- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a blender, combine the eggs, lemon juice, granulated sugar, lemon zest and orange zest. Process on high until smooth. Add the butter, replace the cover, and blend again on high until smooth. Set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the flour and powdered sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture looks sandy and the butter is fully incorporated into the flour and sugar.
- Place an 11-inch tart pan on a baking sheet. Pour the crust mixture into the pan. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (You can use the bottom of a cup to help press the crust more evenly on the bottom of the pan.)
- Pour the filing into the crust, then transfer the tart into the oven. Bake until the center is almost set, 30-35 minutes.
- Cool the tart completely. When ready to serve, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and cut into slices.
Beautifully lemony, I found this recipe here. Even better, it achieves the easy-peasy rating because you literally throw all the ingredients into a blender and a food processor and you're done! Per usual, I've adjusted the sugar levels a bit - not only do I usually apportion only 1 cup of sugar for something cake-sized these days, but I felt it really lets the brightness of the lemon shine through.
Originally from this page, this is a remarkable cake where it's neutral enough to go with just about any flavor (both sweet OR savory, to my surprise!) while still having enough character to be consumed on its own. One of my friends dumped gravy and cheese dip all over it and said it was just as good as with the macerated strawberries! I personally liked it just by itself or with a bit of strawberries, and another friend simply consumed it with some of the homemade whipped cream. Along with its simple, no-fuss recipe, this makes a fantastic staple to come back to over and over again.
For the cake:
I've always loved the idea of making bread but only ventured into that realm twice. Due to proofing times and my chaotic schedule, it was difficult to figure out when I was available to perform which step, and to be honest, it was difficult to make myself wait. I liked to just spend an hour doing everything and popping it into the oven - it was surprisingly difficult to perform a step, be patient for a few hours, then perform another step, then wait again, etc.
But I had just made pizza the other night and had half of a jar of olives still left over when this recipe landed in my inbox. The instructions seemed insanely easy for a bread recipe, so I gave it a try - and true to the article's claim, it really was as easy as it claimed! What came out was a beautifully aromatic, salty, crusty bread that I would be happy to pair up with all sorts of dips, spreads, you-name-it.
I love cereals and granola bars, but even eyeing nutritional labels like a hawk, I still find 99% of them sweeter than I prefer these days. So, I started looking up steps for making my own granola - and how can you go wrong with tons of spices like this recipe calls for?
This turned out surprisingly well for a first attempt! Maybe not quite as crunchy as I sometimes prefer, but more than just edible, and endlessly adjustable.
Alternative using soaked oatmeal:
I don't even remember how I stumbled across this recipe from Tending the Table anymore, but it was perfect for my needs at the time as I had a friend over who had a gluten allergy. And how can you go wrong with dark chocolate?
It was beautifully decadent, a little bit like a dense brownie except without all the carb guilt, and nicely balanced on sweetness. I didn't want to specially buy coconut sugar just for this, so followed an online guide that indicated one could substitute light brown sugar at about a 2/3 ratio, and it came out beautifully. This is also one of those magical baked goods that is even more delicious after it has sat in the fridge for a bit.
I had never heard of popovers, but I adore yorkshire pudding, so I just had to give these a try when it landed in my inbox from Epicurious. I actually debated long and hard with myself on whether I should buy a popover pan, but after a bit of research, decided that I better try it first without before getting yet another pan - especially one that would take up quite a bit of shelf space.
Thankfully, I saved quite a bit of investment in both money and space, as these turned out beautifully even without the dedicated popover pans. (Though they did make quite a bit of a mess of my muffin tins!) In fact, these barely lasted the hour, much less the day ... it was one of the rare hits that every single person in the household craved, and they're so light and airy that no one felt too guilty about scarfing down multiples in one sitting.
Popovers can be baked 4 hours ahead. Remove from pans and reheat on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until hot and crisp.
For once, I was actively hunting for something new to make when I stumbled across this recipe. The inspiration was the very first Thanksgiving feast I would be making on my lonesome, and I wanted to top it off with a dessert that was traditionally-themed without being completely traditional. This was, arguably, the biggest hit not only of the night's feasting (and not just because it was sweet) but nearly out of all the things I have ever baked for my family. Even my father, the most famous scrooge of the family, prompted me no less than three times as to when I was going to make it again!
Note: Remember to leave a little space at the top of the custard for the gelee. While you can get away with not doing so because the gelee should be a super-thin layer anyway, it was also very easy for the gelee to spill over the edges when I didn't account for it. While the custard will initially come out of the oven all puffed-up, it will settle in once it cools down, and should still have enough space for the gelee after being baked.
I discovered that I had an excess of filling and gelee after filling the tart to the brim. So have some ramekins ready and you can toss the extra in to be baked at the same time. Then you can "taste-test" guilt-free before the tart ever gets served!
Taken from this recipe, in terms of ingredients and method, this was not so different from the perennial favorite Mexican Wedding cookies. But the texture was quite different once baked, because the fat (butter, in this case) wasn't creamed evenly throughout the batter. I had joked to my mother that it looked like I was making a batch of mini-croissants; it turns out I wasn't too far off, because even though the dough came together, the food processor maintained little granules of the cold butter so that they baked into very lightweight cookies that crumbled in your mouth.
If you are lazy like me, you can just substitute powdered sugar for the vanilla sugar. Be aware, though, that this cuts down on the sweetness. This was perfectly fine for me, though. If you want to be even more super-lazy, forget about the crescent shapes and just form little half-domes like the mexican wedding cookies.
I also liked to up the cardamom and orange zest amounts, but you can certainly adjust to your taste. To help with the spreading, you can chill the cookies after they're formed on the baking sheet in the fridge for a half hour before putting in the oven.
I'm usually not a fan of pumpkin bread because I've tried enough of them to start forming this idea in my head that the pumpkin bread doesn't really taste like pumpkin or even bread, it just tastes like a really sweet bread-like cake. But this Fall season I made the mistake of forgetting to unpack a bunch of pie pumpkins from their grocery bags and within 2 days they were starting to get fuzzy around the stems, so I was forced to give them a bath and then bake them all at once. With bags and bags of pureed pumpkin now in the fridge, I had to go on a pumpkin-themed baking spree to try and free up some space.
Thank goodness for that, because after my family all got tired of the usual pies and cupcakes (I even tried a pumpkin-based drink) I finally broke down and tried this after it landed in my inbox ... and it has literally been the hit of everything pumpkin I've made so far. As usual, I cut the sugar (this time by quite a bit due to my usual experiences with pumpkin bread) and it turned out absolutely perfect with the sweet crumble top balancing it out.
Adapted from this recipe, don't let the "paleo" part fool you - this was a super-moist fluffy muffin that had none of the meal-like texture that I usually associate with nut or coconut-based flours. Granted, there's very little "flour" associated with it at all - just enough to hold everything together, which is why I love it since I'm highly sensitive to refined carbs. Even with all the bananas, it didn't taste over-sweet - in fact, some might find it not sweet enough, though I found it perfectly to my taste, especially with the walnuts to help add texture and the addition of some dark chocolate chips. I think this is a fabulous breakfast muffin, where you don't feel like you just ate a cup of sugar, can spread a little bit of butter and salt atop it if you'd rather have some savory than sweet, and feel like you ate something reasonably healthy with all the fruit and nut bases in it (not to mention a nice shot of chocolate)!
Part of the reason I started baking was because I like my goodies to be less obviously sweet - I want to taste the flavor, not just the sugar. So most of these recipes will have the sugar dialed down.