Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

My family knows, they can always give me a cookbook as a gift.  It does not matter if the cookbook is an older publication or a new one, I will always welcome any addition to my collection. This year my husband gave me The Baking Bible Cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I am familiar with Rose Beranbaum’s work because I own another book of hers, The Cake Bible. She is a one of a kind baking guru and a significant authority about the science involved with baking. If you are curious about culinary science, she is the number one resource. Learning from her cookbooks will make you a better baker.

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

As I turned each page of my new book I made mental notes to myself of baking projects to try later.  Ultimately, my goal was to find inspiration for something I could make immediately. Upon first sight of her recipe Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes, I decided this was the one. These baby cheesecakes enriched with blue cheese instantly grabbed my attention. They were beautifully photographed with slivers of Bosc pears draped over their tops. Additionally, the crust of the baby cheesecakes is made with one ingredient, crushed walnuts. They are a new twist on the classic pairing of walnuts and blue cheese. Add some champagne to serve with these baby blues and you have an elegant party spread for all to enjoy.

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecake

Another great feature of these baby cheesecakes is the blue cheese itself. The combination of blue and cream cheese creates flexibility for the cheesecakes to be served as either an appetizer or a dessert. I can add additional blue cheese to make them more savory, or less to make them sweeter for dessert. As well, they can be made in advance, which is always a plus. I am not usually a cheesecake fan, however this recipe for baby cheesecakes came across as a pleasant surprise. They are savory, sophisticated and unexpected all in one bite.

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecajes

One change I made to the original recipe was to switch the type of blue cheese. The original recipe called for Stilton cheese, which I like, however I love Point Reyes Blue Cheese. It is creamier and not as sharp as Stilton, yet still maintains that distinctive blue bite. This is my favorite blue cheese, and is made in the sacred land of my childhood, the Point Reyes National Seashore in California. I can’t help myself when it comes to Point Reyes Blue Cheese or any of the other cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery. Their cheeses remind me of home and help me feel connected to this treasured seashore.

Dinner Ideas when serving Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

Serve Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes as a first course with a green salad then  Grilled Sherry Marinated Flank Steak , or My One Pan Chicken Dinner as the main entree.

Serve Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes as a cheese course along with fresh and/or dried fruits at the end of the meal. 

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

My new book, The Baking Bible, has been christened and I have a new recipe using one of my favorite cheeses. Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes are an elegant, versatile and creamy bite of bliss.

Cheers to a beautiful, happy and healthy 2017. Enjoy!

Helpful Hints Making Point Reyes Baby Cheesecakes:
  1. If using a metal muffin pan, do not skip the step of placing parchment paper into each muffin cup. Even if you have a non-stick pan the parchment will make it a lot easier to lift the baby cheesecakes out of the cups. Additionally, the parchment paper will stick to the pan so you will not have to pull the paper off the bottoms.
  2. Boil water in a tea kettle and then pour into a medium bowl. Use the hot water to heat up a metal spatula or knife and then wipe clean with a kitchen towel. The heated and cleaned knife will make lifting the cheesecakes out of the tins easier and smooth out the edges.
  3. Garnish the baby cheesecakes with fruit, nuts or minced arugula combined with chopped walnuts and pears. Lightly dress the greens with extra-virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar.
  4. If serving as an hors d’oeuvres, serve them on a multigrain cracker. It will taste great and will be easier to manage.
  5. For a first course serve the Blue Cheese Baby Cheesecakes with a salad of arugula and pears, lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar.

