What shall we make for Easter Dinner dessert??? This is the question I kept asking myself all week. I have an idea, and someone else has offered me theirs, but before making the final choice, I decided to take a poll. I randomly asked six different sisters to answer this question. What immediately comes to mind when you think of choosing a most favorite Easter dessert?
Five out of six said “…something light and fluffy.” Four out of six said “…cool and creamy.” Three out of six said “…something lemony.” Two out of six said “…white or light yellow.” Interestingly enough, each of our desserts fit these descriptions, so we ingeniously combined them into one spectacular creation which we hope that many will enjoy!
Springtime Lemony Angel Food Meringue Torte
To Make the Angel Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 3½oz of the sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 7oz of sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Transfer the batter to a 10 inch angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the center of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To Make the Lemon Curd:
- Mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a large pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir the sides and base of the pan.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Pass through a sieve into a large jug. Fill two 12 oz glass jars with the lemon curd and seal with lids. Cover the remaining curd with cling film and leave to cool.
To Make the Meringue Layers:
- Preheat oven to 275. In a mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Switch to high speed and gradually beat in the sugar until stiff and glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla.
- Remove beater whisk and by hand, gently fold in 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
- Line two sheet pans with baking paper and trace two circles of the base of the angel food cake pan - 10" diameter on each. Divide meringue between the two circles and form into rounds - staying 1/4" within the border - they will be about 3/4" high. Sprinkle with the additional 2 Tbsp of sliced almonds.
- Bake at 275 degrees for 3-35 min. or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
- Cut the Angel food cake in half horizontally
- On the bottom layer, spread some lemon curd, followed by cool whip, meringue layer, then the top of the angel cake spread with lemon curd, cool whip and then the top meringue layer.
Last week’s Elijah concerts at the Community of Jesus were amazingly successful……..full house attendance for both nights accompanied by so many heartfelt comments of how touched and moved listeners were by the richness and beauty of the singing and music.
The brass and organ concert the following week was very different in many ways, yet equally impressive and received enthusiastic applause and compliments from the energized and invigorated audience.
Both concerts were followed by a spectacular reception of both sweet and savory specialties. Among the desserts that received the most acclaim was our favorite little fresh lime tartlet…..so appealing to the eye as well as the palette, so perfect for this time of year.
Little Fresh Lime Tartlet
- Crush the graham cracker squares in a food processor or place in a gallon size bag and roll with a rolling pin.
- Add sugar and butter and mix into the crushed graham cracker.
- Press 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a cupcake liner. I put 1 tablespoon in and then pressed down with 1/4 cup measuring cup. You have the option to bake this at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes so that it can harden.
- In a separate bowl, mix together egg whites, condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and Greek yogurt. Mix well.
- Fill the cupcakes about 3/4 of the way full with the mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool.
- Top with whip cream and garnish with lime if desired. Store in the refrigerator.
Spring is here and we welcome it with open arms! I happened upon these whimsical, delightful pastel meringues. Immediately, Mother’s Day sprang to mind – little kisses with chewy centers and soft colors.. the perfect gift to show your mom how much you love and appreciate her.
- Preheat oven to 215 degrees F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Place egg whites, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine.
- Add a couple of inches of water to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Then place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.
- Heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch.
- Return mixing bowl back to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form (about 5-7 minutes or until the bowl of the mixer is cool to the touch).
- Halfway through mixing, add in the cream of tartar and salt.
- With about 1 minute left, add in gel food coloring.
- Stop mixer and removed bowl from stand. Add in whichever “extra” ingredient you would like: dried raspberries or cranberries, pistachios, chocolate shavings and orange zest, coconut or almonds, and gently fold with a rubber spatula to combine.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, or teaspoon, place dollops of meringue on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Then sprinkle with your toppings used in the meringue: pistachios, raspberries, craisins, chocolate shavings and orange zest, almonds, or coconut.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the outsides are crisp and dry and the insides are chewy.
- Serve immediately after cooling or store in an air-tight container away from any humidity.
Sitting in the refectory with my early morning coffee, I watched a young Sister stirring up something in the baking area of the kitchen. I speculated that she was making a treat of some sort to take to the office since she works at Paraclete Press, the Community’s publishing house. It was not out of the ordinary for this to be happening especially at this time of year. Homemade goodies are known to increase production as well as good spirits in the workplace so it was no surprise to see her doing this. What was a surprise was finding a little plate of Jan Hagel cookies on my desk after returning from church.
As I savored each bite of the crisp buttery delicacies, I asked myself “Why have you not ever made these yourself”? Almost every year someone I know has made these traditional Dutch shortbread cookies and I have enjoyed them at their hands, but have never made them myself. These are the perfect treat to have with a cup of tea with holiday guests and to send home with them as a simple holiday remembrance. I set about to whip up a batch….simple, quick, easy and satisfying. I suggest you consider doing the same. You’ll be glad you did!
Jan Hagel's Dutch Cookies
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and beat until creamy.
- Add the flour and mix well
- Spread thinly on a cookie sheet
- Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with nuts and a little sugar if desired.
- Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 – 30 minutes. Cut into squares or triangles while hot.