Bombs and curd, by j

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I was bored on Friday.  I had planned for a day hanging out, starting by turning on the news at 8am.  Like the day before they were talking about the Boston Marathon bombing.  But Friday morning was different.  It was constant.  A whole city on lock down.  A frightening story and seven hours of every single television and radio station talking about it non stop.

There was not seven hours worth of coverage.  Reminded me of our day in St. Catharine’s on Wednesday where we had an absolutely amazing evening watching crappy coverage with someone we’ve missed for a loooong time.

I needed a distraction.  It just so happened that my mom was having company for dinner and I took that on as my personal project for the day and I decided to bake again (are we seeing a trend?).

And in the grand tradition of being my mother’s daughter I decided to make something I’ve never made before: Angel food cake.

But here’s the problem with making an angel food cake- the yolks.  What do you do with the yolks?  It’s usually meant rice pudding (which I adore), but it’s spring!  SPRING.  I don’t want rice pudding.  I want fresh, I want bright.  And after dreaming about it for a few weeks I decided that a sweet and tart curd was the way to go.

So there I was, watching to Boston be under marshal law, making a fairly labour intensive dish.

I figured it was going to turn out amazing or really pathetic.  And I was right.

Let’s start off with the cake.  I have been using my friendly “Pinterest” page to find the right recipe, but decided to use a America’s Test Kitchen Recipe.  ATK made about 100 angel food cakes and decided this recipe was the best.

Here are the ingredients:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
12 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cake ingredients
Now hold up.  Cake flour? I don’t make a lot of cakes.  Or I don’t just yet, my current limbo state might see me baking a helluva lot of cakes.
So get this:  I made cake flour.
cornstarch
For every one cup of flour, put in two tablespoons of cornstarch and fill the rest up with flour.  Be sure to whiz it up in the food processor or sift it all together.
Now you have cake flour.  Tada.
Also, let’s talk about separating eggs.  It can be delicate work.  I should know I just spent two years in graduate school.
People who use the shells to separate yolks from whites are fools.  Fools!  You’re gonna crack something fierce and get yolk in your whites.  And then your life is over ’cause your cake will be all sad.  So use your hands.  They’re gentle, no sharp edges. and you end up with this:
egg separated
Set those lovely yolks aside.
Now raid your mom’s equipment, because angel food cake needs some muscle.  Now I did once whip egg white by hand and it was a bitch.
equipment
To start you have to take your sugar (all of it) and whiz it in the food processor so it’s all light and stuff.
Take about half of the whizzed sugar and reserve it.
Then take your salt and cake flour (that you made) and add it to half the sugar.
flour to sugar
Whiz that stuff.
Egg white time.  Put them in the mixer with the cream of tartar (not sure what it is, but it pretty much makes egg whites beat up all nice).  Whisk for one minute until it gets “frothy”.  Not sure what the technical definition of “frothy” is but bubbles and foam is a good indication.
Add in the reserved sugar:
sugar to egg whites
And whiz it again until you have soft peaks (about 6 minutes).
A word about soft peaks: again we’re getting really technical.  You should be able to make the egg whites stand up and flop over.
Now it’s time to fold!  Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites.
Don’t do this:
Instead do this:
folding ingredients
For god sakes be careful.  You spent all that time putting air into the egg whites.  Don’t do anything stupid.
Get your pan out.  And get it ready.  That’s a joke, you don’t need to do anything to the pan.  Don’t grease the pan.  For god sakes don’t grease the pan.
pan and ingredients
And then put it into an oven at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes:
oven
Stop right here.  You see the middle rack that it’s sitting on?  That’s correct.  You see that rack directly above the cake?  Yeah, that’s going to be a problem in about thirty minutes.
I should have taken it out earlier, but I didn’t.  Instead  the top of my cake (which is actually the bottom, thank goodness) gets a little shaved off.  Angel food rises, folks. And I swear, just a little.
Time for those yolks!
Gather your curd making ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

curd ingredients

Curd frightened me the way creme brulee did.  It’s one of those suspicious recipes that only has a few ingredients.

Step one: combine all the ingredients (minus the butter) and whisk in a pot off the heat.

curd mix

Now, this will happen quickly so,

Put it on med-high heat and add butter, whisk until the butter is melted.  Then keep cooking while whisking constantly.  Do not stop whisking.  Do not walk away.

Talk it off when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Then take it off, keep whisking and take it to the water bath you set up before you put it on the heat. Run it through a sieve:

curd in water bath

Keep stirring, it will thicken as it cools.

Try not to eat it all, because you will be tempted.

The curd literally took about 20 minutes.

Tada!

cake

Take the cake out when a toothpick comes out clean.  And invert it and let it cool.  It said for three hours, but it came out PERFECTLY after one hour.

This is how I felt:

PERFECTION.

And take that amazing curd:

curd in jar

And eat it all together with some blueberries:

final product

Then go find yourself a job, otherwise you better figure out how to make this website into a profitable food blog.

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The Three Weyward Sisters first appeared in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. It turns out we have more in common with these “weird” sisters than we thought. In the Shakespeare play the sisters represent darkness, chaos and conflict. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which of us represents each. They also usually show up to mark impending doom. Well, we certainly hope that our presence on this little corner of the Interwebs doesn’t mean impending doom for anyone. However, we find our commonalities with the witches in other ways. To be weyward means to be willful, disobedient and to turn away from what is “right or proper”. Those who know us would whole heartedly agree – we are three weyward sisters. We are three headstrong, stubborn (some more than others), obstinate and willful sisters. Read at your own risk.

One response »

  1. and you you can see how fantastic it looks. Want to know something??? It tasted even better. For our dinner guests and ourselves….high five all around. For the rest of you ….aw, too bad :`(
    Thanks J!

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