 

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

12 baby cheesecakes

Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes

These delicious Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecakes can double as a dessert or an appetizer. For a personal touch, feel free to use your favorite strong flavored blue cheese. The original recipe used Stilton cheese in these baby cheesecakes. This recipe is from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 shy cup (3 oz/84 g) walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tb (2.6 oz/75 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tb (9 g) cornstarch
  • Kosher salt, a pinch
  • 1 1/3 cups (12 oz/60 g) cream cheese at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (2.1 oz/35 g) sour cream
  • 2 -3 Tb (35 g - 52 g) Point Reyes Blue Cheese*
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

Instructions

    Prepare the muffin pans
  1. 2 - 6 cup silicone muffin pans set on a wire baking rack and placed into a sheet pan Or 1 - 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. For the silicone muffin pans - lightly coat the muffin pans with cooking spray then place them on a wire rack set in a baking sheet.
  3. For the muffin tin - coat each muffin cup with shortening or butter and cut small circles of parchment paper to set in the bottom of each cup. Lightly spray each cup with cooking oil spray.
    Toast the walnuts
  1. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the oven at 350˚ F/175˚ C/Gas Mark 4. Let the oven heat up for twenty minutes before you toast the walnuts.
  2. Spread the walnut halves evenly over a small baking sheet, place in the oven and toast the walnuts to bring out the oils and enhance their flavor. Toast for 7 minutes turning the walnuts over a couple of times while baking.
  3. When finished spread the toasted walnuts over a clean lint free dish towel and fold one end over the walnuts to cover. Place your hands over the covered walnuts and gently rub back and forth to loosen and remove the walnut skin. Rub off as much of the walnut skins as you can and place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Discard the skins.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 225˚ F/107˚ C
  5. Pulse the food processor to finely chop the walnuts. You want an even consistency without turning the walnuts into flour.
  6. Spoon 1 Tb of ground walnuts into each muffin cup and press down evenly to pack the walnuts together.
  7. Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt until just mixed together. Add the cream cheese and beat on low speed until the ingredients are evenly combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until very smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the batter down the sides of a bowl.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and blue cheese until evenly combined. A fork is great for this job. Add the blue cheese mixture to the cream cheese and mix together on low speed until just combined, about 15 seconds.
  9. Add the lightly beaten eggs and mix until evenly combined. The batter consistency should resemble sour cream.
  10. Pour the cheesecake batter into each muffin cup almost up the top, about 1.8 oz/50 g in each muffin cup. Smooth over the tops of each cheesecake with an offset spatula.
  11. Bake in the 225˚ F/107˚ C oven for 15 minutes. Rotate the muffin pan in the oven from front to back to encourage even baking and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer. The muffins are done when an instant read thermometer reads 160˚ F/71˚ C. The batter will jiggle somewhat and the centers of each muffin will spring back when touched. Put muffin tin and/or baking sheet on a cooling rack.
  12. Allow the cheesecakes to cool in the muffin pan for 30 minutes. Cover the muffin pan(s) with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before unmolding.
  13. For the metal muffin pan: run a small spatula or knife, heated up with hot water, around the edge of each muffin cup. Press the spatula or knife up against the side of the pan to not scrape the sides of the cheesecakes. Clean the spatula with warm water and wipe clean with a cloth for every cheesecake. Lift the cheesecakes out of the muffin cups with a spatula. Smooth the sides of each cheesecake using a small metal spatula that has been heated with hot water and wiped clean.
  14. For silicone muffin pans: Rose Levy Beranbaum recommends placing a baking sheet on top of the plastic wrap-covered muffin pan and turn it upside down. Then place a dish towel in very hot water. Wring out the excess water and drape it over the muffin pan. Make sure to press the hot wet towel into the recesses of the pan. Let it sit for about 2 minutes. Remove the towel and carefully lift off the muffin pan. If the cheesecakes do not release, repeat the above steps, and try again after another minute. Once released, place a second sheet pan on top of upside down cheesecakes and turn them right side up.
  15. Place the cheesecakes on a serving platter and serve.
  16. Store, refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Notes

*To make the cheesecakes more savory add the total 3 Tb blue cheese to the batter. If you want the cheese cakes for dessert use 2 Tb blue cheese.

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© 2016 – 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

A thank you. A greeting. An introduction. A small gesture… A homemade gift can be all those things. Homemade treats do not have to be fancy or time consuming to make, a simple gift will do. They are always appreciated. I like making gifts, but I do not get around to making them as much as I would like. I usually think of an idea for a homemade gift too late and eventually buy something along the way. When I found this recipe for chocolate bark, I had an ah ha moment. I can do this. This recipe for chocolate bark is unusual, simple to make, beautiful to look at, and satisfies all chocolate cravings.

