Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipes: Anna Olson’s mini chiffon cakes, lemon meringue pie and scones

In each episode of “Bake with Anna Olson,” celebrated pastry chef Anna Olson demonstrates a base technique and then builds on the skills to create ultimate “restaurant-worthy” creations.
Lemon is a perfect ingredient for spring, and the following recipes all incorporate the citrus fruit.

In “Chiffon Cakes,” Olson explains that the light and airy cakes combine the richness of a butter cake with the light spring of a sponge cake and they are the foundation for many favourite desserts. She starts with a basic Angel Food Cake. She then adds fresh lemon and prepares Mini Lemon Chiffon Cakes (recipe follows). For a very special dessert, she makes Warm Maple Almond Chiffon Cakes and shows viewers how to transform chiffon cakes with four different styles of garnish, one for each season.
Mini Lemon Chiffon Cakes With Lemon Crystal Glaze
The texture and flavour of lemon and chiffon are a natural fit — both light and refreshing. A silver dragee is a silver-coated candy bead used to decorate cakes.
Cake
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 ml (1/4 tsp) cream of tartar
250 ml (1 cup) sugar, divided
250 ml (1 cup) cake and pastry flour
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
10 ml (2 tsp) finely grated lemon zest
90 ml (6 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
Glaze
325 ml (1 1/3 cups) sugar, divided
75 ml (1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Candied flowers or silver dragees, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 160 C (325 F).
Whip egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then gradually pour in 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the sugar, whipping until whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) of sugar, baking powder and salt. Add oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and then, using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip mixture on high speed until it is thick, pale and almost double in volume, about 3 minutes.
Using a whisk, fold one-third of the whites into the flour mixture until almost blended, then fold in remaining two-thirds until evenly incorporated. Fill a piping bag (with no tip) or use 2 spoons to fill 48 ungreased mini-muffin cups with the batter, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
Bake mini cakes for 16 to 18 minutes, until cakes spring back when gently pressed. While cooling cakes, invert tins so they are upside down (you can rest them on ramekins, so that air can circulate underneath them).
To remove cakes from tins, run a small palette knife around cake and gently pop each out. Place these upright on a cooling rack that is resting over a parchment-lined baking tray.
Glaze: Stir 250 ml (1 cup) of the sugar and lemon juice over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture just comes to a simmer. Remove pot from heat and set aside to cool 15 minutes.
Stir in remaining 75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar (this will help create the crystal effect when the glaze sets). Spoon or brush each mini chiffon cake generously with lemon glaze, ensuring that the tops and sides are covered. If desired, top each mini cake with a candied flower or silver dragee. Let cakes set for at least 2 hours before serving or storing in an airtight container.
The mini chiffons will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container (do not refrigerate or freeze).
Makes 48 mini (bite-size) chiffon cakes.
Source: Anna Olson and Food Network Canada.
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From the “Lemon Curd” episode: Fresh and sweet, creamy yet tart, lemon curd is a spread, a filling and a topping and is a staple in every pastry chef’s repertoire. Starting with a stovetop method to make British-style lemon curd, Olson creates Lemon Whip with Berries. Then she makes a classic French bistro dessert, Tart au Citron. Next she bakes a challenging dessert that will impress guests and is a North American mainstay, Lemon Meringue Pie (recipe follows). And finally she adds tart, creamy lemon curd to homemade ice cream and creates Lemon Ripple Ice Cream.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon meringue pie is a perennial favourite.
Dough
250 ml plus 30 ml (1 cup plus 2 tbsp) cake and pastry flour
15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
125 ml (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
45 ml (3 tbsp) cold water
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) lemon juice or white vinegar
1 egg white, lightly whisked
Lemon Curd Filling
250 ml (1 cup) sugar
50 ml (1/4 cup) cornstarch
250 ml (1 cup) water
6 large egg yolks
125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
30 ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
Meringue
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 ml (1/2 tsp) cream of tartar
75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar
45 ml (3 tbsp) icing sugar, sifted
