for those who burn to learn

25

Jul 2016

Buckle Up for Blueberry Cake

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

Recently, I served this blueberry buckle to my students who arrived in the morning for a long Neapolitan Pizza Making Intensive. They loved this coffee cake so much that they devoured it for breakfast and, after making and eating several pizzas for lunch, the pizzaiolos pleaded for another slice for dessert. Even my Republican and Democratic friends, who do not see eye to eye on election issues or candidates, can agree wholeheartedly on one thing: this summery delight is a winner.

Like most “buckles” this coffeecake is loaded with fruit that is just held together with cake dough. The dough is scented with lemon rind and tenderized with buttermilk. Then the streusel topping is scattered over the whole thing and when the cake has baked in the oven for awhile, you can see the crisp crust start to buckle (hence the name). The last thing you do to this dessert, after you remove it from the oven, is drizzle the top with warm lemon syrup. I wish I was the genius who came up with this idea, but alas, I must give credit for this recipe to Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson and to David Leibovitz for his adaptation. The syrup does not make the cake too sweet, in my opinion. It does add moisture and it really brighten the taste of the blueberries. I prefer to use the large Maine blueberries for this dish. They tend not to crush as easily as the small ones and they were in abundance at the farmer’s market this past week-end.

Just a few tips: Try to use organic lemons as you will be grating the rind into your sugar. Make sure all your cake dough ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. If you don’t have fresh blueberries you can substitute frozen ones. Just don’t thaw the blueberries before you add them to the mix. The cake is best served the day you make it, but you can leave the cake out at room temperature for two days and, though the top will not be as crisp, the cake will still be delicious.

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    19

    Apr 2016

    Intensely Chocolate Flourless Cake for Passover

    Posted by / in Holidays, Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

    My sister-in-law, Joanne, recently posted on my Facebook page that she would rather “pass over” the Passover meal  and head straight for my chocolate dessert.  It’s true that the Seder can be a long, drawn out affair, and particularly lengthy if the leader of the Seder insists on having everyone at the table take turns reading from the Haggadah in English and, when possible, in Hebrew. When I was a child, we used to drink a good amount of Manischewitz, lean to the left, wash our hands, and dip our karpas into salty water, but my father was one of the most considerate conductors of this ritual and, like Moses, he knew how to keep things moving and get us to the promised land: my mother’s feast.

    I loved this dinner and, no wonder! My mother made everything from scratch, including the richest chicken stock for her matzo ball soup. She bought fresh ground carp and pike and whitefish for her delicate gefilte fish ovals and served the cold first course with a side of horseradish dressing. She grated the horseradish by hand and I witnessed firsthand the tears that flowed. The piece de la resistance, though, was her dessert: a sponge-like chocolate flourless cake, filled with whipped cream, powdered with cocoa and drizzled with  homemade hot fudge sauce.  Oh, what a sweet memory… It takes a lot of time to prepare this old fashioned feast and, today, most people are looking for delicious and reliable shortcuts. Fortunately, I know a great one for dessert. This intense chocolate cake takes very little time to prepare, does not need a frosting and, because it is flourless, is perfect for Passover. You can serve a small slice of this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a side of fresh raspberries and everyone will think you slaved (pardon the expression) over it!

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making and serving this cake:

    1. Use a reliable 9×2 cake pan. I love my pan by “Doughmakers.” Make sure you prep the pan according to the recipe directions and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before flipping it over on your baking rack. Then ease the cake carefully onto your cake plate. 

    2. This cake should bake for 40 minutes  at 300 degrees. You want the cake to be moist in the center. To be sure, insert your toothpick into the center and if it does not come out perfectly clean, be happy.  This is a good sign. 

    3. It’s especially wonderful if you make it in the morning and serve it at room temperature later in the day. Don’t forget to sprinkle it with sifted confectioners sugar just before you bring it to the table.

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