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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chilly Winter Weather Spurs Baking Frenzy

Gingerbread Muffins with Meyer Lemon Curd
There are times when a baking bender is required.  That time is now, as the temperature dips have given us multiple nightly freezes, (yes, right here in Northern CA!!) this just makes me want to keep my oven employed.  This weather led me to find the most delicious recipe for Fresh Ginger Muffins.  Actually, the author calls them Steamed GingerBread Pudding, but muffin will do for me.  They are so flavorful because they use freshly grated ginger, and a ton of it!  Don't be alarmed, cooked ginger is never as strong as dried.  Please try these with fresh ginger, you will be rewarded for your adventuresome spirit.  Mine stuck a little to the pan, even with a cooking spray, which didn't happen the first time I made them (hmm?), so you might want to use muffin papers.  The tops get crisp and are the best part!

Steamed Gingerbread Pudding (or Muffins)

1 1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup Fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 TBS hot water
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray the pans of muffin tins, or using paper, line each one.  I used a mini- muffin tin of 24 and it was the exact amount.

Using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and let stand.

Place the ginger in a cuisinart and add enough water to cover, then process until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl.  Pour the rest of the water and pulse to dislodge any remaining ginger.   Set aside to cook a little, five minutes.  Add the sugar, oil, molasses, and salt to the ginger and beat on medium speed until incorporated.   Add the flour mixture, slowly to the bowl and switch to high speed until the batter is perfectly blended.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour the batter into prepared pans, dividing it evenly.  Bake the cakes until the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Let cool and then serve with Fresh Meyer Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream.   OOH LA LA!

Lemon Curd ~ Chez Panisse Style

This is the easiest thing in the world to make.  It took me five minutes and what a treat to have this when you are entertaining.  It brightens everything up.   I have to tell you that I accidentally skipped the butter and it came out just fine!  So that is the low-fat version!  Voila!

2 lemons (meyer if you have them)
2 eggs
3 yolks
6 TBS sugar
6 TBS unsalted butter
pinch of salt

Zest the lemons into a small bowl.  Juice the lemons, and strain the juice into the same bowl.  Beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until completely incorporated and a little fluffy.  The eggs will lighten in color somewhat.

Cook over medium heat, stirring until the texture of thick creme anglaise.  Remove from heat and allow to chill for 4 hours before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Gingerbread recipe by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Lemon Curd Recipe by Chez Panisse restaurant/Alice Waters

Stay Warm and Happy Cooking!

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