Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

Lemon cake for any sweet tooth

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

As is the case with most food, nothing compares with dishes or desserts that are freshly made. Not only are home baked cakes a treat, they are a great way to get children interested in the kitchen.

This glazed lemon cake needs to rest for an hour after being removed from the oven so that the glaze can harden. The cake can also be made one day in advance, and is delicious with morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Glazed lemon cake; serves ten

Cake mixture Ingredients

Finely-grated zest of 2.5 lemons

5 whole eggs

350g (12oz) caster sugar

A pinch of salt

Juice of 1 lemon

150ml (5fl oz) double cream

275g (10oz) plain flour

10g (1/4oz baking powder

100g (4oz) unsalted butter, melted Butter and flour for lining baking tin

Glaze Ingredients

Juice of half a lemon

100g (4oz) icing sugar

2 tablespoons orange marmalade


30cm x 10cm x 8cm cake tin


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Combine the lemon zest, eggs, caster sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk at top speed for five to seven minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the lemon juice towards the end.

2. Place the bowl on a work surface and fold in the cream. Sieve the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold in delicately with a spatula. At this stage, add the melted butter, little by little, folding and lifting the mixture gently.

3. Grease the inside of the cake tin with butter, then dust with flour – about 10g (quarter ounce) of each. Turn the tin over and knock it against the table to remove excess flour.

4. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring that the mixture reaches up to 2cm from the top. Place on the middle rack in the preheated oven and cook for 55 minutes.

5. The cake will be cooked when the top is slightly convex. To be certain, slide a needle into the middle of the cake and wait two seconds. Remove the needle, which should be very clean and hot.

Remove the cake from the oven, and turn on to a cooling rack for at least an hour until cold.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 200C.

7. To glaze the cake, thoroughly mix the lemon juice and the icing sugar until you get a loose, homogeneous mixture.

8. Warm the orange marmalade in a small casserole. Place the cake on a pastry sheet and, using a pastry brush, glaze the top and sides with the marmalade. This forms a base onto which the icing can fix itself.

9. Cool down for five minutes. Lightly heat the lemon and icing sugar for one minute until just warm, then brush over the cake. Place the cake in the oven for 30 seconds.

10.Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest for a further hour so that the glaze can solidify. When it is completely cold, it is ready to serve.

Make the most of pears

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

There are lots of ways to enjoy pears. You can use them with apple and raisins to make a delicious chutney – which is great with cheese – or poach them with cinnamon and red wine. One of my favourite pear recipes is a variation of tart tatin.

Pears produce a lot of liquid during cooking, so there are a few ways you can prevent the pastry from becoming soggy. Either drain off some of the liquid after about 15minutes of baking, or after the tart is fully cooked, and invert it onto a lipped baking sheet to collect the juice. Then pour the juice over the pears and pastry and put it back in the oven to bake for a further ten minutes or so.

Alternatively, you can avoid doing either by refrigerating the pears (once cut and cored) overnight. This will dry them out, allowing the caramel to be more intense.

Caramelised pear tatin served with lemon cream, serves 4
Tatin ingredients:

Six conference pears
300g ready made puff pastry
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
A heavy ovenproof frying pan (no other cooking tins are needed)

Tart method

1. Peel the pears and cut into quarters. Remove the cores.
2. In a frying pan, melt the butter and sugar over a high heat until it bubbles. Shake and stir the mixture so that it caramelises. Lay the pears on top and cook in the sauce for about ten minutes until the pears soften, tossing them occasionally to ensure they’re covered in caramelised butter.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little. Arrange the pears in a circle with the cut side up, ending up with one in the middle.
4. Roll out the pastry to more than cover the circumference of the pan and drape it over the edges. Tuck the edges of the pastry in and under the pears at the edge of the pan. Pierce about five or six holes in the top of the pastry.
5. Bake in a preheated oven (200C) for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180C. Bake for a further ten to 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven and let it rest for about ten or 15 minutes before inverting onto a large serving plate.

Lemon cream ingredients

40g caster sugar
125g mascarpone
150ml double cream
Four large lemons

Lemon cream method

1. Finely grate, zest and juice the lemons.
2. Mix the lemon zest with the sugar in a bowl.
3. Put the lemon juice into a small pot and bring to the boil until the liquid reduces right down to about an egg-cupful. Pour into bowl containing the zest and sugar and allow it to cool.
4. Add the mascarpone and beat.
5. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms a soft peak and then add it to the mascarpone and lemon mixture. Chill in fridge for about half an hour, before serving a dollop of it on top of the tart.

