Spring is here, and I can’t wait to be outside to enjoy the weather. A walk in the park, a visit to the Farmer’s Market, or simply a casual stroll in the neighborhood is my way to say hello to the new season.
The visuals of spring are everywhere, but I most adore the aromas. Once again, you can smell the earth, trees, and grass—even the air is different. Each season has a distinct scent.
It’s early for local produce, but I have an urge to sample things to come. The combination of strawberries and lemon, though common, always seems to do the trick. When presented in small packages, they remind me of garden tea parties and other spring events.
Petite Strawberry Cakes w Meyer Lemon Curd
yield: 54 mini canneles
Petite Strawberry Cakes
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-3 drops red food coloring (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375℉. Spray two 18-cavity silicone cannele molds with non-stick baking spray. Place them on half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
2. In the bowl of standing mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar and lemon zest on medium-low speed until sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Add butter, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Reduce speed to medium-low, add eggs, one at a time, until combine. Add jam, vanilla, heavy cream and food coloring (if use), beat until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture in two additions until just combined.
4. Spoon batter into prepared molds, three-quarter of the way. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cakes are lightly golden. Cool cakes in mold for 20 minutes, trim off domed tops (if any) and release cakes onto cooling rack to cool completely. Clean mold and repeat with remaining batter.
5. Place lemon curd in a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe small amount on top of cooled cakes. Serve.
Meyer Lemon Curd
1/4 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2-3 lemons
6 tablespoons (2-5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, cold
1. Measure 2 teaspoon lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, sugar, and salt in medium non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolks in large non-reactive bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot lemon-sugar mixture into eggs, then return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with heatproof spatula, until mixture is thick enough to leave trail when spatula is scraped along pan bottom, 3-5 minutes.
2. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in frozen butter until incorporated. Pour filling through fine-mesh strainer into non-reactive bowl (you should have about 1-1/2 cups). Cover surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm enough to spread, at least 2 hours.