This is a recipe for beautiful deviled eggs, but before we get to it, I’ll ask that you let me tell you about the last couple of days first. I know the eggs are distracting, I mean, look at them! If I could give you one right through the screen, I would.
But the setting we enjoyed them in was even better. This past weekend I saw coastal wildflowers blooming purple and yellow, misty morning vistas, colorful buoys and wave-whipped fishing boats. I saw a friendly covey of quail, flashy red-winged blackbirds, sleek, needle-nosed blue herons, and a single jack rabbit with ears tall and straight. There was crystallized honey the color of creamy butterscotch, and seals bobbing amidst the rocks at the surf line. I was visiting friends in Bolinas – the perfect overnight. We had a tasty dinner of mostly leftovers, morning coffee by a fire. When it came time to fall asleep, it was so quiet compared to nights in San Francisco, all I could hear was my heart beating. Even better than the peace and quiet, I came home with a sack of fruits from a monstrous avocado tree. These deviled eggs were part of our dinner spread. Leftover from Friday’s lunch, they made the trip north with me.
The filling is mixed, mashed, and fluffed into a light herb-flecked dollop. Toasted almonds add the crunch, chive flowers bring the pretty. They’re not technically deviled, as there is no paprika or mustard in this version, but you can always tweak the filling to your liking with either.
I pulled over to look up the coast from the cliffs above Stinson Beach looking north. The morning grey had yet to clear. The next shot is the view when I opened my eyes in the morning from perhaps the best guest room ever. And my leftover box packed for Bolinas – soup, eggs, Josey Baker Bread, various toppings and condiments.
Happy Friday, everyone! Okay, who else is excited about springing forward this weekend? Sunlight until 7pm…I can just taste those brighter evenings! *gives the finger to winter* Bring on the evening light.
I hope you enjoy this week’s Q&A roundup. Have a wonderful weekend!
Q1. I’m currently in my first trimester and having trouble drinking water (it just doesn’t taste good at all). I’m wondering if you struggled with this during either of your pregnancies and what you did to make sure you got enough water? It’s so important!
Hey Sam, Congrats on your pregnancy! I also struggled with water aversion during the first four months of my pregnancies. I just felt so nauseous and water didn’t sound enticing in the slightest. What I ended up doing (and it worked great!) was adding some juice to my water to help it taste better. I don’t usually drink juice, so mixing some into my water made it taste so flavourful and sweet…it was such a treat, and I found myself guzzling back the fruity water in no time! Sometimes I would drink straight up coconut water too—that’s also a nice option to switch things up. (Side note: I use this juice-enhanced water trick when our kids are sick as I find it motivates them to drink more fluids too.) Adding sliced fruit to water (like spa water) also seems popular these days, but I don’t really care for it—I find the fruit’s flavour rarely infuses enough to make a difference, and I would rather eat the fruit on its own. If you can stomach smoothies, using a cup of water as the base is another great way to “disguise” water and increase your fluid intake. You might have luck with Chia Fresca (shown in the photo), as well. It’s a natural energy drink made with water, chia seeds, citrus juice, and sweetener. You can find my Chia Fresca recipe here.
Q2. Hi Angela, I love these Ask Angela posts! I just made a copy of your “What I Eat in Winter Daily” to hang above my refrigerator as motivation! I was wondering if in the near future you could talk more about your philosophy toward drinking alcohol. Do you and/or your husband drink wine/beer/cocktails/etc.? Do you limit your intake for health reasons at all? I am an American living in England and have noticed people drink SO casually over here. Although I don’t drink every day, it is very common for people to have wine with almost every dinner meal. I’d love to hear your two cents on this and what you feel works for you and your family. Thanks!
Hey Cindy, Aww that’s so sweet you printed the list! Thanks for the Ask Angela series love. As for drinking habits, Eric and I aren’t big drinkers these days (I think we both drank enough throughout university to last a lifetime, haha). Lately we’ve noticed alcohol gives us headaches SO easily…maybe we’re getting old…I don’t know! I’ll enjoy alcoholic drinks here and there for special occasions and events, but I don’t drink on a regular basis. I have to say that the lack of sleep that comes along with being a parent of two toddlers is further motivation to try to feel my best at all times. When I do drink, I find a vodka soda with lime leaves me feeling pretty good, and my system seems to handle it better than wine. I hope you’re enjoying England!