Sharp's the word for lemons

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

A perfect finish to a light meal of fish – such as last week’s recipe for black sole – is this baked lemon pudding.

It is a sharp, lemony sponge that produces its own sauce and is easy to make. I like to serve this dish in the summer with a bowl of whipped cream, flavoured with fresh vanilla seeds from a vanilla pod, and let people help themselves to a bowl of deep red raspberries sprinkled with a little icing sugar and the juice of a lemon.

Raspberries and lemon are a wonderful combination. Another lovely dish to serve with this pudding is raspberry fool, the recipe for which is also included here. In a fool I like pieces of the fruit among the cream, but those who prefer a smoother texture can work the berries to a purée in a blender or push them through a sieve.

Sharp lemon pudding

Ingredients (serves six)
3oz butter, softened
6oz demerara sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
4 large eggs, separated
2oz flour
8 tablespoons milk

1. Grease the inside of a seven-inch soufflé dish with a small knob of butter. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C.
2. Using an electric or hand-held beater, cream the butter with the sugar until they form a creamy white, fluffy consistency that will form soft peaks.
3. Add the lemon zest and juice and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. The mixture may curdle here, but that’s fine. Beat in the flour and then add the milk one tablespoon at a time.
4. With a wire whisk or an electric hand-held whisk, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks. Fold them gently into the mixture, ensuring they are thoroughly mixed until all the white disappears.
5. Pour the mixture into the buttered soufflé dish. Place the dish into a roasting tin and pour hot water into the tin until it comes half way up the sides.
6. Bake until the top of the pudding has risen and is golden brown (it should take about 45 minutes) and serve hot.

Raspberry fool

Ingredients (serves four)
8oz raspberries
8oz fromage frais
4oz creme fraiche or thick double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar (for sweetening if desired)

1. Crush the berries in a bowl with a fork.
2. Fold in the fromage frais and creme fraiche, slowly but thoroughly. If desired, sweeten the fool with a tablespoon of icing sugar.
3. Spoon into glasses and chill for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

Sweet pastry and tart lemon

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008
By Kevin Thornton
When it comes to defining the seasons, sometimes we just have to ignore the weather and go with our tastebuds. It’s the summer time and summer means citrus.

Citrus fruits are light and refreshing at this time of year, and are great palate cleansers during or after a meal. This lemon tart is delicious served with fresh raspberries or with a homemade sweet sorbet.

When buying lemons it is best to opt for relatively soft ones, as these tend to contain more juice. Taste the lemon mixture as you making it and add more lemon juice if a more tangy taste is preferred.

If you’re serving the tart with afternoon tea, try making your own tisane – a herbal tea which is a nice accompaniment to this zesty dessert. It’s made by placing either fresh lime leaves or fresh mint leaves in a teapot and adding boiling water.

Tarte au citron (lemon tart)

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
Sweet pastry:
250g (8oz) flour
4 egg yolks
Half teaspoon salt
100g (3 and half oz) sugar
125g (4oz) butter
Seeds from two vanilla pods

2 eggs
100g (3 and half oz sugar)
grated rind and juice of 1 and half lemons
125g (4oz) melted butter
60g (2oz) whole blanched
ground almonds
27-30cm/11-12 inch pie pan


Sweet pastry:
1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a large well in it.

2. Put egg yolks, salt, sugar and vanilla into the well and mix with fingertips until sugar dissolves.

3. Pound the butter with rolling pin to soften, add it to the well and quickly work with other ingredients until partly mixed. Draw in flour, pulling dough into large crumbs using fingertips of both hands. Press the dough together – it should be soft but not sticky.

4. Work on small portions of the dough, pushing it away from you on the work surface, then gathering it up with a spatula, drawing it towards you and pushing away again. Continue this until the dough is smooth and pliable. Press it into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

Lemon filling:
1. Make the sweet pastry and chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Set the oven at moderately hot (190C/375F).

2. Roll out the dough, line the pie pan and chill until firm. Bake blind in a heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until set, but not brown. Take from the oven, remove paper and let the pie shell cool slightly. Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted. Stir in the rind and lemon juice, followed by the melted butter and ground almonds.

4. Set the pie shell in the pan on the hot baking sheet and pour the mixture into the shell. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is golden brown and set. Serve at room temperature.

Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.