by Sheila Connolly
|Lots of lemons!|
Once upon a time I lived in a small house in California, with a scenic view of a BART station—very convenient for commuting to San Francisco, which I did for several years. If you stood on the roof of the house, you could see the Golden Gate Bridge. There were really only five rooms plus bath, but they were nicely-sized, and the kitchen was surprisingly roomy. It had a wonderful vintage stove that our Siamese cat loved to doze on—the pilot light kept her warm.
It had a lemon tree in the back yard. Somehow I had never thought I would have a lemon tree. The tree smelled wonderful when it was blooming, which was most of the time, and produced a wealth of lemons. We got very good at making lemon meringue pies.
This is not that recipe. Somehow, though, lemon seems a hopeful flavor. Maybe spring will arrive one of these days. There’s still very little on anything in my yard, but I did see a bunny yesterday.
This recipe comes from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking, from 1989. It’s a copy I bought at the United Nations in New York, when I was chaperoning one of my daughter’s class field trips. It has a definite French bias, but that’s fine with me. This cake is light and tart—a nice accompaniment to a cup of tea in the afternoon. If you like, you can add whipped cream.
1 tsp baking powder
5 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or substitute heavy cream)
7 Tblsp (3-1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Grated zest of 4 lemons
|Juice and zest of four lemons|
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-1/2" loaf pans (this is meant to be a slender cake, so you will need the two).
Combine the flour and baking powder.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and mix until well blended.
With the mixer at low speed, slowly add (in the following order): the crème fraîche, the flour mixture, the melted butter, the lemon juice, the vanilla, and the lemon zest. Beat until very smooth.
Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. Place them in the center of the oven and bake until golden and a toothpick comes out cleanBabout 1 hour. (Keep an eye on them so they don’t get too brown.)
Remove the pans from the oven and cool in the pans on a rack.
|Okay, it's a little bit brown around the edges,|
but the inside is still nice and moist
Garnish with whipped cream or fresh fruit or both. The cake improves in flavor over a day or two.
|Time for tea!|
In Privy to the Dead, President of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society Nell Pratt finds some unexpected things in the basement...
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