I was feeling something fresh this week. I have been making doughnuts, cannolis, and so many other heavy desserts that I just wanted to sit back and make something a bit lighter. So, lemon mousse seemed to fit all my requirements.
I went back to one of my favorite food blogs, Tartelette, to find a recipe, and I found an amazing one.
This cake is nice, light, and a great dessert that reminds me of summertime during this cold winter.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Meyer Lemon Mousse

From: Tartelette
Makes 6 small cakes

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups (185gr) all purpose flour
1 cup (200gr) sugar
1 tablespoon (14gr) baking powder
1/4 (1.5gr) teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3-4)
3/4 (175ml) cup milk
1/4 cup (62.5ml) fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon (9gr) poppy seeds
1 stick (113gr) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300F. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the cake. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine the egg whites and the milk. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and slowly add in the egg white mixture while stirring with a whisk. Add in the lemon juice, zest, the poppy seeds and the melted butter. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Line a half sheet pan or a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper, lightly spray with cooking spray and pour in the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Let cool and cut out six 3-inch rounds to fit your ring molds.*  Place the cakes on baking tray. Set aside.

Soaking syrup:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs of sugar

In a small saucepan set over low heat dissolve lemon juice in  water with a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Let cool to room temperature and brush the cake rounds with the syrup using a pastry brush.

1 to 2 cups strawberries

Quickly wash the strawberries, pat them dry and slice into 1/8 inch to a 1/4 inch thick slices and line the cake rings with them. Set aside.

Meyer Lemon Mousse:
1 1/2 teaspoons (about 1 pckt) gelatin
2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water
1 1/4 (310ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (throw the seeds in the pot with the milk)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 grams)sugar
1/4 cup (40 gr)cornstarch
1/4 cup (62.5ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

In a ramekin, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until you prepare the cream. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together, add the cornstarch mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling, (pour through a strainer if this happens). Remove vanilla bean. Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice and zest, cook another 30 seconds and remove from the heat. Immediately add in the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream so that it does not develop a skin as it cools to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and gently fold it into the pastry cream. Pipe or spoon the mousse immediately in the cake rings, level the top with an offset spatula and refrigerate. If you have any leftover, spoon into dessert dishes or glasses for quick snack.**

Recipe Notes:

I made this recipe with 2 regular lemons, instead of meyer lemons because of meyer lemons were unavailable at my grocery store. It works just as well however!

*I used bottomless cake rings for the molds, and places them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to refrigerate. If you do not have ring molds I would highly suggest buying some as they are extremely helpful in many recipes including this one.

**To remove cakes from rings, heat a knife under water and cut around the edges. Apply a little bit of pressure to the top, and slide the cakes out onto a plate.

Until next week!

Being sick isn't fun. I mean, I guess that something we all know, but we seem to forget it... until that is we actually get sick. That was, unfortunately, what happened to me this weekend. But hey, it gives me an excuse to drink tons of tea and be super lazy. So that's a plus.
Fortunately in the way of pastry, I had a backup recipe I made two or three weeks ago that didn't get posted, and was super good. Cannolis, in my opinion, are a staple for any bakery. Yes, right along with the sugar, flour, and salt there should be cannolis. They are a perfect mid-day treat, or dessert and you can usually tell a good bakery by their cannolis.
Granted, this being the first time I made cannolis mine wouldn't have come from such a bakery, but that's the learning process.


From, with slight edits to: Vintage Mixer
Makes 16 small cannolis

For the Cannoli Shells:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/8 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 ounces chocolate of choice (to dip ends of cannoli shells)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add Marsala and oil, and beat on medium speed until dough comes together. Using your hands, knead dough on a lightly floured work surface about 10 minutes.* Wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a thin sheet of dough.**  Cut out rounds with a 3 1/4-inch cutter. Gather scraps and reroll. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy saucepan to come about 4 inches up sides. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 380 degrees.
Wrap each round of dough around a 3 3/4-inch-long cannoli form, sealing with a dab of egg white. Working in batches of 4, fry until golden, about 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer or tongs, transfer to paper towels, and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully slide out forms, and let shells cool. Continue rolling, cutting, and frying the remaining dough.
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip ends of cannoli shells in melted chocolate. Let set 15 minutes on parchment paper.

