The Italian Dish
The goodie I'm posting for you today is a cute way to serve individual desserts to people - in little jelly jars. It's great for a party, since everyone can just grab a jar. The half-pint taller jelly jars work well for this, since you will be layering parfaits. They are very cheap and you can find them in your grocery store.
This is a dessert that requires three components - a lemon pound cake, a fruit filling and lemon curd. The cake and lemon curd can be made the day before if you are pressed for time. The lemon curd especially keeps well. You can even buy a store bought pound cake, but this lemon pound cake is so delicious I hope you give it a try.
This recipe makes enough for about 7 half-pint jars.
If you don't have the time or inclination to make a homemade lemon pound cake, just substitute a good store-bought pound cake. Poke holes in the top of the cake with a wooden skewer and drizzle lemon juice over the top of it, to add the lemon flavor.
Lemon Pound Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan. (I like to cut out a rectangle of baking parchment and put it in the bottom of my loaf pan and butter and flour that. It ensures that the cake comes out perfectly.)
In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat the butter with the sugar until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape your bowl down with a spatula. Alternately add flour mixture and milk and blend. Add lemon zest and juice and blend. Spoon batter into loaf.
Bake loaf 1 hour and 5 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan 10 minutes and remove from pan to wire rack.
This lemon curd is so delicious and not at all hard to make. I've made it for years. You can make it the day before and refrigerate it. It's from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks from a restaurant in Sicily.
I have lightened the lemon curd up for this recipe by making some whipped cream and folding it into the lemon curd.
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
peel of 1 large lemon, cut in one long strip
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1-1/8 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup of whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
Over low heat, slowly bring the milk, vanilla, and lemon peel to a boil in a large heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally. Let the peel sit in the milk for at least 5 minutes.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and blend well.
Remove it from the heat and discard the lemon peel. Little by little, beat 3/4 cup of the hot milk into the eggs.
Slowly stir the egg mixture into the remaining milk in the saucepan, constantly stirring. When it is thoroughly incorporated, return the pan to high heat and let the crema boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy.
In a tall narrow bowl, beat the whipping cream and sugar until you have a nice whipped cream. Stir this into the lemon curd, reserving a little of the whipped cream, if you like, for topping each parfait at the end.
3 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon Chambord or Creme de Cassis
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Assemble the parfaits:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices and then take a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter the size of your jars and cut out rounds to fit the jars and set aside. Take some of the trimmings and place on a baking sheet and toast for about 6 minutes. Grind these up in your food processor or crumble them with your hands or a grater to make a crunchy topping.
Place a layer of the blueberry filling in each of the jars. Add a slice of pound cake. Add a couple of tablespoons of the lemon curd on top of the pound cake. Add some of the crunchy toasted crumb topping. Add a little blueberry filling on top of that. Repeat once more. For last layer, put lemon curd on top of pound cake and a little of the crunchy topping. Top each parfait with a little whipped cream.
You can assemble these earlier in the day and refrigerate.
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