I have recently moved into a new house. A desire to do a bit of nesting, coupled with just having bought yet another cookbook, the baking book Honey and Jam, led me to make a cake.
Whilst trying to orientate myself in the surrounding streets of very similar grand Georgian terraces, I popped into the local corner shop. I went in with pretty low expectations, banking on just getting milk and eggs. However, I was confronted with quails eggs, cashew nuts and several different types of brie. So I bought some duck eggs, my favourite brand of local butter and some cashew nuts for good measure.
The flavours in this cake were inspired by some ice cream I had recently at Swoon Gelato: caramelised fig and mascarpone. The duck eggs gave it a richness, and the butter tinged it yellow, and I added some ground almonds to the sponge. I topped the cake with sliced figs, fig jam and mascarpone cream.
Sometimes, recipes swirl around in my head for days. They start off as one thing, then morph into another, as I add or take away elements. At two in the morning, I’m often wide awake racked with indecision about whether to use mozzarella or goat’s cheese, white or dark chocolate, basil or oregano, cherries or peaches in a particular recipe. Not all in the same one, you understand, that would be too much like crazy fusion cuisine for my taste.
This recipe started life in my brain as a sort of lemon curd trifle, then I decided to add marscapone to make it more like a cheesecake, then I did away with the biscuit base all together, added some whipped egg white and voila– a mousse. Naming things can be a struggle sometimes, as I often want to just say it’s a lemon curd and marscapone….thing. But I guess a ‘thing’ sounds less appealing than the sultry vowels of a ‘mousse’.
I have already waxed lyrical about the joys of fruit curds in my Passionfruit and White Chocolate Cheesecake post, and I’m afraid here I go again. I am mildly obsessed with making lemon curd. As well as lemon curd, I have tried orange, passionfruit, blackcurrant (and those are just the ones I can remember making off the top of my head). But lemon curd is always a winner – it’s cheap to make, unlike passionfruit, and goes so well with so many things.
I made these to take to a tea party last weekend. It was a tea party that moved seamlessly into a cocktail party, from which I suffered a painful (but totally worth it) hangover.
Macaroons are notoriously tricky, and I have to admit that these didn’t turn out amazingly. They were a bit misshapen and cracked – definitely not living up to my fantasies of the perfectly round, flawless macaroons you see in patisserie windows. Along with my pastry-chef friend Vicky, we ended up making 3 batches (probably ending up with at least 60 macaroons) in an attempt to get more successful ones.
Most macaroons are dyed ridiculous artificial colours and are tooth-achingly sweet – so we used matcha green tea powder, giving them a slight bitterness and a lovely gentle green colour. For the filling we opted for a marscapone cream with lots of vanilla, which complemented the green tea flavour really well. So despite not having the most uniform appearance, they tasted good. And by the time we handed them round at the party, everyone (including me) was too sozzled to notice that they were anything less than perfect.