This post really should have gone up about a week ago, but my other blog has been eating up some of my life – sorry! Luckily for you I spent Sunday working on writing about some things I’ve been baking over the last month, so we shouldn’t run dry for awhile. Hooray!
But on to my Easter baking!
I had a very nice Easter Sunday with my parents, and as usual took the opportunity to do some serious baking. Dessert was my responsibility again, and additionally I had an itch to make a traditional Easter bread ring that I’d been seen popping up all over blogs in the last few weeks. Hey, if one baked item was good, two must be better, right?
The Lemon Chess Pie recipe I used was another recipe from a cook book I’m loving more every day: A New Turn in the South. I wanted something light and springy (relating to the season, not texture) for our dessert, and this seemed like a perfect solution. The actual recipe is for Lemon Chess Pies – plural, with tartlet pans – but apparently tartlet pans are not for sale anywhere in the Atlanta area, so I finally gave up and figured everybody would be just as happy with a pie. Luckily, I was correct.
The recipe also suggested adding blackberry compote on top, something I thought sounded delicious. A quick cup of blackberries and a good slosh of a sweet dessert wine and I was in business. Sorry for my low-caliber pictures this post…I think I should really start saving for a new camera. >.>
So the pie and compote I finished the evening prior to Easter (how unusually expeditious of me!) and mixed the bread dough to rise for the braided Easter ring I had set in my sights. By that time, though, my resolve faded and I lapsed into “I’ll finish it tomorrow” mode. Alas, alas.
The next day at my parents’ phase 2 of bread-making went really well. I divided the dough into the right portions and even got my braid on. Once I successfully connected the ends together into a loop (amazing!), I seated some delightfully colored eggs and added sprinkles. After popping it in the oven, it became clear that this bread was going to be awesome.
And it sure looked that way when we took it out of the oven. It smelled amazing and despite some leaked color from the sprinkles, the bread looked wonderful. I was so proud of myself.
Then, of course, we tried it.
Yikes, I don’t think I’ve had worse bread in my life. It’s not like it was boring or the texture was wrong…it just tasted terrible. It was bland and tasteless except for an odd lemony after-taste that left a question on your face while swallowing. And I’m pretty sure it was my slacker habits that did me in. Blast!
First, while the bread called for orange juice and zest I decided to replace it with lemon since that’s all I had in my kitchen. “It’s all citrus!” I thought to myself. Second, I’m pretty sure I let the dough rise and sit out for way too long. I left it out for hours the previous afternoon, not paying attention to how long it’d been rising. After sitting in the fridge all night, the “second rise” after creating the braided loaf basically never happened.
Basically, I killed a beautiful loaf of bread. It was a sad day. At least the eggs were tasty. >.>
But on the bright side, the Lemon Chess Pie turned out great! It was light and sweet and I didn’t take any short cuts that screwed it up. Between the two things I baked on Easter, I’d definitely suggest the pie…not the loaf. Unless, of course, you’re not chronically allergic to following directions like me.
Adapted from A New Turn in the South
Makes 2 standard pies
This recipe is for the filling…get the book for the crust and compote recipes!
1. Either grind together the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor, or rub them together with your fingers.
2. IN a large bowl, beat the butter and salt with the sugar and lemon zest until well blended.
3. Add the eggs and corn syrup, then milk.
4. Add the cornmeal and flour.
5. Add the lemon juice.
6. Fill 2 pie crusts and bake the pie at 350F for 30-45 minutes; the pies should be slightly golden on top. Place a cookie sheet underneath in case the pies drip.
My parents are going to visit my Grandmother for Easter this year. Alas, I am unable to go (*shakes fist at plane ticket prices*), so in my stead I will be sending with them a tasty loaf’o'lemon cake. I think that’s an appropriate substitute for my presence.
(Sorry for the incredible yellow-ness of these pictures by the way; I didn’t have time to take them in natural light, so this is what food looks like with all the lights turned on in my apartment.)
I wanted to do something a little different for a dessert; I love chocolate, but have more and more recently been open to other flavors and a lemon cake/loaf sounded just right to me; yellows and lemons make me think of springtime and Easter. Besides, my Grandmother always has cookies at her house, and I’m not sure how well a frosted cake or cupcakes would have handled an eleven hour drive, so I thought a simple loaf of cakey goodness was the most logical choice, logistically.
I nabbed this recipe from Kim at Liv Life; she made Limoncello recently and since has been occasionally posting recipes using it. I have no limoncello of my own (not living in citrus-convenient California), but she said lemon juice would work just fine instead. Just to be clear, this recipe is not adapted…I didn’t change it one iota (except for its name…isn’t there something pleasant about alliteration?) – it didn’t need to be. I’m totally just being a copy cat today. *lazy dog stretch-and-yawn*
Since this was a gift I was unfortunately unable to sample it, though I did take a few strong whiffs – it was definitely lemony. It also pleasantly sprung back to the touch, so I think this will be a winner.
This is also, I just realized, another recipe using Greek yogurt. I’m starting to really like the texture it grants in a cake…plus I can pretend I’m being healthy. Double bonus (fruit AND yogurt?? This dessert is the epitome of health foods)!!
From Liv Life.
I made a roast chicken this week and whoa daddy was it awesome.
Have you ever made a small tweak to a recipe and had it turn out incredibly better than the original? That’s what happened to me and this chicken.
When I was living at home my mom used this roast chicken recipe pretty frequently…I’d say maybe once a month (plus leftovers that lasted for the rest of the week in soup, fajitas…*drool*); it was always one of my favorites. When I moved out on my own I Crock Pot’d the recipe thinking it would turn out just as tasty, but was disappointed with the result. Slow cooking is awesome, but the flavors just didn’t pop out the same way. So yesterday I bit the bullet and roasted the chicken instead. I say “bit the bullet” because it meant I had to wait 2 hours after getting home to eat delicious chicken instead of it being waiting in the Crock Pot for me when I returned from work. QQ.
Besides roasting the chicken as opposed to using the Crock Pot, I made one other small change: I used an orange instead of a lemon. When I whipped the recipe out I’d completely forgotten it required a lemon, so had not bothered to swing by the store and pick one up. Luckily I had an orange left in my fruit bowl (dying a slow, slow death) and figured – hoped – that it wouldn’t ruin anything. Surely, it did not.
What I love the most about this marinade recipe is that it seems to permeate the entire chicken without overpowering every bite. It’s not assaulting, simply enjoyable. It primarily makes the chicken taste like rosemary with slight honey undertones, but the citrus can definitely be tasted on occasion as well. The drippings especially tasted like orange, and it was truly fabulous.
So here’s a delicious and ridiculously easy marinade for a roast chicken. Actually I should amend that – I’m not sure it’s technically a marinade since no marinading is actually required….it’s more of a “rub” or “sauce”. It still tastes fantastic, though. I highly recommend trying it out…my whole apartment now smells like rosemary and chicken. Mmm…
Also, roasting the chicken with sweet potatoes and carrots does nothing but improve the meal. Just FYI. ^_^