Chocolate Bark Recipe
Dark chocolate bark ingredients
Chcoclate Bark Recipe
White chocolate bark ingredients
Chocolate Bark Recipe
Orange zest, hibiscus flowers and lavender

I have been a fan of chocolate bark for some time now and must admit to be a total dark chocolate fanatic. A day does not go by without a chocolate snack.  My dessert choice usually has chocolate as the main attraction. I can’t help myself and totally find chocolate irresistible. I discovered this recipe while reading, Seasonal Fruit Desserts, by Deborah Madison. Yes I see the perplexed expression on your face: a chocolate bark recipe in a fruit dessert cookbook? Yes, Deborah Madison is no dummy and included this recipe in her dried fruit and nuts chapter. There is something for everyone in all of her cookbooks.

Chocolate Bark Recipe
Dark chocolate with dried fruits and nuts
Chocolate Bark Recipe
White chocolate with edible dried flowers and orange zest

Her chocolate bark recipes are different, which was the main attraction for me. Laden in her chocolate bark are dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, citrus zest, and other floral attractions, reminding me that chocolate bark can be whatever I want it to be. The add-ins do not need to be limited to pretzels, peppermint and coconut. It can hold up to any variety of flavors that compliment chocolate, like citrus, chili, cinnamon, coffee, sea salt, ginger, and all nuts, just to name a few. One could go crazy with add-ins for chocolate bark and have a surprise in every bite. I do not recommend going too crazy, the flavors do need to get along and marry with each-other and the type of chocolate.

Chocolate bark is a welcome dessert by itself or with fruit, nuts, cookies, or sorbet. You can keep it in your refrigerator to have on hand to serve for an impromptu dinner party. Chocolate bark will also make a lovely hostess gift, or a small gift to the chocolate lover(s) in your life. A homemade gift that can easily fit into anyone’s busy schedule.

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

One 10 x 6 inch slab of chocolate bark

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

Dark Chocolate bark flavored with crystallized ginger, dried apricots and pistachios make a delicious dessert and pairs well with fruit, cookies, nuts and ice cream. Pair Dark Chocolate Bark with White Chocolate Bark flavored with orange zest, pistachios and lavender, and you have an extra special dessert treat that is almost too pretty to eat.

Both chocolate bark recipes are delicious and easy to make. They will make an excellent hostess gift or a nice gesture just for giving.

The actual cooking time is very short but you will need at least an hour for the chocolate to set in the refrigerator. Plan on at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours in total.

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Seasonal Fruit Desserts, From Orchard, Farm and Market by Deborah Madison, 2010

Ingredients

    Dark Chocolate Bark -makes one 10 x 6 inch slab of chocolate bark
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, between 60% to 70% cocoa butter
  • 2-3 Tb chopped candied ginger
  • 2-3 Tb chopped dried apricots
  • 3 Tb salted green pistachio nuts, some chopped and some nuts left whole
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt like Maldon
    White Chocolate Bark makes one 8 x 5 inch slab of white chocolate bark
  • 4 oz white chocolate, good quality such as Lindt - or Lindt white chocolate with coconut
  • 2 Tb finely chopped salted green pistachios
  • Orange zest removed with a citrus zester in thin strips
  • 1/2 tea lavender or other dried edible flower pedal like hibiscus or rose petals