For the Mascarpone Creme:
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, drained (look here for how to)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup marscapone
pinch of salt
mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix filling ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
When ready to serve, use a pastry bag with 1/2 inch star tip. Pipe filling into one end of a shell to the center, then into other end. Repeat with remaining shells and filling. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips onto cannoli ends.

Recipe Notes:

*The original recipe called for 15 minutes of kneading until your dough is smooth and elastic. I kneaded for 15 minutes without reaching this consistency, but because I was pressed for time I simply went on with the rest of the recipe. For my second batch I kneaded only 10 minutes and left both to sit for 30 minutes and both became smooth and elastic after sitting on the counter. 

** It is very important to not roll out the dough too thin. I had this issue at the beginning and had to re-roll. Keep it to about 1/2 a centimeter.

Until next week!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and so is my school's tradition of  Heart-o-grams, a singing telegram that interrupts classes throughout the day. This Valentine's Day me and a few friends are going to be a singing group delivering these telegrams. I'm super excited, and can't wait to show off the songs we have been working on.

For the new dessert, I saw these on Pinterest, and just about freaked. Cheesecake filled doughnuts! If you haven't been a reader of this blog, I post a ton of cheesecake recipes (probably too many!) but it is too good to pass up!

These doughnuts can be a tad bit tricky though, as I had never "woken up" yeast before and the recipe was very vague. I got the idea to gather together a couple of baking how to's and keeping a running page of the blog of different things I come across that are tough to figure out. I'm hoping to get that page up within a week or so, so check back soon!

Cheesecake Filled Doughnuts

For the Doughnuts:
7 gm (about 1 sachet) dried yeast
Pinch of sugar.
170 ml lukewarm milk
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
40 gm butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
350 gm (2 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

*Stir a pinch of sugar and 60ml warm water (100 to 110 degrees F.) in a bowl to combine. Add yeast and stir vigorously until combined. Cover with a towel and and set aside until foamy (5-7 minutes). Place in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook with milk, sugar, butter, egg, half the flour and 1 tsp fine sea salt, and knead on low speed, gradually adding remaining flour, until a sticky dough forms (4-5 minutes; dough will be quite wet). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, dust with a little extra flour, form into a ball, then transfer to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and towel. Then, set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
Roll out dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 1.5cm. Cut out rounds with a floured 8cm-diameter cutter and place 2cm apart on trays lined with baking paper. Re-roll scraps and repeat, then cover and set aside until doubled in size (45 minutes to 1 hour).

For the Salted Caramel:
200 gm caster sugar
60 gm salted butter, coarsely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) half and half

For salted caramel, stir sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook until caramel colored (4-5 minutes). Swirl the pan for more even caramelization, and brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any crystallizing sugar. Add butter, whisk to combine, then add cream (be careful, mixture will foam up) and 1 tsp sea salt or to taste and whisk to combine. Pour into a jar or even into a gravy boat to cool for easy pouring later on.

For the Cheesecake Filling:
250 gm cream cheese, at room temperature
100 gm strained whole milk ricotta
40 gm granulated sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon or 1 tsp. vanilla (depending on what flavor you want, I used the lemon, however the vanilla would be great too!)

For cheesecake filling, process all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle and set aside.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Crumb:
220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar
30 gm butter cookies (about 3), coarsely crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For cinnamon sugar crumb, combine all ingredients and ½ tsp salt in a bowl, then spread on a tray and set aside.

For Deep-Frying:
vegetable oil

Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 315 degrees F. Deep-fry doughnuts in batches of 4, turning once, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Transfer with a slotted spoon to cinnamon sugar crumb and toss to coat. Allow to cool.
Pierce base of each doughnut with piping tube and pipe a little cheesecake filling into each and serve warm with salted caramel, scattered with extra cinnamon crumb.
Serve as soon as possible and they are best eaten the day they are made.

Recipe Notes: 

*This took me a while to figure out as this was my first time trying to activate yeast. I found that my cold counter top was cooling down the water to below 100 degrees, so the yeast wouldn't bubble. Place a potholder or another towel underneath the bowl you are working with to fix this issue.

** If the carmel starts to look black and/or smoke it is burnt and can't be used. This can happen just 30 seconds after the desired color is reached. Watch your carmel carefully.