Q3. Hi Angela, your 3-Layer Nut-Free Dream Cups look so delicious and I can’t wait to make them this weekend! Have you ever tried using your Vitamix to make the coconut butter? I don’t have a food processor but would love to make my own. Thanks!
Hey Alema, yes, you can absolutely make coconut butter in the Vitamix! I would suggest using at least two cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (sometimes smaller amounts have a hard time blending) and also using the Tamper to help push it along. You may have to stop blending to scrape down the container during the process too. I prefer my food processor to make coconut butter because I find the clean up is much easier (I’m not a big fan of scooping butters out of the bottom of the Vitamix…#nopatience), but both types of machines will work. 😉
Q4. Hi Angela, First of all I am such a huge fan of your recipes! I have your first cookbook and the app and delight in making a TON of your recipes. My personal faves though would have to be your Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze (and I have tried a lot of vegan mac and cheeses), Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew (The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p.129) and Double-Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake (The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p.249)! I’m wondering if you could share the cookware you use? Stainless steel (like All-Clad), cast iron skillet, non-stick, baking dishes, etc.? Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated!
Hey Katherine, Thank you so much for all the recipe love! Your support means so much to me. And congrats on your engagement…such an exciting time! The cookware brands I currently use are: Le Creuset (for stovetop and oven cooking); All-Clad and Zwilling (for stainless steel options); and Ozeria Green Earth and Zwilling (for frying pans). I like Wilton pans for baking too.
Q5. Hi Angela, I’m a fan of your cookbooks and I recently bought the second one. I’m wondering how to thicken the Satiety Smoothie (Oh She Glows Every Day, p.19) (or any smoothie for that matter) when I’m not using protein powder. I assume it’s the protein powder that thickens your smoothies? Can you recommend a few different flavourless or complementary flavour ways I can thicken them without it?
Hey Jessica, Thank you for the cookbook love! I’m obsessed with making thick, creamy smoothies, and I love playing around with ingredients to produce a filling, stick-to-your-ribs texture. I love to use one or more of the following: avocado, ice, coconut butter, frozen banana, and almond (or other nut/seed) butter. Another simple option is to reduce the amount of liquid called for and it’ll be thicker without any other swaps.
Q6. Hi Angela, I made the Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole from The Oh She Glows Cookbook (p. 149) last night. It was SO GOOD…even my husband enjoyed it! I am wondering, since it’s just the two of us, can I freeze some of the leftovers?
Hey Kristina, I’m so glad you both enjoyed the Tex-Mex Casserole! It freezes quite well. I would suggest leaving off the tortilla chip and avocado toppings if you plan on freezing it. (The chips can be added during the reheating process and the avocado can be added just before serving.) I like to freeze casseroles in a large freezer bag (with the air pressed out) or an airtight glass container. It should be fine in the freezer for a month (or maybe longer, depending on your freezer and how the casserole is stored).
“You’re a lifesaver! My son is allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts, and it can be challenging to celebrate his birthdays when I myself am not a baker. But I have been using your Fail-Proof Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Buttercream for the last 5 years, and I love how he can bring it to school to feel involved in class celebrations. I freeze a batch and send it in his lunch box when needed. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!
I’m so honoured, Karm…picturing your son being able to celebrate along with his class is so touching! He’s so lucky to have such a thoughtful mom. 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you both when I make these!
Some recipes I make over and over again, and some I don’t. I’m not sure why, but once a recipe becomes part of my repertoire, I tend to stick with it. However as a diversion from my usual Parisian hot chocolate recipe, I revisited this one, which I learned to make in Belgium. I’d forgotten how good it was!
I made this hot chocolate recipe when I did an internship at Wittamer, one of the best chocolate shops in Brussels. And let me tell you, there’s plenty of competition in that town.
Continue Reading Belgian Hot Chocolate Recipe…
The weeks seem to be flying by at a faster rate than ever this year. I have so many things I want to share on this space, but every week I seem to get to Friday and again, I’ve run out of time. Anyone else feeling like that?
I recently spent time with 6 of my closest friends, many of whom I’ve known since birth. In the hired house at the beach, we did nothing but talk and eat. It was perfect, life affirming and cup filling. There really is something to be said about spending time with other women, especially when the love and respect we all have for each other runs deep. Happy International women’s day to every single female, the world over.
A few of my favourite things of late…
– This face oil is amazing.
