Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lemon bars

I really love lemon desserts. They are so fresh, summery, and full of flavor. When I need piece of summer, of sunshine, I make lemon desserts. I made these few weeks ago, before tulips and daffodils started to bloom, when there were no signs of spring. This year summer is long overdue in Chicago. Winter was brutally cold, long.  On top of everything, everyone I know is sick. My dear workout buddy is not feeling well either, and she could not eat. She lost few pounds in a week, and I was joking with her that I now need to fatten her up :)
We have many things in common, and sometimes we say that we were related in a previous life. Lemon desserts are one of the loves we share. So I made her lemon bars. She loves them, they will cheer her up, and with all lemon juice and vitamin C, we could consider them healthy ;) At least for a day :)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powder sugar
2 sticks butter (226 gr.)
1 tablespoon vodka or water, but with vodka, dough will not develop gluten
Cut cold butter in small peaces. Combine it with flour and sugar, and process it in food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of vodka or water to it. Press it lightly onto the bottom of baking pan. Bake at 350/180C for 20 min. 

For the filling:
1 can condensed milk (396 gr.)
4 eggs,
2/3 cups lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Beat together condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest of one lemon. Sift tablespoon of flour and add it to the mixture. Pour over crust, and bake for 20-25 more minutes, until filling is set, and crust is golden brown. Cool in the pan and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powder sugar.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tres leches cake

Under this whipped cream cloud with strawberries is a Mexican and South Americas favorite, tres leches cake. Basically, this is a really nice butter cake, but the magic happens after you take it out of the oven. After cake is cooled, its soaked with three kinds of milk. Evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. I added rum and vanilla to give it some kick. And this cake drinks it up like a sponge. That's why its so juicy, creamy, rich and flavorful. And it so easy to make. If you are used to complicated layered cakes, this is a breeze.

For the cake:
180 gr butter
100 gr sugar
5 eggs
200 gr flour
12 gr. baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour that you sifted with baking powder and pinch of salt. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm pan lined with baking paper. Bake for 40 min. Take it out of the oven, and flip the pan on the cooling rack. When completely cooled, make holes using a skewer or toothpick.

Mix 250 ml of whole milk, 250 ml evaporated milk, 1 can of condensed milk (397 gr), one tablespoon of rum, and one teaspoon of vanilla. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Transfer it into the serving plate, decorate with whipped cream and strawberries.
Serve cold.