Instructions

    Dark Chocolate Bark
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Put the broken up chocolate in a bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water. If you want to add any dried spices add them now as well. Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Just a small amount of water is all that is needed, no more than an inch high. Gently stir the chocolate while it is melting, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. When the chocolate is melted stir in half of the chopped fruit and nuts.
  4. Spread the melted chocolate over the parchment paper in a thin slab, then sprinkle the remaining fruit and nuts evenly across the bark. Gently press down of the fruit and nuts so they will stick to the chocolate when it sets. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt.
  5. Refrigerate the chocolate until it is set, at least an hour.
    White Chocolate Bark
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper large enough to hold a 10 x 6 inch slab
  2. Add the chopped white chocolate bark to a bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Keep the heat low and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl while the white chocolate is melting.
  3. When the white chocolate is melted, pour it out on the parchment paper and spread the chocolate into an even slab.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients decoratively and evenly over the white chocolate and gently press them to adhere to the chocolate.
  5. Refrigerate until set, at least an hour.
  6. Break up the bark into irregular pieces and serve by itself or with other nuts, fruit, cookies or ice cream.
  7. Keep the chocolate bark in an air tight container and wrapped in parchment or wax paper. Keep in the refrigerator.
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© 2016 – 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Maida Heatter’s Lemon Mousse

Maida Heatter celebrated her 100th birthday in the beginning of the month and I just had to acknowledge her. I do not know her, but after reading her cookbook and owning it for over 20 years, I feel like I do. Her cookbook, New Book of Great Desserts, was the first dessert cookbook I bought for myself back in 1982. I had other cookbooks but none solely dedicated to desserts. I believe her book was the first cookbook that I actually read front to back. Her anecdotes before each recipe are personal, thoughtful, funny, informative, and always friendly. She is a great teacher and her recipes are clear and easy to follow.

A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Lemon Zest
A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Softening gelatin

I did not realize it at that time but her cookbook started my preference for cookbooks with a personal narrative. These cookbooks are instructive and give me a personal sense about the author, as if we were developing a friendship. Thank you Maida Heatter for your wonderful dessert recipes that will continue to instruct and inspire many more generations. Happy Belated 100th Birthday Maida.

A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Ingredients

More cookbooks by Maida Heatter

As a kid I believed chocolate mousse was “the” supreme fancy French dessert. It was my go to dessert when my parents took us out to dinner on special occasions. Chocolate mousse was very popular in the 70’s and it was very rich and chocolatey and I loved it. In Maida Heatter’s cookbook, New Book of Great Desserts, there is not one chocolate mousse recipe, but there are several other mousse recipes with fruit flavors. From the beginning of my owning her cookbook the lemon mousse recipe caught my attention and I have made it several times over many years. This is a special lemon mousse recipe. It is as light as air, despite the heavy cream, with a clean lemon flavor that is not overpowering or too sweet.

“This is food for angles, it is like eating a sweet lemon flavored cloud, like a glass of delicious nothingness”

Maida Heatter, New Book of Great Desserts

It is hard to top Maida’s own description. This lemon mousse is a luscious lemon cloud to float away on.

A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Various bowl needed to make lemon mousse
A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Soft peaks of whipped egg whites
A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Stiff peaks of whipped egg whites
A delicious recipe for lemon mousse from Maida Heatter's cookbook New Book of Great Desserts. "Food for the angles" this dessert mousse is so light and airy with the perfect sweetness and lemon flavor. A very special dessert recipe that can be made in advance.
Lemon Mousse all folded together

Continue reading “Maida Heatter’s Lemon Mousse”

© 2016 – 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake: Oat Flour Sponge Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

As I researching what type of cake to make for my dad’s Nifty Cake I tested this gluten-free sponge cake made with oat flour, from Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours cookbook. This is a remarkable cookbook featuring new ways to bake with gluten-free flours. I love this cookbook because Alice Medrich is an expert at everything she does. I have learned a lot about gluten-free baking using this book. Her cookbooks are very reliable and the desserts are delicious.

Gluten free sponge cake made with oat flour. It is delicious by itself or with fresh fruit and sweeten whipped cream. A cake for everyone, gluten sensitive or not. Cake recipe from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.
Oat Flour Sponge Cake

Gluten free sponge cake made with oat flour. It is delicious by itself or with fresh fruit and sweeten whipped cream. A cake for everyone, gluten sensitive or not. Cake recipe from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.

 

The Oat Flour Sponge cake was so good and worked beautifully with the strawberries, peaches and cream I decided to share two versions of Nifty Cake.  Sponge cakes are drier than butter cakes but the added fruit and cream help keep it moist. Ms. Medrich even has a very similar version of strawberries and cream cake in Flavor Flours using this sponge cake as the foundation.