– In case you missed it…
– I’m a Shakti mat convert.
– Cool song.
– Magnesium oil spray. I use a locally made one, but magnesium oil is readily available. I spray on the bottom of my feet before bed for a deep restful sleep.
– Love this.
– This sounds amazing.
– Signing up for this.
Pineapple, lime + coconut delicious pudding
This tropical take on Australia’s much loved lemon delicious pudding sees finely diced pineapple, coconut and zesty lime take centre stage. It also happens to be gluten-free! Find brown rice flour at selected supermarkets and healthfood stores.
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
150 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup (35 g) brown rice flour
1/4 cup (25 g) gluten-free cornflour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
3/4 cup (150 g) unrefined raw sugar
1/3 cup (25 g) desiccated coconut
Finely grated rind of 1 lime
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk or unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) lime juice
4 free-range eggs, separated
Unrefined icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Lightly grease 6 x 1 cup capacity ovenproof ramekins or bowls, then place into a deep oven tray. Evenly divide pineapple between ramekins/bowls. Put the jug on to boil.
Sift brown rice flour, cornflour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add sugar, coconut and lime zest, whisk to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk milk, lime juice and egg yolks. Pour into dry ingredients and whisk to form a smooth runny batter. Using a whisk and a clean bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whites into the batter then transfer to prepared ramekins/bowls. Pour boiling water into the oven tray to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins/bowls, transfer to the oven and cook on the middle shelf 25-30 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and serve dusted with a little icing sugar.
This recipe was first created for and featured on SBS Food.
Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! To celebrate, we’re back with our second Glow Getter profile featuring Toronto-based author, speaker, and nutritionist Meghan Telpner. Before we dive in, a big thanks for all the love you gave our first Glow Getter profile spotlighting routine natural deodorant founders Pippa and Neige Blair. I was so excited to see so many new and old fans of routine and I appreciate you taking time to read and comment on our first post! I’ve been at a bit of a crossroads debating which direction to take my own business, so these inspiring interviews couldn’t have come at a better time.
Meghan Telpner is the founder of Toronto’s Academy of Culinary Nutrition, and all it takes is five minutes hearing her speak to know she’s the spunky teacher I think everyone wished they had growing up. But Meghan’s journey into teaching nutrition had its twists and turns…would you believe her first degree was in fashion design? It was through a personal journey to healthy living that Meghan found her passion in holistic nutrition and “undieting“—the term Meghan coined to describe her personal philosophy about eating well without deprivation. I relate to her philosophy so much as I struggled with disordered eating for over a decade before gradually learning how to eat intuitively.
In 2006, Meghan began sharing her passion for health and nutrition with others, offering small cooking classes in Toronto. Demand grew, and so did Meghan’s business, expanding to include online video courses as well. Eventually, in 2014, Meghan took the leap to create her own school, where students can now take one-of-a-kind classes in the Culinary Nutrition Expert program. Over 1,000 students in more than 32 countries have participated! Meghan’s playful style makes learning about the nitty gritty of nutrition fun and exciting, and I love how her down-to-earth approach keeps things feeling fresh and accessible too. In 2016, she was named one of Forbes’ Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs in Canada, and somehow I think that’s just the beginning for Meghan!
Let’s see what she had to say in our signature Glow Getter Rapid-Fire Q&A…I think Meghan’s advice for fellow entrepreneurs is something we should remind ourselves of daily!
*Meghan, please don’t change a thing…just looking at your colourful wardrobe makes us HAPPY!
Amen, sister! Thank you so much Meghan for taking part in our Glow Getter series. I hope everyone has a wonderful International Women’s Day!
People sometimes put me on the spot. They hear that I’ve been writing about drinks on Serious Eats for a long while now, and they come to the conclusion that I can whip up a cocktail without any preparation. It wouldn’t be that daunting a request, except that the requester will frequently offer a liquor cabinet stocked with nothing but tequila, vodka, and the dregs of a jar of maraschino cherries.
I aim to please, though. And luckily, I recently wrote a book called The One-Bottle Cocktail, which contains dozens of drink recipes using a single spirit—that tequila or that vodka—mixed with ingredients from your pantry, plus fresh ones you can pick up when you’re stopping at the market for dinner supplies. For the cocktails in this book, you don’t need bitters, or a fresh bottle of vermouth.
