Sangria Blanco and a new Graduate in the Family!

IMG_5052Today’s recipe:  Sangria Blanco!

A special congratulations to my sister for completing her university degree!  We had some special drinks and a barbecue tonight to celebrate.  Beau (the dog) greeted the new university graduate with some turquoise balloons at the front door.  My Dad is in the picture too (I think he is freeing Beau from his balloon greeter duties, so Beau can have dinner too).

My sister loves refreshing summery drinks.  This recipe certainly fits the bill – it was a refreshing combination of green tea, orange juice, prosecco, fresh lemons and fresh oranges.  I chopped the oranges into cubes and put them in the freezer for two hours and they acted as ice cubes to keep the drinks cool.  In a pitcher it is the perfect elegant summer beverage.  I would also make this drink without the wine (for those who do not drink).  Add more green tea and orange juice and add in the fresh citrus fruits.  It is sure to impress your guests!IMG_5055IMG_5028IMG_5045IMG_5062

Ingredients

1 can Arizona Green Tea

1 cup orange juice

2 oranges, cubed

2 lemons, sliced

1 bottle Prosecco

Instructions

1.  Slice fruit and place in pitcher. (freeze orange cubes two hours before you plan to serve it)

2.  Pour in orange juice, green tea, and Prosecco.  Stir well.

3. Serve and enjoy!

Lemon Tart

Well, I decided to go for it – yummy, sweet lemon curd in tart form.  The crust tastes like a sugar cookie, but a bit firmer.  I decided to sprinkle it with icing sugar and then pipe a bit of whipped cream on top.  It turned out beautifully – I think I’ll make this for Jonathan’s family the next time I visit!

I squeezed the lemon juice myself – unfortunately, I spilled some of it in the process, so it was a good thing I bought a number of lemons.  My sister Sarah watched as all the flour, dough, lemon rinds and lemon juice was transformed into the lovely tart.  Usually Sarah doesn’t like the things I make because they don’t involve chocolate, but she tried a sliver of this and admitted that she loved it.

The tart wasn’t ready until after dinner last night, so the family will try it tonight. Last night’s dessert was the fudge my Mom made as a test run for Laura’s wedding favours. She made both white and semi-sweet chocolate fudge. It was delicious – and has been quickly disappearing from the refrigerator.   Mom systematically tested the process in order to calculate how many batches will be needed.  It will be quite the assembly line in our kitchen the day the wedding favour fudge is made, assembled, decorated and put into boxes.

All of this lovely lemon flavour and wedding fever for Laura’s impending nuptials gets me thinking about my wedding next year.  I saw shortbread cookies as a wedding favour – perhaps I’ll bake lemon flavoured shortbread cookies for mine?

Pate Sucree Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter, and process just until mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
  2. With machine running, add 1/4 cup ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Drizzle in egg yolks, and process just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky, about 30 seconds. Test dough by squeezing a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add a bit more ice water.
  3. Divide dough in half. Pat into discs, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Lemon Curd Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks, beaten
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (COLD and cut into small pieces to melt faster )
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated

Directions:

1.  Beat the egg yolks thoroughly and add to saucepan on low heat.

2.  Add the sugar and lemon juice, stir to combine, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10-15 minutes.  Do not hurry the process.

3.  Cook until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve.  Stir in the cold butter pieces, which cools down the mixture quickly.

4.  Add the rind, continue stirring until well-blended.

5.  Transfer to a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap directly on lemon curd.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling the Tart

  1. Once you have made the tart crust and refrigerated it for an hour, roll it out to fit a 9 inch fluted tart pan.  My tart had extra crust, so you could make a mini pie?
  2. Poke the bottom of the tart with a fork and wrap with tin foil.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.  Then let cool completely.
  4. Spread the cooled lemon curd filling evenly on cooled tart crust and then bake for another 25 minutes until it is slightly brown on top and not as jiggly in the center.
  5. Let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and topping with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup of whipping cream

1 tablespoon of icing sugar

Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to whipping.  Whip with a hand blender until soft peaks start to form.  Add whipping cream to piping bag if you wish to pipe on the topping.  Remember that whipped cream is only good for one day.

Lemon Drop Mini Cupcakes (Mini Batch)

I have wanted to use my mini cupcake pan again, so I decided to make some delightful lemon drop mini cupcakes.  This is a mini batch, so its great for 2-4 people for a small dessert or snack.  The batter is quick to put together, in and out of the oven in no time at all (well it will take you 20-30min.)  I love lemon so these are the perfect little treat for me.

The icing is not an intense yellow because I did not add any artificial colours.  The lemon flavour is delightful.  You will taste it in the zest in the cupcake and the lemon juice that is in the icing.  Cupcakes were iced with a knife and then I added some silver balls for decoration.  You can purchase the silver balls at Bulk Barn or anywhere that you buy baking supplies.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons 5% cream
  • 6 tablespoons organic unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of one lemon

Frosting

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Instructions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add in egg and cream.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
  4. Stir all ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Bake at 375 F for ten minutes or until golden on the edges and cooked in the middle.  If you are making regular sized cupcakes they may take longer to bake (around 16-18 minutes.)

 

Lemon Squares

These are a tasty treat and really easy to make.  I had fun garnishing the plate with blackberries and blueberries.  Lemon is always a refreshing flavour and we had many lemons in the refrigerator.  I also had to go to the grocery store and buy more sugar because I have been doing so much baking.

Taking pictures of my lemon squares today I was reminded of ‘take-your-kid-to-work-day’ back in grade 9.  I went to work with my Mom, who was working in product development at Second Cup at the time.  Her day included a food photo shoot with coffee and muffins.  It was very exciting watching the food stylist and the photographer work their magic.  Unlike the food photographers doing that photo shoot, I only had one chance with making my lemon squares.  For the Second Cup photo shoot, my Mom had made probably around 60 large muffins, simply to create the effect of the perfectly textured muffin.  Just like back then in grade 9, I still look up to my Mom and her wonderful enthusiasm for baking and food.

Other good news that I am happy to report, is that I am making my spring daisy cupcakes for my sister Laura’s bridal shower!  I will be making 50 cupcakes and 50 fondant daisies.  These cupcakes are sure to be a hit.

Lemon Squares Recipe

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup butter

¼ cup sugar

Lemon topping

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 eggs lightly beaten

2 tbsp grated lemon rind

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (freshly squeezed is better)

Instructions

  1. In your food processor combine flour, sugar and butter until it looks crumbly.  Grease your 8 inch baking pan and then place the crumbly mixture in the pan.  Pat down on the crust.  Then bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F or until golden brown at the sides.
  2. For the lemon topping mix the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, lemon rind and lemon juice in the food processor.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the lemon topping batter over the baked crust.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Let cool before slicing into squares.
  5. With a sieve sprinkle lightly some icing sugar.  Put icing sugar into sieve and then lightly tap the sieve so that the sugar does not look heavy.