Gluten free sponge cake made with oat flour. It is delicious by itself or with fresh fruit and sweeten whipped cream. A cake for everyone, gluten sensitive or not. Cake recipe from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.

Want to learn about my story about my dad and how this cake came to be? You can read my post and get the Nifty Cake recipe using all-purpose flour here.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake: Oat Flour Sponge Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

6-8 servings

Gluten Free Nifty Cake: Oat Flour Sponge Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Gluten Free Nifty Cake is a sponge cake made with oat flour and adorned with strawberries, peaches and whipped cream. It is a versatile cake that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It is a delicious sponge cake that everyone, with or without a gluten restrictive diet, will enjoy.

The sponge cake portion of the recipe is from "Flavor Flours" by Alice Medrich, and is a great gluten free substitute whenever you want a sponge cake.

Ingredients

    Oat Flour Sponge Cake
  • 3 Tbl clarified butter or ghee
  • 1 cup /100 grams oat flour
  • 2/3 cup / 130 grams sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 tea Kosher salt
    Fruit Filling and Decoration
  • 8 oz strawberries
  • 1/2 ripe peach
  • 1/4 cup best quality strawberry or peach jam
  • Extra strawberries and peaches to decorate the cake as you wish
    Whipped Cream
  • 1 - 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 - 1/2 tea pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tea sugar

Instructions

    Oat Flour Sponge Cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 175 degrees Celsius/ Gas Mark 4 and position the rack to the lower third of the oven.
  2. Prepare an 8" by 3" cake pan or an 8" spring form pan by lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  3. Make the clarified butter: heat the butter in a sauce pan until hot and bubbly. Continue to cook until the foam subsides. Turn off heat and pour the butter through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth into a small, 4-5 cup capacity, microwave safe bowl and set aside.
  4. Sift then measure the oat flour. Place the oat flour into a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Thoroughly whisk them together and to remove any clumps.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining sugar, eggs, and salt. Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whip the egg and sugar on high speed until the batter is light and fluffy. Depending on your mixer it could take about 4-5 minutes, longer if you are using a hand held mixer. Visual clues that the batter is ready: the batter will be very fluffy and a light yellow, the volume will have tripled in size, and distinctive well defined streak marks from the whisk attachment will be visible.
  6. Right before the egg/sugar mixture is finished being whipped, heat the butter in the microwave until hot, careful to prevent the butter from bubbling.
  7. Remove the bowl with the eggs and sugar from the mixer and sift the oat flour into the bowl in three increments. Gently fold the batter between each addition, careful not to deflate the batter. Once the flour is barely folded into the mixture add a quarter of the batter into the bowl with the butter. Fold the mixture until the butter is thoroughly blended into the batter.
  8. Add the buttered batter into the remaining batter and gently fold until just blended.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes and golden brown on top. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out dry and clean.
  10. Put the cake pan on a cooling rack and run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides.
  11. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan. Invert the cake out of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Turn the cake right side up, and put the cake back on the cooling rack. Leave alone to completely cool.
  12. You can bake the cake in advance of preparing the whole cake with frosting and fruit. Once the cake is cool, keep the cake air tight, wrapped in plastic wrap.
    Fruit Filling
  1. Wash and dry a half pound of strawberries. Remove the stems and cut into bite size pieces. Place the prepared strawberries in a small bowl. Cut one peach in half and remove the pit. Peel one of the peach halves then cut into bite size pieces. Place the prepared peaches into the bowl with the strawberries. Gently mix the fruit until evenly combined.Set aside.
    Whipped Cream Frosting
  1. Before mixing place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to chill.
  2. If you plan on frosting the whole cake you will need 2 cups of heavy cream. If you only want to have frosting in the middle use a cup of heavy cream.
  3. For two cups of cream: Add the heavy cream and vanilla to the chilled bowl and beat until soft peaks have formed. Add 3 teaspoons of sugar to the cream and beat until stiff peaks have formed, being careful not to over-beat the cream. You do not want it to start looking like butter.
    Putting it all together
  1. Cut the Oat Flour Sponge in half horizontally to create two layers of cake. Set the bottom cake layer on a serving plate and the top layer on a flat bottomed plate, or rimless cookie sheet. (See Notes)
  2. Depending on how you are going to frost the cake will determine the amounts of cream to use. Add one cup of the whipped cream if you are only using the whipped cream frosting in the middle cake layer. Use a third of the whipped cream if you are planning to frost the entire cake with the whipped cream. Use one cup for each layer if you are not frosting the side of the cake.
  3. On the bottom cake layer, spread the jam to a smooth and even layer across the cake. Add the whipped cream on top of the jam and cake.
  4. Spread the whipped cream evenly across the cake then add all of the cut up fruit. Press the fruit evenly into the whipped cream to make it smooth.
  5. Carefully slide the top cake layer on top of the the fruit layer and evenly line up the sides. If you are planning on frosting the whole cake spread a thin layer of the whipped cream around the top and sides of the cake, crumb layer, to create an even and smooth surface for the remaining whipped cream. Frost top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream then decorate the cake with the fruit as you please.
  6. If you are not frosting the whole cake, add the remaining whipped cream to the top and spread the whipped cream across the top. Decorate the top of the cake with fruit.
  7. This cake should not be made too far in advance as the whipped cream will not hold for a long time and the cake will get soggy. Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Take the cake out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to get rid of some of the chill.
  8. The cake without the fruit and whipped cream will last for a couple of days on the counter tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Notes