When I got the request at a dinner party this past winter, I said yes before I’d even looked around. After surveying the cabinet, I dutifully scrounged around my host’s fridge, scoring some grapefruits and hot sauce. I had a drink in mind: a version of the Passport to Chile, one of my favorite recipes from the book. Created by Matt Friedlander of New York’s Sweetwater Social, the drink aims to highlight the floral character of pisco, a grape brandy made in Peru and Chile. Grapefruit and honey help the pisco’s flavors shine, and lime adds further brightness. A small amount of hot sauce perks the whole thing up a bit, and a sprinkle of flaky salt deepens the flavor.
Here’s the lucky part. While I was gathering recipes for the book, many of the bartenders sharing drinks added a note that said something like “This is a bourbon drink, but it also works with rum” or “Here’s a gin cocktail, but I like it with tequila, too.” That’s because at some level, each of these recipes pairs a single spirit with a fresh cocktail mix—grapefruit and lime and hot sauce and honey, say—that’s remarkably flexible. So once I’d made all the drinks and picked my favorites for the book, I went back and made them all again with a few different spirits, then made a list of the liquor swaps that worked best (provided at the end of each chapter).
At the dinner party in question, if I had been the most gracious guest, I might have gone out to find a bottle of pisco for my host. Since I’m not quite that gracious, and it was really, really cold out, I was glad for this swap list as I prepped the pitcher. The Passport to Chile works wonderfully with pisco, but it’s fantastic with blanco tequila, too, which gives the drink a softly herbal spin. (It also tastes just fine with vodka—the unflavored spirit lets the fresh citrus shine.)
If you have a really big crowd, you can make the drink two ways, batching a version with each of two spirits and letting your guests taste both. You can even ask them to vote on a winner—not that there’s any reason to choose.
Oooh oooh, all the ways we’ve come to enjoy cake.
We can stack it high and chocolate frost it. We can top it with candles and light it on fire. We can slice it large and eat it greedily. Heck… we can bake it in a paper cups and still call it a cake. Bundt it? That’s as fine an idea as any.
What’s so deeply glorious about cake is that it signifies an occasion, grand or otherwise. Certainly if there’s cake, there’s something to celebrate like a big birthday or a… big beautiful morning with coffee.
Enjoying cake is one thing… baking a cake is its own saga of heroes and triumphs. I’ve thrown enough flour around my kitchen while becoming a baker to know that every cake has its story of butter temperature, and sugar ratios, egg whipping, and batter folding. Cake, despite what the boxed mixes in the grocery store might have you think, is so beautifully nuanced and specific and in this case… so very French.
We’re making Petit Fours! These in particular are small, layered, dense almond cakes filled (very American style) with peanut butter and jelly, and frosted with white and semi-sweet chocolate glaze.
So, how do you feel about a baking adventure?
This is a pretty extensive recipe. The cake batter is rather amiable and bakes up sturdy and golden. The filling and stacking is straight forward. It’s just the glazing of the cakes that takes both patience and a metric ton of glaze. All worth it for the sake of sweet, playful, hand-held cakes. Cake heroes indeed, let’s bake!
A good while ago I wrote some words on How To Read A Recipe. A recipe is a formula and a guide and has it’s own specific format. Really though, the most important part of reading a recipe… is actually READING the recipe.
If these little cakes are something you’ve never made before, give the recipe a read before you get started. I promise it’ll help smooth out the process.
This recipe calls for a delightful amount of almond paste. Almond will be the base flavor of these cakes and the paste will keep the cakes both dense and moist.
I found almond paste in the baking aisle of the grocery store. It comes in a tall and skinny box, inside of which there will be a silver cylinder of almond paste. I’ve picked this almond paste up in the grocery store. But King Arthur Flour (we love them!) has an almond paste that’s wonderful.
In addition to the base flavor of almond paste, we’ll also need:
- room temperature eggs
- equal parts softened butter, granulated sugar, and all-purpose flour
- salt and pure vanilla extract for a balance of flavors
- white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate for the glaze
- corn syrup and powdered sugar, in large amounts
We’ll start by adding the sugar and almond paste to a stand mixer.
Give it a whirl. The almond paste is thick and needs to be broken up in the mixer. The two ingredients won’t be thoroughly combined – they’ll be crumble and that’s right!
To the almond paste and sugar mixture we’ll add the softened butter – gradually. Add the butter in four of five allotments, mixing well in between additions.
