Now I have a test for you. Granted there are times when a pinch of salt truly brings out the sweet flavors in certain desserts, especially fruited desserts but there are other times where it is simply not needed or wanted. The recipe below is just such an example. I am so disheartened by all celebrity chefs adding salt to meats, seafood, fish and every darned thing imaginable before they grill, saute, braise or cook it in any fashion. “Season it!” they say before cooking it. What do I say? Season with salt and pepper at the table if you need it!
I saw a renowned chef on television a week back who “seasoned” a steak on the char broiler, only to dollop a mound of chive butter on top, giving the other chef a hard time because HE didn’t do the same. Now granted this particular chef does many “IMPOSSIBLE” things, but this one really got me flustered. Enjoy this recipe WITHOUT the added salt so many other cakes and desserts have listed in their ingredient list and see if you notice any discernible difference.
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. plain yogurt
3 tablespoons milk
1 recipe Lemon Curd or 2 c. purchased lemon curd
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 t. bream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grate zest from 1 lemon and then squeeze juice out of it; set both aside in one bowl.
Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a cake pan, 1 loaf pan or one 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice; beat until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture and yogurt alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in milk. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cake for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool thoroughly.
In large bowl, with hand mixer or tabletop mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. With mixer still running, add sugar and cream of tartar slowly until stiff peaks form.
To assemble: Preheat broiler and make sure the broiler rack is 3-4 inches from the heat source. Slice cake into 3 equal layers horizontally. Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread with half of the Lemon Curd and a third of the meringue. Top with second layer; spread with the remaining Lemon Curd and another layer of meringue. Take the third slice of cake and place it on an oven-proof plate or pan. Top with the remainder of the meringue and place it under the broiler until the top has slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes, according to how well your broiler browns. Remove from broiler, let cool for a minute before cooling in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour before slicing and serving.
Homemade Lemon Curd
Makes 2 cups
Zest of 4 lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 1/4 c. sugar
Juice from 4 lemons
1 stick butter or margarine, room temperature
Put the zest and sugar in food processor and pulse until zest is the size of salt. Place this lemon sugar into a mixer with the butter and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add lemon juice, beat 15 seconds longer. The mixture will look quite crumbly, which is fine. Pour lemon mixture into a sauce pan and heat on low until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour through a sieve if desired for a smooth consistency. I prefer it the way it is, chunky. Let cool completely, covered, in refrigerator.