pros: light and lemony — just like the name promises! it’s very sweet, but the hazelnut tart crust gives it a good grounding. it comes out a very distinctively tasting crust, so if you don’t care for hazelnuts, sub in another nut. i found the rhubarb compote to be a perfect sour complement, but greg only tasted sweet, and opted for less compote.
cons: it took a lot of steps to put together, and many, many eggs. that’s most tarts and custards, though. not too many cons in the end, i guess.
notes for next time: my hazelnuts were a bit off, and it’s a pretty strong taste in the tart. so, next time? fresher nuts.
and don’t forget to save those egg whites for meringues. i’ll have compote leftover too, so I can make another pavlova!
here’s the recipe, if you’ve got some time on your hands (and a lot of eggs), definitely make it!
pros: this is a very sweet, light meringue topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. the meringue developed this perfect crust, and the inside was still wet, but not “gross! ew! uncooked egg!” type wet, but like what the inside of a cloud should be like type wet. if that’s wrong, and i undercooked it, i don’t want to be right. it’s a perfect dessert for when it’s hot out and you don’t want a big, heavy, sticky dessert, and it’s super versatile, because you could toss any fruit on it and it would be gorgeous.
cons: the meringue is *very* sweet. I added some more strawberries to carry me through. i also whipped up this cream without any sugar and it’s a good thing i did, because sweeter would *not* have been better in this case. it might not be a con for some people (and it was ok with me), but i just thought i should mention it.
notes for next time: nope. great right off the bat. a pavlova, like a fool and a syllabub (I’ve yet to try that one), is one of those things I’ve read a lot of recipes for, but I’ve never tried. i don’t know why because it’s *so* easy!!! i did it because i’m in the midst of a two day tart process (lemon curd done: that’s a clue!), and had extra egg whites left over. it’s definitely a good thing to have in the toolbox for the next time I use a lot of yolks and don’t want to waste the whites. we’ll see how they are in a day or two. maybe with a couple of them crumbled up, I’ll make eton mess!
I got the pavlova recipe from Epicurious, except clearly i didn’t go the apricot-raspberry-almond route (so, skip the almonds and sub vanilla extract for the almond extract). the chocolate sauce is from david lebovitz. (it’s fantastic over poached pears or even just vanilla ice cream). definitely go make it!
pros: the tartness of the rhubarb is perfectly balanced by the brown sugar topping, and the whole thing is set off by a tender, light but moist cake. in most cases, I don’t notice cake flour so much. but in this case, I think, if you have it, you should really use it. as for the recipe, i kind of messed it up (I forgot to put the sugar in until the end!!), but it still came out pretty amazing. The lesson here? *always* taste the batter before you pour it into the pan! The cake is best right out of the oven, but I’ve had it a day or two, and it’s still delicious.
cons: it was kind of a pain in the ass because of all the different things that had to be mixed separately. I practically ended up using every mixing bowl in the kitchen, and with so many components, it was easy to forget something (like the sugar!). Still totally worth it.
notes for next time: don’t forget the sugar!!
there’s really not much else to say. this is amazing. go make it!
i’ve had the flu the past three days and it hasn’t stopped me from putting a serious dent in this cake. it’s on its last legs right now. have i mentioned food isn’t really looking very good to me right now? what with the flu and all. did i mention the cake has been sitting in the fridge for four days and is not at its best? no matter. this cake conquers all. just in case i didn’t make it clear earlier, this is five star.
pros: this is the first time I’ve ever made a fool, though I’ve seen so many in British cookbooks. I had problems with this recipe in particular (see below), but I would try this again. at bottom, it’s whipped cream and stewed fruit. surely, there’s a way *that* can work!
cons: this one was a little on the sour side, perhaps some fiddling needs to be done. and this might be a personal issue, but I can’t stand orange juice and honey together. this might not be a problem for you, but my mother used it as a homemade remedy for a sore throat and it absolutely made me want to retch every time. I figured the rhubarb would overcome the taste. I was wrong. also, I ran out of my regular honey and had to use the chestnut honey that sits at the back of the cupboard because i hate it. so, that might have something to do with it. my last quibble: why crystallized ginger? usually I’m a big ginger fan, but imho, it added nothing here.
Notes for next time: sub agave nectar for honey, and perhaps use lemon zest and juice instead of orange. and leave out the ginger. agave nectar is sweeter than honey, so that should take care of the sour issue as well.