There are many different ways to slice cake layers in half horizontally and different tools you could buy. I cut cake layers using a ruler, toothpicks and a long serrated knife. I am not brave enough to eyeball it because it is so difficult to cut anything level. First, cut a small vertical mark on the side of the cake. This mark will be your guide to evenly line up your layers. Measure with a ruler the middle point around the side of the cake, inserting a toothpick every 3 inches all the way around.the circumference of the cake. Put one hand gently on top of the cake with the other hand working the knife.Holding the knife parallel to the counter, rest the middle of a long serrated knife against the top of the toothpicks and make a cut, or score, around the circumference of the cake. Use the hand on the cake to turn the cake as you cut. Continue to cut in a circle around the edge of the cake, focusing your eye on the tip end of the knife. It helps keeping the knife level. Cut your way around the cake, gradually cutting toward the middle and then all the way through.

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Aquafaba Meringue

A year ago I read an article on Food52 about an amazing food discovery – aquafaba. Aquafaba is bean water that comes from canned beans or home cooked beans. This is an ingredient that is unseemly and easy to ignore. I sometimes use it in hummus, but I mostly just pour it down the drain. Fortunately, some very clever and persistent people discovered that aquafaba has similar properties to egg whites and could be whipped into stiff peaks and make meringue. The discovery of aquafaba as an egg substitute has changed vegan baking, and general baking, forever.

Chickpea water is the surprise ingredient to make aquafaba meringue. a delicious vegan dessert.
Aquafaba from a can of chickpeas

At first, I struggled visualizing a white and fluffy aquafaba meringue, just the smell alone of chickpea brine, (especially canned) will deter anyone from considering there is merit in that broth. Vegan baking is a challenging concept for me. I often wonder, how do you bake without eggs? It is the glue that holds everything together and gives structure and texture to baked desserts.  Could aquafaba really replace egg whites? I trust Food52 and their research, and I saw aquafaba was a trending discussion all over the web. My curiosity was sparked, and a year later, after relishing making and eating egg white meringue desserts-lemon meringue pie, dacquoise, pavlova, coconut chocolate meringue cookies, I finally put my mind to it and convinced myself it was time to make aquafaba meringues.

Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.
Soft peaks of aquafaba meringue
Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.
Stiff and glossy peaks of aquafaba meringue

To learn more about aquafaba check out these Facebook pages, Aquafaba Everything and Vegan Meringue Hit and Misses

Also The official aquafaba website.

Continue reading “Aquafaba Meringue”

© 2016 – 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.