Sift flour, sugar and salt to combine in a bowl or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cut in butter by hand with a pastry cutter or on low speed until just small pieces of butter are visible and the mixture as a whole just begins to take on a pale yellow colour (indicating that the butter has been worked in sufficiently).
Stir water and lemon juice together and add this to dough all at once, mixing until the dough just comes together. Shape dough into a disc, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling. Alternatively, dough can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge before rolling.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is in a circle that is just under 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Lightly dust a 23-cm (9-inch) pie plate with flour. Press dough into pie plate and trim away any excess dough; pinch edges to create a fluted pattern and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Line chilled pie shell with tin foil and fill foil with dried beans, raw rice or pie weights. Bake pie shell for 20 minutes, then carefully remove foil and weights and bake crust for 8 to 10 minutes more, until the centre of the pie shell is dry-looking and just starts to brown a little. Immediately after removing the pie shell from the oven, brush hot crust with a little of the whisked egg white. This will create a barrier to keep the crust crispy once filled. Reduce oven temperature to 160 C (325 F).
Filling: In a medium saucepot, whisk sugar and cornstarch together, then whisk in cold water. Have the other ingredients measured and nearby. Bring sugar mixture up to a full simmer over medium-high heat, whisking as it cooks, until mixture is thick and glossy.
Pour about 250 ml (1 cup) of this thickened filling into egg yolks while whisking, then return this to pot and whisk just 1 minute more. Whisk in lemon juice and cook until filling just returns to a simmer. Remove pot from heat and whisk in butter, then immediately pour hot filling into cooled pie shell (the filling will seem very fluid, but it will set up once chilled). Cover surface of the filling with plastic wrap to keep it hot. Immediately prepare meringue topping.
Whip egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy, then increase speed to high and gradually pour in granulated sugar and icing sugar and continue whipping just until whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.
Remove plastic wrap from hot lemon filling, then dollop half of the meringue directly onto filling (the filling will still be very soft, so work gently). Be sure to spread the meringue so that it completely covers the lemon filling and connects with the outside crust, then use a bamboo skewer or paring knife to swirl the meringue just a touch (this will secure it to the lemon curd). Dollop the remaining meringue onto the pie and use the back of your spatula to lift up the meringue and create spikes.
Bake pie for about 20 minutes in a 160 C (325 F) oven, until the meringue is nicely browned. Let meringue cool completely to room temperature before chilling for at least 4 hours.
Makes one 23-cm (9-inch) pie, 8 to 10 servings.
Source: Anna Olson and Food Network Canada.
———
Classic Lemon Cranberry Scones With Lemon Glaze
These delicious scones are best enjoyed the day they are baked. Anna Olson demonstrates how to make them in the episode entitled “Scones and Biscuits.”
Scones
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
50 ml (1/4 cup) sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
15 ml (1 tbsp) finely grated lemon zest
125 ml (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
50 ml (1/4 cup) 2 per cent milk, plus extra for brushing
1 large egg
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
250 ml (1 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries
Glaze
250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) lemon juice
Heat oven to 190 C (375 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Into a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in lemon zest. Cut in butter until mixture is rough and crumbly but still small pieces of butter are visible.
In a separate bowl, whisk cream, milk, egg and vanilla together. Add this to the flour mixture and stir to just bring the dough together, turning out onto a work surface to complete bringing it together with your hands. Flatten out dough and press cranberries into dough, folding it over and flattening it out a few times to incorporate cranberries.
Shape dough into a disc about 25 cm (10 inches) across. Cut disc into 8 wedges and place them on prepared baking tray, leaving a few centimetres (inches) between them. Brush scones with a little milk and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until scones are lightly browned on top. Let cool completely before glazing.
Glaze: Whisk icing sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over scones using the whisk or a fork. Let glaze set for an hour before serving.
Makes 8 large scones.
Source: Anna Olson and Food Network Canada.

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