You might even stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and you add more butter. Once all of the butter is added, beat of medium speed until it’s slightly pale and visibly more fluffy than when you started.
The mixture will look like this! Remember, it’s just almond paste, sugar, and butter.
It’s thoroughly combined and well aerated. That’s what you’re going for.
Next we’ll add the eggs.
I’ve measured my eggs into a measuring cup because we’ll need 3/4 cup (or 190 grams) of eggs without the shells. For me, the was three large eggs – but it might be four for you.
The eggs are added one at a time (more of less). Incorporate the eggs for one minute between each addition.
And while you’re being so thorough, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl while you’re working the eggs in.
Add the vanilla extract. A good splash of vanilla extract and, if you happen to have it on hand, a small splash of almond extract to reinforce the almond paste.
The last two ingredients of the cake base is salt.
Just a small amount of sea salt will do!
And we’ll incorporate 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour too. Just to bring some added stability to the cake crumb.
Now let’s talk about our baking pan.
We’ll use a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 inch – pan. I’ve heard it referred to as a jelly roll pan. If you aren’t sure which of your pan is the right size, bust out that measuring tape and see! It’s very specific, isn’t it? This size pan is important. We want the cake to bake evenly and to the right thickness.
Grease the pan (bottom and sides) with either butter or nonstick baking spray, line with parchment paper (don’t skip this step!), and grease the parchment paper as well.
You’re great! You’re doing great!
Spoon the thick and fluffy cake batter into the prepared and and spread it evenly from corner to corner.
I used an offset spatula, which comes in super handy. A butterknife would also work. Try to get the batter as evenly as possible across the surface.
Ready for the oven!
The cake will bake for about 15 minutes. Maybe 18. You’ll know it’s done when the cake is golden brown, pulls away from the edges of the pan, and is lightly springy to the touch.
Once out of the oven, allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pan where the cake might be sticking and use a spatula and your hands to coax the slightly warm cake and the attached parchment paper out of the pan and only a big clean cutting board.
This is where a ruler can come in handy. We want to be as exacting as we can be in dividing the cake into thirds.
We’ll trim the edges once all of the layers are pressed together so, for now, divide the cake into three equal pieces.
You can see that, in dividing the cake into thirds, I also sliced through the parchment paper. The attached paper mostly makes the cake pieces easier to transport.
Flip your first third of cake over and place it, top down, on a clean pan (again lined with parchment paper – I swear it comes in handy!).
To that first cake layer we’ll spread our smooth peanut butter. Just a thin layer as a glue layer to our cake stack.
Next – the second cake layer. Again top side down. Try to line it up as evenly as possible to the first layer. Edge to edge is the way to be.
The second layer of cake gets a thin layer or seedless raspberry or strawberry jam. Spread evenly and sparingly.
Finally, we add our third and final cake layer, top side down, flush with the first two layers.
You can leave that final piece of parchment paper on top of the cake. It’ll come in handy.
Add a second sheet pan to the cake and place a large can of something on top of the pan. Maybe you have a big can of tomatoes or something in the pantry? Add it to the top of the pan as a weight and let the cake rest in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours (though you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight, too.)
The time in the refrigerator helps the cake and filling stick together and solidify. It’s precious / important time.
When the cake comes out of the refrigerator the cake will be chilled and firm. This isn’t a crumbly cake (thank goodness) so it will trim and slice well.
Slowly and carefully trim the edges of the cake so that each side of the cake is free of those crisp cake edges.
Measure your cake. Yup – pull of that ruler again, and see how you can slice the cake.
With the cake positioned in front of me horizontally, I could slice even 1 3/4-inch slices.
I stacked the cake batons on top of one another to ensure that I cut straight and even.
Look at these sweet little squares! Let’s glaze them.
Now…. let me tell you something about this glaze. It’s stable and amiable – but it sure can be a little fussy when it comes to glazing.
The pink glaze is a mixture of white chocolate, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and hot water. I added a swipe of pink food coloring to create this pink hue. There are three things to know to successfully glaze these gems:
• Whisk the glaze together in a heat proof glass or metal bowl. Have a pan of water simmering on the stove and return the bowl of finished glaze to the simmering water creating a double boiler to warm the glaze as it thickens.
