banana bread, ya know? Sometimes I also want bourbon. Who am I kidding, most times I want bourbon.

Actually, I always thought I was a gin kinda gal (see previous post... I quite clearly am), but I have learned that I also have a serious affection for bourbon. I've decided that bourbon is kind of like a dog--always makes you feel like you're awesome but can sometimes cause trouble. I like that. Plus, bourbon pairs really well with my favorite ginger beer, with my nerves, and now with my super ripe bananas.

At this point, I feel I should provide a disclaimer. I don't have to have alcoholic glaze with eeeverything I bake. It's just that, well, it's summaaatiiime. Gin and bourbon glazed desserts are totally allowed/encouraged in my book. Onward!
This bread is thick and moist and nutty and has lots of sexy quick bread crevices to capture that kick of bourbon glaze. It's breakfast, it's dessert, it's an after-work cocktail. These are beautiful things happening here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jarred Lavender Custard with Blackberry Gin Glaze

lavender custard

When I'm feeling fancy, I tend to reach for champagne. That champagne is then usually promptly deposited into a mason jar for sipping.

Sometimes I like my fancy dressed down a touch, i.e., champagne in a mason jar, Keds with a date-night dress. You know, that sort of thing.

It's sort of like this. This silky, flowery custard with satiny gin berry glaze is super duper fancy. You totally deserve fancy. And since everything tastes better in a mason jar (and since 4 oz. mason jars are some of the cutest containers around), this custard deserves to be housed in one. This is fancy-dressed-down dessert. Which works out well with all the post-custard-consumption jar-licking I see in my future. So fancy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lemony Almond Cake with Blackberry Cream

Lemon Almond Cake

A few months ago while taking a children's rights class, I realized that I was twenty-five years old and had never seen my birth certificate. I decided that it probably wasn't good that my parents didn't have a copy and I didn't have a copy and that no one seemed to have a copy. So I ordered one online. As I waited for it to arrive, I considered the possibility that I wasn't blood related to my parents, mainly because I look nothing like either of them. But alas, my birth certificate arrived, and there in typewriter black letters was the proof that my parents are, in fact, my parents. Damn. ...just kidding! Love you, mom and dad.

Anyway, I went home to hang with my parents this past weekend. Maybe it's the sentimentality present in everything there. Or maybe it's the large patio, the multitude of trees, and the vaulted ceiling of my bedroom. Or maybe it's just being near my parents again. But as much as I absolutely love my new home in Atlanta, being back at home felt rather calming, despite everything that was going on.

My dad is one of those awesome people who stores half eaten fruit pies with untidy fork edges in the oven with a quick-bite utensil. I'm not saying I take after my dad, but I'm sort of saying that. Pie is just freakin' good. Cake, also good. I'm not typically a huuuge cake person. But this cake. This cake is for real, good stuff. Crispy top. Moist almond cake. Soft lemon curd sporadically throughout. This cake is forkfuls of divine.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cherry Plum Clafoutis Cups

Cherry Plum Clafoutis

Well hello June, it's nice to see you!

I like June.

June brings good things.

Official summer things. Like sun and heat. Dresses and sandals. Iced coffee and cold treats. Farmers markets and summery fruits.

cherries and plums

You should know something about me. I have this thing with fruit. I eat fruit for breakfast. I fulfill my snacking needs with fruit. I make fruit fit swimmingly well with lunch, perhaps in a salad or on peanut butter, and into dinner, perhaps roasted and thrown in pasta. I always want fruit in my dessert, in any form really. And have we discussed how a $3 bag of Georgia peaches causes grabbings for bourbon? It's sort of a problem. Onto cherries and plums!

Let's toss them in a shortcrust, cover them in custard, and make clafoutis. Clafoutis is a French cake-like custardy dessert, traditionally made with cherries and without a crust in a full size tart pan or pie plate. But because plums look like giant cherries sans stems and because mini versions of things bring happiness and because I just love short dough so freaking much, let's make cutie clafoutis! Let's call them clafoutis cups! Yes, let's.