Until a few weeks ago, I had never made an angel food cake. Whaaaat? I know, right?
I have my own chickens, I love sweets, I can bake up a storm and I have never even attempted it. Why? Because to me, angel food cakes have always been the loafer of the cake world. Boring. Plain. Overused. The many times I’ve had it, it’s always been store bought, drenched in slimy store bought “glaze” or used as a base for sad out of season strawberries. A “healthy” dessert. Blah. Please, smother mine in three cups of whipped cream, some fresh raspberries and some shaved chocolate. Okay, now we’re talking. Oh, does that defeat the purpose of the whole egg white based cake thing? Yeah… so you see my dilemma.
But then came the day when I looked in the refrigerator and saw four dozen eggs. We’d had a bit of a backup on egg eating and an explosion of egg production. Damn those unpredictable hens. So there were choices to be made. What recipe uses a billion eggs? Cheesecake? Zabaglione? Frittata? Omelettes? While these recipe use at least four or six eggs, it didn’t quite use up the dozen or so I had my mind to get rid of. Oh sure I could sell them, but I have trouble parting with my hard won eggs. Even produce of the kind people strive to get rid of in the summer (zucchinis?) I hoard them. My basement right now is filled with pumpkins that I refused to give away before Halloween for fear people would carve them instead of eat them.
And so I came to the thought that I needed to use the whites and yolks separately. Whites….hmmm. Meringue. Barf. Macarons? Failed too many times. Pavlova? I wouldn’t even know where to start. So I settled on the ubiquitous angel food cake. Like, hello, everyone has made it. I should too! I even had a bundt pan that I could use…I thought. So I started my cake, I whipped my whites, I diligently folded them with flour and cream of tartar. I poured them into said ungreased bundt pan and I shoved them ever so undelicately into my top oven (there’s enough room for it to expand right? It won’t expand that much right? There’s no leaveners…)
When the burning smell attracted me to turn the oven light on, I saw my cake had flung itself into the top elements of the oven. I opened the oven (is that bad with angel food cake?) and scraped as much of the cake back onto the barely cooked centre and shoved into the ice cold bottom oven. I figured it would be fine. 25 minutes or so later..it was done!
I popped it out of the oven, hung it upside down on the neck of a bottle and awaited. I picked at the delicious crispy bits that peeked out of the pan. Damn, that was a million times better than store bought!
An hour or so later I pried it out of the ungreased bundt pan with a bread knife, as it had not come out on it’s own. The rest of the cake was pretty blasé. The best part was the crispy bottom I had eaten without even a second thought.
So now I had a dozen egg yolks to contend with. I made sure to include pasta in my plans, but what of the other six yolks? And then it came to me. Why not reunite these lost soul egg whites with their dear departed brethren yolks? And so I hatched (HA! pun!) the idea of curd. This may have been one of the best reunion stories of the year (in my kitchen).
The best part about this recipe is you can use any citrus you have on hand. Grapefruits, oranges, limes, lemons, Meyer Lemons, tangerines, clementines, mandarins, kumquats….you get the idea.
One year ago: How to Make Goat Cheese
Two years ago: Lamb Stew
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar (note: I like my curd a little on the tart side. Increase to 1 cup if you like yours sweet)
1/2 tsp vanilla
juice of 2 lemons (or Meyer lemons) and 2 limes (you could also use one orange or one grapefruit instead of 2 of the lemons or limes), about 3/4 cup liquid
zest of half a lemon
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1. In a small pot, bring 2″ of water to a slow simmer.
2. In a bowl that will fit over the pot and fit snugly without touching the water, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until very smooth. Whisk in the citrus juices and zest.
3. Place the bowl on top of the simmering water and begin to stir constantly with a rubber spatula (rubber scraper). Continue to cook this way for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. (To test the thickness, run your finger over the spatula after stirring and if the space where you ran your finger remains clean, it’s thick enough. If the curd comes together, continue to stir.)
4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter one piece at a time.
5. Pour curd into a large bowl or a few smaller bowls and cover in plastic, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Place in refrigerator. Will keep for 2-3 weeks.
6. Serve the curd over ice cream, as a filling in cakes (mixed with buttercream frosting) or pour it over an angel food cake.
Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:
Pineapple Curd from T and T Kitchen
Passionfruit Curd from Eden Kitchen
Lemon Curd Macarons from Bake Bike Blog
Raspberry and Thyme Curd from London Bakes
Cranberry Curd from Kitchen Confidante
Blueberry Curd from Manu’s Menu