Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème

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When I was little, I used to love playing with my mother’s pots de crème set. I loved the dainty handled pots with the cute knobbed lids. These were way more fun than a tea set.

I remember her pots de crème well. It was silky smooth, mild in flavor, and just seemed to hit the spot. It was such a delight lifting up the little hat and be greeted with the creamy goodness inside.

Recently when I was reorganizing, I came across this set that she passed on to me, and realized I’d only made pots de crème once since I’ve been married. It was time to make it again.

I decided on a Meyer lemon version, just because I tend to not make lemonny desserts often, and it’s springtime. So I created a recipe.

Unfortunately, this post should be titled, “Do Not Make This Recipe.” My dessert bombed. Big time.

I have no idea what went wrong. There are so many factors with baking, and fortunately I don’t claim to be a baker. But I hate the fact that my blog is supposed to get people in the kitchen cooking, and then I present a failure.

Nonetheless I’m posting this anyway, mostly to show off the beautiful set, which I had a ball photographing! Following is a recipe not to use.

Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème

2 3/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
10 large egg yolks, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
4 ounces sour cream, at room temperature

Place cream in an saucepan and heat slowly just to a light simmer. Add the zest and stir gently.

Let the cream steep with the zest for a few minutes, then turn off the heat but leave the cream sit for one hour. Set aside

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Using an electric mixer, beat yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until pale yellow, about 2 minutes.

Bring the lemonny cream to a simmer, and immediately but gradually whisk it into the yolk mixture.  Whisk in the sour cream.

Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium pitcher with a pouring spout.

Divide the custard among ramekins; cover each with a lid (or foil) and place in a large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. So far so good. Maybe.


Bake until just set in center, abour 25 minutes.

I had no idea this custard would rise like a souflé! Uncover and chill until cold, about 3 hours. At this point the custard looked a little overbaked, but not bad… yet.

My little pots are only a 4 ounce capacity.

Then, the custards fell. I tried to cover it up with flowers but the flowers weren’t big enough! You can see the shrinkage. And, the custard was mealy, although I have to say that the lemon flavor was good.

This recipe made approximately 48 ounces of custard. Since I only had the little pots’ total capacity of 32 ounces, I used two ramekins for the remaining custard. I tried to decorate with candied lemon peel, but that wasn’t pretty at all.

Because I used zest for this recipe, I had 4 whole lemons leftover. I trimmed up the pith, blended them as is, added beets and beet juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt for a lovely lemon beet dressing!

So the day wasn’t a total disaster!

 

 

Moro’s Yogurt Cake

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It’s not often when I go to the same restaurant more than once. I’m usually done, and ready to move on to the next! Like my motto – so many restaurants, so little time!

One exception was Moro, in London. I’ve been three times – once was a special celebration for my daughter’s second master’s degree, this one from Sotheby’s (please allow me a little bit of boasting).

Moro is a busy, bustling restaurant in Clerkenwell. The cuisine is North African, so you can just imagine the offerings of courses representing Morocco, Spain, Egypt, and on through the Middle East, but generally referred to as Moorish in origin.

The Moro concept was started by the husband and wife team of Samantha and Samuel Clark, who were inspired by their travels to those regions.

I have so many different food photos from my dining experiences at Moro; I will share a few. The food is vibrant, flavorful, spectacular.

A few of us on that celebratory night ordered A signature dessert to share – Yoghurt Cake with Pistachios and Pomegranate, photographed below.

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I can’t recreate that dining experience at Moro with my daughter, but I can make the cake!
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Here it is:
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Yoghurt Cake with Pistachios and Pomegranate
Adapted from recipe found online*

3 eggs, separated
70 g or 2 1/2 ounces white sugar
Seeds from 2 vanilla pods
350 g or 12 ounces yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 small orange
20 g or approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, sifted
30 g or 1 ounce pistachios, roughly chopped
Handful of pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or 180 degrees Centigrade.

I used a deep-dish pie pan for this dessert, and brushed it with butter lightly.

Find a deep-sided baking tray that will fit the cake tin and you can use as a bain marie.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 50 g of the sugar (I removed about 1 tablespoon for the egg whites) until thickened and pale.

Stir in the vanilla seeds, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and flour; mix well.


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In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks, then add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk for a moment until the whitesbecome glossy.
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Gently fold the egg whites into the yogurt mix, then pour into the pie pan and place it inside the baking tray.

Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour the water around the pie pan until it reaches halfway up the sides. Place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
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Sprinkle over the pistachios, then bake for another 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Remove from the water immediately.

