For Blackbird I shall be posting a range of lemon recipes. The first is for my standby-for-all-occasions Lemon Sauce Cake. The recipe originally came from the now defunct TV program Burke’s Backyard and years later when I went for a job with the production company Mr Don Burke himself told me that recipe was the most requested in the shows entire history. I think it ran for something like ten years, if not more.
It is a simple butter cake pepped up with some lemon rind and then a simple sugar and lemon juice syrup is poured over the cake as it comes out of the oven. The original recipe gave 1/4 cup measures for the sauce, but I like it pretty moist and 1/2 cup amounts was too much so 1/3 cup was just right. I have only ever made it with the almonds three or four times in the near-on 20 years I’ve made this recipe, but it is lovely with them, adding a nice textural contrast.
It is easy to make, delicious to eat and infinitely comforting for both reasons.
Lemon Sauce Cake
3/4 cup caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin
Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind
Add eggs one at a time
Fold in flour and milk
Pour into tin
Bake for 50 minutes
Mix lemon juice and sugar together in a saucepan, and cook until sugar is dissolved
As you take the cake from the oven skewer a few holes all over the cake and gently pour over the syrup
The first time I made these was sometime in 1988. Then they fell by the wayside for a decade or two. Now it is back in high rotation. It is tart and moreish, and basically impossible to stuff up. It says to cool the base before pouring over the topping but I never do. Maybe it’s a completely different slice if I actually followed that step! Who cares, it is devoured each and every time I make it. It gets made at least once a month in this house and THAT is saying something.
Completing a DBC always makes me puff out the chest and squeal ‘look what I made!’
This month was no different. The lovely Jen from Canadian Baker put the challenge out there – lemon meringue pie. A creation I had wanted to make but always got freaked out by never got around to.
So guess what. Look what I made! Some of my initial thoughts on this recipe:
– the pastry was a delight to work with and I’m going to use it again
– the filling was an absolute CINCH to make and while it was cornflour based, it didn’t have too much of that clag glue consistency or, indeed, taste.
– the meringue – something I make time and time again – threw me. Stupid I know, but I was all ‘is that thick and glossy’ when I know exactly what thick and glossy meringue looks like. So I think I either over mixed it or perhaps undermixed it as it was more dry and aerated. Annoying. I was going to make it again but any dessert with three components and various cooking/cooling requirements need some time allocated, something I have very little of at the moment until the boys go back to school.
– I made 12 tartlets and 9 mini-tartlets – the minis were everyone’s favourite.
– there was a moderate concern about the amount of liquid that came from the meringues, but it seemed to settle down and didn’t impact the pastry or flavour.
– would I make it again? Definitely.
the mini version
Lemon Meringue Pie From Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, Wanda Beaver Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie
For the Crust:
3/4 cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water
For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar
To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible.
Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.
Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together.
Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk.
Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll.
On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm).
Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin.
Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm).
Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.
Cool completely before filling.
To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan.
Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes.
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick.
Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth.
Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated.
Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined.
Pour into the prepared crust.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.
To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks.
Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.
You know the whole cupcake phenomenon? I don’t really get it. I’m not a big fan of the little cake – the cupcake, the muffin, the the… friand. They just don’t really do it for me. If I’m eating cake I want a decent slice of it. A slab preferably. But then I see their value in being a self-contained unit – you get cake, you get icing, you get it all in a nice little package. Just like these.
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
approximately 120ml milk
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 200C
Melt the butter and set aside to cool
Combine all the dry ingredients and lemon zest in a bowl
Squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring jug then add enough of the milk to make up 200ml (it will curdle, which is fine)