Inspired by Summer
Oh my, last week we experienced some perfect summer days, even if it was still spring.
It was on-and-off sunny, humid, with a soft breeze.
I was inspired by the weather and so experimented with a summer dessert. I learned how to make a kind-of, sort-of watermelon sorbet, one that calls for some sweetened condensed milk. I will try it with some other fruits, and will soon give you that recipe, along with another that calls for fresh fruit.
Speaking of fresh fruit, local strawberries are here and they are delicious. Strawberry season is one of my favorite times of year, along with corn season, tomato season, basil season...well, you get the idea.
Here’s a great recipe in case you have any leftover strawberries.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at email@example.com.
Toasted-almond Cake with Strawberries in Whipped Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, June, 2007, page 143
Yield: about 8 to 10 servings
¾ cup whole almonds with skins (¼ pound), toasted and cooled
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature about 30 minutes
1 ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar
(I put sugar into processor to get it fine)
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cool
1/3 cup milk (2 percent is fine)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sliced almonds
2 pints frozen strawberries with sugar, thawed,
or 2 pints fresh strawberries, sugared to taste
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or ½ teaspoon rose water)
1 ½ cup heavy cream, whipped
Put oven rack on middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8- or 9-inch square or round cake pan.
With blender on high, add half toasted almonds through top hole and finely grind (be careful not to grind to a paste). Transfer to bowl and grind remaining almonds in same manner, transferring to bowl. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to ground almonds and whisk until combined well.
Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until foamy, about 15 seconds, then add sugar a little at a time, beating. Continue beating until mixture is thick, pale, and forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, 7 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 to 14 minutes with a handheld. Add butter in a slow stream, then add milk and almond extract and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Spread batter in pan, smoothing top, and then sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake until top is golden, cake begins to pull away from side of pan, and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes in clean, around 25 to 35 minutes, depending on size of cake pan. Cool on a rack around 30 minutes, then run knife around edge to loosen and invert onto rack. Take cake right side up on rack and cool completely.
To serve, slice cake onto individual plates, cover with strawberries, and top with lots of whipped cream.v