Monday, July 2, 2012

In Defense of Decadence

  Decadence is a dish best served in moderation, but certainly not a dish to be ignored. Life is short. Tomorrow is not promised. If you want to eat this or that, don't wait. Don't work yourself into diabetes over it, but don't dismiss your cravings.
  Speaking of gluttony, here's a cake I recently made for someone special, per their request. Lemon poppyseed cakes brushed in lemon syrup are layered with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, where they all work together in taunting you until you must have your cake! And eat it too.
  The recipe comes from a website I happened upon one day. If you make this, don't worry about finding/making caster sugar. I used regular granulated sugar and it turned out just fine!
Lemon Poppyseed Layer Cakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
   This next descent into decadence is more of the simplistic indulgence.  Some good old butter, sugar, flour, and a few other easy ingredients combine to make an absolute hit for dessert in any season.  The original recipe calls for apples, but any stone fruit or other fruit will do.  I like using whatever seems juiciest and ripest.  Behold, Nectarine Crumble (and vanilla ice cream).

Fruit filling
  • 6 cups roughly chopped fruit (Stone fruits work well, or cored, peeled apples)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Crumb topping
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur's or regular unbleached all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  With a rack in the middle of your oven, preheat to 350 degrees.  Use any kind of cooking vessel for this recipe.  I like a square, 8-inch baking dish the best, but a pie pan with high sides would work well too.  Blend sugar and cinnamon together.  Place fruit in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon sugar mixture.  Gently mix together, and then put fruit mixture into baking dish.
  Now make the topping: Place flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Add butter and incorporate into flour mixture by rubbing butter between your thumb and index finger.  Or you can use a pastry blender.  You know you're finished when there's no loose flour mixture, the color is yellowish-golden, and the crumbs are large.
  Sprinkle crumb topping over fruit mixture.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top in most places.  Let cool a bit before eating.  Tastes great warmed up with vanilla ice cream!

  I can't resist including this other gem of a summer dessert recipe.  This is a newly discovered way to enjoy strawberries and rhubarb, which is probably my favorite combination of flavors.  Roasting strawberries and rhubarb together in a syrupy sauce imparts an amazingly tart-sweet melding that is absolutely genius!  Don't just take my word for it, try it.  Today.
  Maple syrup, sweet vermouth, and balsamic vinegar create an experience you won't soon forget!
And of course it goes great with ice cream!  Find the recipe here.

Well, that's all I have on the topic of decadence!  What do you eat when you're feeling indulgent? 

1 comment:

JGoo said...

The Nectarine Crumble looks divine!!