I found the recipe on pinterest, and you can see it here. but it turns out to be from a book called Rustic Fruit Desserts. Yum!
pros: the filling was perfectly balanced between tart and sweet, and the crust was flaky deliciousness. I don’t think anyone would have guessed it was vegan by the taste. that’s something that people say about vegan baking sometimes, but it’s entirely untrue. except for now.
cons: pie is definitely a time-consuming process with many steps, but hey, I love it! no cons related to the actual pie, though.
notes for next time: start early. I was just putting the pie in the oven when the party was starting, because I neglected to read the last part of the recipe: “let cool for 3 to 4 hours.” it cooled for about 20 minutes in the cab ride over. it was kind of messy, since the inside was still pretty liquidy, but everyone loved that it was still warm!
Here’s the recipe for the pie crust. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. And the pie filling is here.
I’m definitely going to explore that website a bit more. Delicious vegan baking recipes are uncommon.
pros: I never would have thought ginger and white chocolate would go together, but these cookies make a good argument for just that! and they are pretty addictive to boot. I haven’t been able to eat fewer than five in one sitting. maybe that part belongs in the “con” section.
cons: see above. if i had to find a problem with these, it would be that they’re pretty sweet. I know, they’re cookies. cookies are sweet. but these seem a bit overly, you know? and I know I say this a lot about ginger-things, but I think it could be more gingery. that’s only if I had to nitpick, though.
notes for next time: I’ma try brown sugar instead of white, some chopped fresh ginger, and a bit less sugar.
I got these off of pinterest. I have a board with about a million recipes on it, so I figured I should try to bake something from it once in a while. here’s the recipe, and it looks like they have a lot more where that came from!
pros: this cake has such a unique taste. It has both whiskey and coffee in it (a lot of coffee, actually), and they make it very dark and smoky. add in the black pepper and the chocolate chips, and it’s really an interesting cake. definitely a winner. It’s too sweet for breakfast (unless you’re into that), but great for tea, fika, or dessert.
cons: I’ve had it in the fridge for a while, and I have to say, it’s not really a keeper. I’m still eating it, of course.
notes for next time: I had to leave it in an extra 15 minutes, but that may have been my oven’s fault.
If you’re in the mood for something dark and sophisticated, try it!
pros: this was lemony, puddingy goodness! similar to the meyer lemon budino, also from Bon Appétit, but in a big pan instead of in little ramekins, and with a little more of a pudding (hence the “pudding cake” in the title) instead of a light custard. The berries and cream only make it better.
cons: I had to let it chill in the fridge for a few hours instead of immediately wolfing it down. And let’s just say portion control is a difficult concept with something this delicious.
notes for next time: The recipe calls for four yolks and three egg whites, which is schmawkward. I think I will do what all the forum posters say to do and just use the fourth egg white. Also, I drizzled the cream over the berries and around the dish—no need to whip!
you should make it right now since meyer lemons are in season (December-April). Here’s a link, and definitely try the budino too! It’s a tad lighter and even more lemony.
pros: this has pros galore! I made this for V Day and it didn’t disappoint. the filling is so perfect. the egg custard gives it a rich, silky, smooth texture, and of course, it’s very chocolatey. I’m no expert at tart crust, and I had to manhandle it a bit to get it into the tart pan, but I guess the filling covers a multitude of sins, because I didn’t really notice the crust. the recipe says it’s best the first day, and that’s certainly true, but it still tasted delicious by the time we finished it a few days later. I wouldn’t call this a true keeper, though.
cons: this being a tart, there are a few steps to it that need to be done ahead of time (crust!), so start early!
notes for next time: I will definitely make this again. the recipe really isn’t to blame for this, I don’t think, but I really have trouble with tart crusts. I can never get them into the pan without breaks and patches. I might have to invest in a class or something. le sigh.
The Craft of Baking is really winning me over, although not ever recipe is a winner (I’m looking at you, Brown Sugar Cake!). here’s the recipe: bake it!
pros: I thought these were pretty good. the cookies by themselves are nothing special— a little bland, even a bit salty—but the super sweet marshmallow filling balances them out pretty well.
cons: these are soooo big! *why* are they so big? I know that’s supposed to be a whoopie pie thing, but really, I think these could be about half the size. also, do you see how bumpy they are? they didn’t come out anything like the perfectly smooth ones in the picture. I would have appreciated if they had said something about that.
notes for next time: a poster on the epicurious forum said something about smoothing each one with a wet finger, so maybe that’s what has to happen to get them smooth. and half the size, of course. i probably will make these again, maybe in the summertime when they’re more seasonally appropriate.
here’s the recipe. there were so many complaints about the filling on the forum that I used this Martha Stewart one instead. maybe next time I’ll make the Martha Stewart cookies.