For the last four years, M and I have planned the same summer getaway to Ogunquit, Maine. It’s our road trip that takes us to a place of beach relaxation and good food opportunities. It ranges from fishermen who cook up their morning haul in tiny takeout places to creative chefs pursuing serious cuisine. We revisit the same B&B and catch up on the lives of the owners and the gossip about town.
Thanks to Lon and Jessica‘s recommendations, we discovered a new restaurant—Fisherman’s Catch, a bustling lobster shack sitting by itself in a salt marsh in Wells, one town north of Ogunquit. Fisherman’s Catch serves fresh lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fried mounds of lightly battered clams, haddock, and smelts. This lobster shack is definitely worth the wait.
As for a new discovery at an old favorite, Five-O‘s Blueberry Martini captures the essence of a Maine summer. In prior years, we ordered other cocktails from the chatty bartenders and avoided what seemed to be just a tourist novelty. This year I succumbed, which turned out to be the right move. We now have a seasonal treat to add to the list of Ogunquit annual traditions.
Our last vacation meal in Ogunquit has always been at 98 Provence, which occupies a rustic country house. The kitchen’s use of local ingredients for traditional and creative dishes was impressive once again. For this year’s dessert, we ordered Passion-fruit Pot de Creme. The vibrant tartness of passion-fruit balanced perfectly with the sweet cream. Normally, I wouldn’t associate Provence with passion fruit, but it worked.
Upon our return to New York, I couldn’t get that sensation of passion fruit out of my head. So I made this mini Poppyseed Cake with Passion-fruit Curd. The citrus in the cake radiates summer, while the poppyseed gives a playful crunch to the tender cake. The passion-fruit curd recalls 98 Provence—plus, the rich curd could rival the creaminess of that dessert. I sliced each cake layer in half so I could maximize the application of the curd. You can simply leave it as is and serve extra curd on the side.
Poppyseed Cake w Passion-fruit Curd
yield 4 servings
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pans
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature, plus more for pans
2 large eggs lightly beaten, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk room temperature
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Passion-fruit Curd, recipe to follow
Passion-fruit Glaze, recipe to follow
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees; place oven rack in middle position. Butter two 6-by-2-inch round cake pans; line each with a circle of parchment paper. Butter paper, and dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine orange and lime zest with sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Run on medium-low speed until fully combined, about 1 minute. It should resemble semi-wet sand.
3. Add butter to sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Turn speed to medium-low and drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beat until combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla until combined.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Alternately add reserved flour mixture and milk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture until incorporated. Fold in poppy seeds with rubber spatula unit levelly distributed.
5. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake 20 minutes, rotate pans from front to back. Continue to bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and set on racks, top-side up. Cool completely.
6. Remove parchment from bottom of each layer. Slice each layer horizontally to make two even layers. Place one layer on the serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup passion-fruit curd over the top. Place second cake layer on top, and spread another 1/4 cup of curd over top. Continue the remaining layers, do not spread curd on top layer. Chill cake, loosely covered with plastic wrap, 1 hour.
yield about 2 cups
– you will not use up all of the curd in this recipe
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup passion-fruit puree
5 large eggs yolks
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes.
1. Combine sugar, passion-fruit puree, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, piece by piece, until melted. Cool, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed, up to 4 days.
yield: 1-1/2 cups
1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons passion-fruit puree
1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed
1. Sift sugar into a medium bowl. Mix passion-fruit puree and orange juice until combined. Slowly drizzle fruit mixture into sugar, whisk until combined and smooth; mixture should be slightly thick.
2. Pour glaze slowly over the top of the cake and let it run down the side to form streaks. Let glaze set for 30 minute before serving.