Mar 21, 2008

Easter Treats

well I don't really celebrate Easter. I don't have any kids and I'm not religious (not that I have anything against it). But I really like to make these sometimes on Easter because they are so cute and pretty. Not to mention VERY tasty. But I usually send them off with the husband to his office so they can gobble them up instead of me. They are time consuming, but fun to make and the end result is very rewarding. I usually double this recipe.  


Easter Egg Cakes
These desserts are made from pound cake shaped to resemble an egg white, then scooped out and filled with a lemon-curd "yolk." These cakes can be made in advance and stored in the freezer. When ready to decorate, bring to room temperature before glazing. The glaze must be made just before ready to use, or it will dry out.
Makes 6 individual cakes.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup Lemon Curd
7 cups assorted fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apricots, and cherries, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
24 fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Heat oven to 250 degrees, with a rack in the center. Generously butter the wells of an egg-cake pan, and dust the wells with flour; tap out any excess. Set pan aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine butter and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon zest; beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Beat until just combined.

Spoon batter into each of 6 wells in the cake pan, filling to within 1/2 inch of the rim. (If you are using an egg-cake pan with more than 6 wells, alternate between the filled and empty ones.) Bake the egg cakes for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until the cakes are golden, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer egg-cake pan to a wire rack, and let cool slightly. While the cakes are baking make the first batch of glaze. Invert pan, and remove cakes. Using a serrated knife, trim the cakes to resemble eggs sliced in half. (To make trimming easier, place the eggs in resealable plastic bags, and transfer to freezer for 45 minutes.) Using a melon baller, scoop out a 1-inch-diameter hole in each cake.

Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place the cakes flat-side down on the wire rack. Working quickly, pour the colored butter glaze over 3 cakes, completely coating the outside of the cake. Make second batch of glaze, and glaze remaining 3 cakes. Let glaze set completely, about 1 hour. Turn the glazed cakes over, and trim away any excess glaze with a paring knife so glaze is flush with the flat side of cake. Wash and dry wire rack.
Place cakes glazed-side down on the clean wire rack; generously dust flat side with confectioners' sugar. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler, and fill the bag with lemon curd. (Alternately, the curd can be carefully spooned into the hole.) Fill each hole with lemon curd until it resembles a slightly rounded egg yolk. In a large bowl, combine fruit and Grand Marnier, and toss to coat.

On each dessert plate, make a nest of fruit, and place a decorated cake in the center. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve.

 9 Cup Non-Stick Easter Egg Pan

*Lemon Curd
This curd can be prepared several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator; use any extra as a spread for your morning toast.

Ingredients- Makes 1 1/2 cups.

3 large egg yolks,
strained Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces


Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.  

*Colored Butter Glaze for Easter Egg Cakes
 This glaze is made in two batches, to prevent it from drying out.

Ingredients -Coats 6 egg cakes.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
Food coloring
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in food coloring until the desired shade is reached; set aside. Place 1 cup confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a small bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Remove pan from heat, and immediately pour butter into the bowl with sugar. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tinted milk, and whisk until smooth. Immediately glaze three of the cakes; the mixture should be just thin enough so that it runs down the sides of the cake; if not, add a small amount of milk until thinned. Repeat Step 2 to glaze the remaining cakes.

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