Eat warm or at room temperature. The consistency should be a light sponge with custard underneath.
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Sprinkle the cake with pomegranate seeds and serve with a drizzle of yogurt.
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Alternatively, I used a small dollop of marscapone.
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It was May when we shared this yoghurt cake at Moro. But what a perfect holiday dessert this is! All that red and green!
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The cake isn’t the prettiest desert; it looks like a pile of pudding on the plate. But you won’t care once you taste it!
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If you’ve had trouble in the past opening pomegranates, I learned my favorite technique from the blog Chica Andaluza. Her technique worked perfectly!
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* This recipe is in the original Moro cookbook.
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Fosterred Banana Ice Cream

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My husband loves bananas. When I made Bananas Foster for him a few months ago, I had an idea. I wanted to turn bananas Foster into ice cream.

Consider this ice cream recipe a constructed version of the de-constructed dessert known as bananas foster. It’s not a huge stretch, but I can guarantee that if you love bananas Foster, you’ll love this ice cream.

Bananas Foster is composed of ice cream, bananas sautéed in a butter and brown sugar sauce, topped off with rum. I wanted to use all of the components for my ice cream creation, but I had to omit the butter. As soon as the hot butter hit the cold ingredients, it would become waxy and unpleasant. So instead, I substituted vanilla.

Because of the dark brown color of the rum and the brown sugar, I considered making this ice cream more of a swirl, but then, I decided to go for broke and just do it. And the resulting color is just fine.

So here’s my recipe, and I can seriously guarantee that it’s a treat. Mr. Foster would be proud.

Fostered Banana Ice Cream

Banana Mixture:

3 medium bananas, just ripe
1/3 cup spiced rum
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons good cinnamon
Juice of 1 small lemon

Ice Cream Custard:

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar*
Pinch of salt

The day before, or at least 4 hours before you’re planning on actually making the ice cream, make the banana mixture by placing all of the ingredients together in a blender and blending until smooth. Place the mixture in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

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To make the ice cream custard, place the cream and 1/2 and 1/2 in a medium saucepan on the stove over low heat. Cut the vanilla bean into quarters, split them open vertically, and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife.
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Place the beans and seeds in the cream mixture, and also add the cinnamon stick.

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Let the mixture warm slowly, and then steep for about 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and the vanilla beans, squeezing the beans to remove as many residual seeds as possible, and place them in the cream.

Place the 6 egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk them until smooth.
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Have a whisk and a spoon available, the brown sugar and salt, and place a very large bowl in the sink that contains ice cubes.

Increase the heat under the cream to medium. You are making a custard, to enrich the ice cream, and this is a very easy process, but one that takes time and a little patience. It’s better to go slowly and not risk the mixture coming to a boil, than have it boil prematurely and ruin your custard.

First, add the brown sugar and salt to the cream and whisk until it’s dissolved.

So to make the custard, you need to gradually add the eggs to the hot cream mixture. Alternatively, you might have seen in a recipe to add hot cream to eggs, but this is exactly the same thing.

I simply use my whisk to grab a little bit of eggs and then immediately whisk them into the cream. Whisk completely, and then continue adding a little bit of eggs. If you prefer, a spoon can be used to add egg to cream, and also cream to egg, but the stirring part is essential. If you’ve ever made an egg drop soup, you know that when eggs hit hot liquid they will cook, and this is not what you want for a smooth, non-mealy custard.

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To test the thickness and doneness of the custard, stick a clean spoon into the custard. The custard on the spoon in this photo shows that the custard is still thin and not ready.

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The test of doneness is when the custard sticks to the spoon, coating it instead of running back into the saucepan.

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Once the test is positive with the spoon, like in the above photo, immediately place the saucepan in the ice bowl and whisk for about a minute. Every couple of minutes, whisk thoroughly. Continue this until the custard has cooled completely.

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Set up your electric ice cream maker. If you have a crank variety, I’m sorry. I used to have one and dealing with the ice and the labor of it all is so tedious. Please upgrade to an electric appliance. It’s very easy. There’s a plug, and an “ON” button.

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The only important things to remember are to freeze the components, primarily the ice cream barrel, for at least 12 hours before hand. And the ice cream ingredients must be very cold as well.

Add about 2 cups of the banana mixture to the cream custard and combine.
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Then pour the mixture into the barrel of the ice cream maker, but only about 7/8 full.

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Turn it on, and make sure the lid is on properly. Otherwise it won’t work. (I’ve done this before!)

Stop when you obviously have ice cream. Instead of the mixture appearing like a milk shake consistency, like in this photo,

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it will become ice cream consistency, and fold over itself because of its increased viscosity. It will have also increased in volume, like in this photo.

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Remove the barrel and put it in the freezer. The rum in the ice cream will keep the ice cream from freezing hard, but you can test the hardness before you want to serve it, and just place it in the refrigerator or on your kitchen counter to warm it slightly in advance, if necessary.

Serve the ice cream with a little of the leftover banana mixture, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Enjoy!

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* I didn’t care if some of the brown sugar was in little chunks. I thought that would add an interesting texture to the ice cream!

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