• You’ll need a lot lot lot of glaze. It takes a while to get the hang of pouring the glaze. It takes a while to get the hang of keeping the temperature at the 100 degrees F – that seems to be the ideal temperature.
• Glaze these cakes on a wire rack set above a clean parchment lined baking sheet. You can glaze the cakes, and return the excess glass four on the parchment to the bowl, reheat that glaze, and reuse it!
While the pink glaze is a mixture that includes white chocolate, the chocolate glaze is a mixture that contains semi-sweet chocolate chips. I love how the two look together so I made a big batch of both glazes. Honestly, I needed the two big batches. These cakes required more glaze than I anticipated.
Finally, I happened to have edible gold dust on hand (this is just a thing that happens when you live in New Orleans). It’s lovely but not totally necessary.
And finally! Royal icing! It’s simply powdered sugar, citrus, and egg white whipped together. Royal icing is great because it hardens rather quickly and sets into place.
Add some simple dot and line designs. I mean, we’ve come this far… let’s make it nice.
I mean dang, they were a lot of work, but they’re charming as ever.
And luckily, the density of the almond paste in this cake makes each bite filling and satisfying. In other words, it’s not like me with a tray of deviled eggs, trying to fit as many in my mouth as I can.
All of your hard work will be appreciated.
Jon and I made these photos together and we hope that they’re helpful in your petit four baking adventure.
- 2/3 pound (300 grams) almond paste
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 5 medium pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- small splash pure almond extract (optional)
- 3/4 cup (about 4 large eggs) (190 grams without shell), at room temperature
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
- 1/2 cup hot water, divided
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
- pink food coloring
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 inch (44 x 32 x 2.5 cm) baking pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Butter or spray the top of the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
- Place the almond paste in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until broken up. Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be crumbly.
- Gradually add the butter, in 5 or 6 pieces, and continue to beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to thoroughly combine.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract (if using). Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition until well combined.
- Lastly, beat in the flour and salt. Use a spatula to finish incorporating the batter.
- Evenly spread the batter into your pan and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife or spatula along the sides of the pan and then gently slide the cake, along with the parchment paper, onto a cutting board. Allow to cool completely.
- Use a ruler to measure and divide the cake into three equal pieces.
- Take the first layer and flip it top side down onto a clean baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Peel off the parchment paper and spread the peanut butter evenly over the top of the cake. Take a second layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the peanut butter, lining up evenly. Peel off the parchment paper and spread the raspberry or strawberry preserves evenly on the top of the cake. Finally take the last layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the preserves. Cover the whole cake with plastic wrap loosely and then place a baking pan and large can of something (tomatoes or something) on top of the pan as a weight. This will compact the cake layers. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours, or overnight.
- Once the cake is firm, remove from refrigerator, and use a serrated knife to evenly trim the edges of the cake.
- Again use a ruler to measure out even rectangles and then squares and slice as evenly as possible.
- Place the mini cakes on a baking rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet that;s been lined with parchment paper. Next, make the glaze.
- We’re making two batches of glaze: one white chocolate glaze tinted pink, and one semi-sweet chocolate glaze. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Place a heatproof bowl over the simmering water – add and melt the white chocolate, stirring until smooth.
- Sift in 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cupcorn syrup and 1/4 cup hot water, stirring until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and a small amount of pink food coloring and stir in.
- Do the same for the semi sweet chocolate batch of glaze in a separate bowl.
- If the mixture is too thick to pour, reheat it briefly over the double boiler, and stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons additional water. The mixture is easiest to work with, and pours smoothly, at about 100°F.
- Generously pour one glaze at a time over half of the cakes, one at a time. The corners are the hardest to cover to concentrate your efforts. You can scoop the unused glaze from the parchment paper back into the bowl, reheat it oner the double boiler, and continue to glaze each cake.
- Change out the parchment paper and do the same with the chocolate glaze, generously pouring warmed chocolate glaze over the remaining half of the cakes, one at a time. Recycle the glaze as you need.
- To make the royal icing, place the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixerand whisk until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add a pinch of salt. If needed, add a few drops of water until you get the correct piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a narrow round tip. Decorate the tops of the cakes with dots and stripes.
- Store the Petit Fours in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. They can also be frozen for about a month. (If freezing, do not decorate with the royal icing.) To defrost, place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
“That ice cream was like eating a frozen lemon meringue pie!”
