Easter is this weekend and I thought I’d round up some seasonal recipes that would be good for family dinners and get togethers.
While Easter is associated with ‘chocolate,’ I actually prefer non-chocolate desserts for this holiday. Things like coconut, carrot and lemon flavoured desserts are more fitted for the holiday in my mind.
From the top Clockwise:
Vegan Carrot Cake – amazing, healthier for you and great for a crowd. Serve at an Easter brunch or after dinner dessert
Birds Nest Cupcakes - great for a sweet treat after dinner, yellow cake filled with lemon curd and topped with buttercream and toasted coconut
Morning Glory Muffins – perfect for a simple Easter brunch or breakfast after an egg hunt
Lemon Poppy Seed Sticky Buns - less sweet than a cinnamon bun, a fluffy lemony baked good for breakfast or a snack this weekend
This Easter I was lucky enough to go to two easter dinners. And, both were different and unique. On Sunday I feasted on a traditional Italian dinner of Lasagna, Lamb, Smelt, Salad, Fried Artichoke hearts, Shrimp, Fennel etc. and delicious Italian desserts such as Torta Di Riso and Zuppa Inglese. On Saturday, I went to my boyfriends parents house for a turkey dinner! I love love love turkey dinners. It felt like christmas all over again, and the stormy weather made it feel even more like winter than spring! Even so, I felt like I wanted to make a truly spring-like dessert, and I had decided a week or so ago that it would be something with lemons. I think a lemon dessert is the epitome of spring, its tangy and sweet and usually on top of a delicious crust, be it graham or pastry.
This crust however, is a different story. I had decided on a recipe early on, thinking I would try something new, as I had made the Tarte Au Citron by Dorie before, I thought I would give something else a go. The ‘You Could Be in Paris’ Lemon Tart seemed promising, and looked even better. I was all ready to go, with a little distraction helper in the kitchen, and readied all the ingredients like a pro. I thought “this tart is going to be perfect!” I was right, ish.
You see, I had read all the ingredients and set them out on the counter, I began first with the crust, of course, and continued on my way. As I was making the crust I thought, how simple! I should tell you, I have never been a crust maker, not pies or tarts. For some reason It always turns out hard, even when I try to work it as little as possible. Now, this tart shell was appealing to me because I had never used melted butter, instead of cold butter to make the pastry. This intrigued me because I thought how could you possibly over work it. Well, you see I’m sure you can’t, but, you can however add about a cup too much of sugar, thus leaving you with a hardened tart shell.
Now I’m usually pretty careful when it comes to ingredients, but to no fault but my own, I didn’t realize all the ingredients were lumped into one, no differentiating between crust and filling. So, I measured out all my sugar and plopped it into the crust. When really, there was only supposed to be a 1/4 cup in the crust, and reserved the 1 cup for the filling. I did think to myself as I baked it “my, thats a shiny crust!” Oh well. It was delicious all the same, the filling was just tangy enough and smooth and creamy. I would recommend it if you love lemon, as I do, and you can even pretend you were in Paris.
I also had a smaller tart pan, so I moulded the rest of the dough into my tiny muffin tin and made mini ones. They were an excellent pre-dinner appy.
‘You Could Be In Paris’ Lemon Tart
from Luscious Lemon Desserts via Not so humble pie
For The Crust:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tbs. lemon zest
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir in one tablespoon of the lemon zest and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl or your food processor. Pour the butter into the bowl in a fine stream, mixing with a fork until well blended and it holds together when pinched. If using a food processor, blend the ingredients and then pour the butter into the feed tube and blend for roughly a minute.
- Empty the mixture into an 11″ tart pan with a removable bottom and press it with your fingertips to evenly line the sides and bottom.
- Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until it is a light golden brown. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
- Process the remaining one cup of sugar with the remaining one tablespoon of lemon zest in your food processor for about 2-3 minutes, until the zest is finely ground.
- Pour the sugar into a bowl and add the eggs, lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Beat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and then whisk the cream into the sugar/egg mixture until just blended. Pour this mixture into your still warm crust and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.
- Allow the tart to cool completely.
- Just before serving, dust generously with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and enjoy.
Today is Good Friday. Being catholic, this means no meat. So far I’ve managed to eat no meat. I also have managed to have a diet today which includes granola for breakfast, a cafe latte and Panettone for lunch with my Nonna, and a snack of Pizzelles, of course. Perhaps I should throw a few veggies in there somewhere..
Anyways, Pizzelles have a long history for me. Ever since I could remember each and every Christmas Eve, again a meatless day for Catholics in which we feast on Seafood, (and I mean feast) I would look forward to eating about 20 Pizzelles while I waited for dinner to be served. My Nonna made them without fail each year and I always thought they were a magical cookies. They are so flat and delicate, with a beautiful imprint on both sides. I had never made them myself before, because you see, you need a special Pizzelle maker to produce them.
As I was having coffee and Panettone with her today, I asked if I could borrow it so I could make this intricate cookie for Easter this weekend. We had been reminiscing about how when she was my age (21) she would had just had my dad. They lived in Italy at the time, and immigrated to Canada when my father was 1. He turned 2 a day after they arrived in Vancouver. I’m sure he would have eaten these by the pile-full as well. She had told me that she never actually had one until now herself, as she and her friend would make them together, and she would borrow her friends maker when she wanted. She just got one for herself, as they were quite expensive before and so I was lucky enough to be able to borrow it for the day. This is my first time ever making them, It seems funny now that I am older that I’m able to do things like this, as I always thought it was so exciting when my Nonna made them, and now I’m the one able to make them. Perhaps I’ll have to get her opinion, just to make sure they’re as authentic as hers.
These little lace cookies are delicious on their own, but you can also use them to make waffles cones, or tubes for Cannoli’s. To do this you need to bend them as soon as they are off the press, as they begin to harden up quite quickly. Alternatively, you can also add cocoa to them to make chocolate ones. But, I say why mess with the original. I’ve also seen them used as the cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
However you choose to make it, I suggest you try them if you have not already. It is difficult to make without a proper press, sorry to say, but if you happen to have one or are able to borrow one I highly recommend it. It takes little effort, and makes large batches.
I hope you all enjoy the long Easter weekend. For now, I’m finding refuge indoors for the day as the high winds and rain have kept us inside all day. A certain little furry friend is not so keen on walking in the storm.
Nonna’s Southern Italian Style Pizzelles
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups sugar (500 ml)
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled (250 ml)
- 2 tsp. Vanilla (10 ml)
- 7 cups Flour (1.75 ml)
- 4 tbs. baking powder (20 ml)
- Beat eggs and sugar.
- Add cooled butter, and vanilla extract.
- Sift flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture.
- The batter will have dough like consistency.
- 1 inch round balls can be formed, if it is stiff enough.
- Place dough onto middle of the grids, using a tablespoon if yours is a little more batter like, or place by hand 1 inch dough balls.
- Press down the lid of the Pizzelle Press and wait a minute or two. You can check it to see if it is slightly browned, you don’t want it to be too dark. Once they are finished cooking, gently lift off to cool with a fork.
Makes about 60 Pizzelles.