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Sour Cream Pound Cake

13 Dec

Sour cream pound cake (2)edit

 This cake is great topped with berries, lemon curd, whipped cream, or a combination of the three.  I even love it plain.  The recipe fills a 10-inch bundt pan, but you could easily halve it and use a loaf pan.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and place in bowl of standing mixer; let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly. Using dinner fork, beat eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in liquid measuring cup until combined. Let egg mixture stand at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch bundt pan; dust pan liberally with flour and knock out excess.
  3. Sift flour and baking soda together in small bowl.
  4. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and salt at medium-high speed (Kitchen Aid mixer: #4) until shiny, smooth, and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, gradually pour in sugar (this should take about 60 seconds). Once all sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white in color, 5 to 8 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once. With mixer running at medium speed, gradually add egg mixture in slow, steady stream; this should take 60 to 90 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl; beat mixture at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes (mixture may look slightly broken). Remove bowl from mixer; scrape bottom and sides.
  5. In 3 additions, sift flour mixture over butter/egg mixture; after each addition, fold gently with rubber spatula until combined.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 60 to 700 minutes (internal temperature: 212 F). Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; invert cake onto wire rack, then turn cake right side up. Cool cake on rack to room temperature. Slice and serve.

16 large or 24 medium servings

Make ahead: Once cake completely cooled, wrap in cling wrap, then heavy foil.  Freeze.  To thaw, place wrapped cake at room temperature 10 hours before needed.

Source: adapted from Paula’s Home Cooking and Cooks Illustrated

Lemon Curd

12 Dec

Lemon curd (1) edit

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  Not only is it delectable, it’s one of the simplest ways I’ve found to make lemon curd.  I use it to top pound cake, toast, English muffins, pancakes, waffles, yogurt….the possibilities are endless.

Plain yogurt w/ lemon curd and berries

Lemon Curd

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10-15 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Yield: about 3 cups

Source: The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten

Apple Crumb Tarts

7 Dec

I was in the mood for a baked apple dessert of some sort last week, but the classic apple pie wasn’t it.   This tart really hit the mark.  It’s simply apples layered on shortbread crust with just a dusting of a crumb on top.   If you’re looking for a recipe that really showcases the apple,  this is it.

Apple Crumb Tarts

For shortbread crusts:

  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For filling:

  • 4 pounds Gala or Golden Delicious apples (or Granny Smith)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade fine dry bread crumbs (or I used oatmeal finely ground in food processor)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 (9-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms.

Make shortbread crusts:
Pulse butter, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor until mixture begins to form small lumps. Divide between tart pans and press onto bottoms and up sides. Bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 20 minutes. Leave oven on.

Prepare filling while crusts are baking:
Peel, quarter, and core apples. Cut quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and toss with flour, lemon juice, and 1 cup sugar. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter.

Assemble and bake tarts:
Remove tart pans from oven and divide apple mixture between crusts, gently shaking pans to settle apples. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over tarts and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over crumbs.

Bake tarts in middle of oven, placing a sheet of foil on rack below to catch any drips, until apples are tender and crumbs are golden brown, about 1 hour.

Note: Tarts may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.  I halved the recipe to make one 10-inch tart.

Source: Gourmet, February 2000