When that text popped up on my phone, I knew my father had found the stash of ice cream I’d left in his freezer, and that my mission was a success. Lemon meringue pie is his favorite dessert, second only to ice cream, so I had wanted to surprise him with a mash-up for quite some time.
My initial tests, with classic supermarket lemons, were almost painfully sour. So when thin-skinned Meyer lemons started showing up, I knew I’d found my solution to the ice cream of his dreams. Compared to the lemons we get all year round, Meyer lemons have an undeniable sweetness behind their gentle bite, and a more floral aroma. For that reason, they can be a little lackluster in recipes that need a strong dose of acidity to cut through lots of sugar and fat—for me, Meyer lemons can be a little cloying in lemon bars and curd.
But their sweet and floral acidity was perfect for ice cream, giving it a beautiful flavor and tang, while the essential oil in their zest upped the lemon flavor and aroma without affecting the acidity. Used together, Meyer lemon zest and juice make for a bright and tangy ice cream that’s surprisingly light and refreshing.
My approach to this ice cream isn’t exactly traditional, but it’s easy as pie—quite literally, as the formula’s based on the filling of my creamy lime pie. It makes for a fairly lean but super-intense foundation; nothing but sugar, cornstarch, whole eggs, and Meyer lemon juice and zest.
Cornstarch in ice cream is nothing new; it helps create a thick and creamy base in an eggless formula, or in this case, a low-egg formula. With only two whole eggs, rather than the equivalent weight of yolks, this ice cream has a leaner, more refreshing profile. Meanwhile, the cornstarch picks up the slack, keeping the ice cream silky smooth and giving it the pleasant chewiness I associate with some styles of gelato.
As with my lime pie, I start by cooking the custard over medium-low heat until warm to the touch, then I bump it up to medium. Along the way, I whisk constantly but gently to keep the thick custard moving. Once it starts to bubble, I continue cooking and whisking about 30 seconds longer (this helps me avoid problems related to a starch-dissolving enzyme found in egg yolks, which could otherwise turn the ice cream base soupy and thin).
Next, I strain the base through a non-reactive sieve to remove the zest, which would otherwise form a congested knot between the paddle attachment and the bowl during the churning process. The act of straining also kickstarts the cooling phase, which I speed along with the addition of heavy cream straight from the fridge.
To play up the subtle orange notes associated with Meyer lemon (said to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin), I also stir in a splash of curaçao, but any citrus liqueur will do—or none at all! It’s an added bonus to flavor and texture, not a requirement.
The ice cream base can be cooled passively in the fridge, or proactively in an ice bath. Either way, the goal is to bring it down to about 39°F before churning. As my friend Max Falkowitz has explained before, ice cream doesn’t need to be chilled overnight. There are some marginal gains to be had, particularly when churning in bulk, but none that are make-or-break for small batches at home.
What’s far more important is that the freezer itself is set to 0°F (-18°C), or else the ice cream canister won’t be cold enough to churn properly in the machine, leading to a dense and gooey sort of ice cream rather than one that gains volume as it churns.
Transfer the ice cream to a well-chilled container (I have this one from Tovolo at home) or a non-reactive loaf pan (but beware, most are made from aluminized steel which can lead to some metallic flavors in the ice cream where it touches the pan). The ice cream can be immediately enjoyed as soft serve, or covered and frozen until firm enough to scoop. The time needed can vary dramatically depending on the container’s ratio of volume to surface area, but four hours is a safe start.
By itself, the ice cream tastes like a scoop of lemon meringue pie, sweet and sour and creamy and cold. The cream softens the already mellow acidity of Meyer lemons, making the ice cream into something that’s tart but gentle, easy to savor as it melts on your tongue.
It’s absolutely perfect all on its own, but if you want something truly over the top, try pairing the ice cream with a spoonful of roasted strawberries, still warm from the oven. It’s like a fruity affogato, with hot strawberry syrup standing in for the espresso, melting the ice cream into creamy swirls.
With or without the warm strawberries, if you make this ice cream at home, be sure to save the juiced and zested lemons for a batch of no-cook lemon syrup. It’s a low-effort way to get the most out of pricey Meyer lemons, and a delicious topping for everything from waffles to French toast, as well as an ingredient in recipes like lemon poppy seed dressing, candied pistachios, and lemon chantilly. It’s like a buy-one-get-one-free deal for dessert.