I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.
For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.
No, this isn’t a repeat of 16-47: Orange-Almond Pie–at least, not exactly. 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake uses almond paste while the pie version used almond meal (flour). This one also includes dark chocolate, which ALWAYS goes well with almond and orange flavors. 🍫
In the interest of not eating the whole cake at once (which is possible with something like this), I’m going to bake 12 individual cakes instead with a mini-Bundt pan that I have. That way, I can make them all, wrap and freeze them so that we can pull out a portioned piece for dessert without the temptation of eating the whole thing.
Whenever I think of lemons, I can’t help but think of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, my favorite, lemon-insipred, animated character. From my research, there are two other major characters who are lemon-themed, Lemon Meringue from “doll commercial hidden in a cartoon” Strawberry Short Cake and Honey Lemon, one of the main characters from Big Hero 6, a 3D animated feature film released by Disney in 2014 . I haven’t had a chance to check this movie out yet, but if it ever pops up on Netflix, I’d watch it. Now that my rant about cartoon characters is complete, enjoy this entry about 16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie, a really weird lemony pie. 🍋
Serving this pie on top of a tapestry featuring a creepy little girl must somehow enhance the flavor of this otherwise weird lemony pie. The background tapestry is probably the most interesting and tasteful part of the entire photograph.
17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars were the second of my holiday baking batches this year (XMAS 16), and one that I’ve baked in the past, given my rather bold notes. I think I was on a cheesecake kick, and thought these would be easier than making an actual cake. “BAD DO NOT MAKE” doesn’t exactly bode well for a recipe–why make it again?
Here’s why: sometimes it’s important to try again, even when the first experience wasn’t exactly a positive one. The first time I made these lemon bars was my junior year of college, so about 10-12 years ago. I had just moved into my first off-campus apartment with my friend, and we had a full kitchen, something I hadn’t had access to for a few years while living away from home in the dorms.
I remember making these in that kitchen (yes, I dragged these books with me all the way out to Colorado and back) and struggling with this recipe. Out of that frustration (and failure) came the note. I’ve learned a lot since then (culinarily and otherwise), so I think it’s time to figure out if it was the recipe or it was me.
One of the two desserts I made for this year’s Thanksgiving (TGV 2016) was 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte (the other was 15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe). I wanted something “of the season”, and this seemed like a cross between apple pie and fruitcake.
This was the second dish I made, starting off the Wednesday 11/23 portion of my holiday cooking marathon. Since this cake holds well at room temperature, I planned to just slightly underbake it, and then finish it off for 5-10 minutes in a preheated oven to warm it up for dessert on the day of the holiday.
If I hadn’t made this for Thanksgiving, I think it’d make a great gift (mailed or delivered in person) or potluck dish, especially for an office or somewhere where it would sit for a while. Even though Thanksgiving is over for the year, it’s totally still the season for a cake like this one.
Two-packs of whole chickens were on sale at Costco and the other chicken in this pack was used to make 6-20: Rosemary Chicken. This recipe, 6-33: Lime-Marinated Chicken required me to rub a few brain cells together to prepare the chicken as written on the card.
Lime flavor added to anything is a winner with me. Chicken and lime is a great combination, the white wine sauce added a unique twist.
12-17: Curly Pasta with Creamy Chicken sounds like a recipe my mom or I would have attempted back in the days we were cooking out of this book–it’s possible we did and never marked the card. Both of us were suckers for dishes just like this. 🐓
I probably would have made this recipe earlier if curly pasta was easier to come by–I wanted to find just the right shape for this dish. I have a fascination with different pasta shapes. 🍝
It took more than two years, but I’ve finally ventured into the last untouched dessert category – Group 15: Cold Desserts – with 15-1: Lemon Mousse. I’ve experimented with mousse before, both within this project and in my own cooking (here’s one of my desserts from my restaurant days), but I’ve never made this version. It’s simple, refreshing, and a good summer dessert. 🍋
This recipe is for lemon, but you could probably substitute orange, lime, or something else citrusy that’s similar if you want to get creative/different with it. This freezes/holds well, so you can make it even further in advance of the night before if you want. ❄
Here’s another good cookie press recipe. It’s a long way away from the holiday season, and cookie cutters/presses tend to get a bit dusty during the spring & summer months. I had a bunch of shapes for the press that weren’t holiday-related, so I decided to get creative with some colors & flavor extracts and use 17-55: Scottish Shortbread to play with the press.
Theirs look really thick–mine came out thinner since I used the press. These would probably work well with differently-shaped cookie cutters too, not just rounds. As I learned, they also work well with food coloring and flavor extracts.
I ended up using these for Mother’s Day gifts, and made a mix of three colors/shapes to bag up and mail/hand out. 💐
Here’s one I’ve wanted to make for a LONG time, but never got to. I had even intended to do a version of 16-18: Lemon Basil Tart when I worked at the restaurant and was doing tarts every week moonlighting as the pastry chef, but the day I intended to make it, we were short on lemons and basil. Now I finally have a chance, and I even have the big tart pan in which to properly make it.
I didn’t even see until now that they mention that basil is related to mint–it makes sense. In this tart, the basil functions a lot like mint, and gives the tart a “fresh” flavor that just lemon wouldn’t provide. It took me a while to get to it, but it was worth it. 🍋🌿