Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baker's Delight: Citrus Desserts

I LOVE citrus desserts. I grew up enjoying lemon glaze cake, lemon meringue pie and more. The combination of sweet and tart is delightful.

These orange brownies were unbelievable!There is no chocolate in them - they are simply a dessert bar. We will definitely make them again for a wonderful treat!



ORANGE BROWNIES
(slighly adapted from Paula Deen)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tsp. pure orange extract (I didn't have this so I used 2 tsp. orange juice and 1 tsp. of a citrus extract)
Zest of one orange
1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 Tb. butter, softened 
1 (1-lb.) box confectioners' sugar (3-4 c.) 
 zest of one orange 
2 Tb. fresh squeezed orange juice

In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies.

I've not been a huge fan of key lime desserts until the last few years. This key lime cheesecake is delicious. It's light and creamy and the fresh squeezed limes make it so fresh. I like to garnish this with fresh whipped cream, fresh lime slices, and white chocolate curls.


KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

CRUST:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
6 Tb. butter, melted

FILLING:
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
3 eggs
1 Tb. grated lime zest
2/3 c. key lime juice

Combine cookie or graham cracker crumbs with butter or margarine. Press into bottom and partially up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate.

In a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the cream cheese, sugar, lime peel, and cornstarch until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending just until smooth. Add key lime juice with mixer on low. Finish mixing by hand. Do not overbeat, or cake will crack during baking. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 55 to 65 min., or until set. To minimize cracking, place a shallow pan half full of hot water on lower rack during baking.

Turn oven off, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 min. with the door open at least 4 in. Remove from oven. Refrigerate cake overnight, and up to three days.

This cake is so lemon-y! We all loved it! I served it topped with blueberry sauce but it's great by itself, too. It's like a pound cake.



LEMON CAKE
(Ina Garten)

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

GLAZE:
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
3 1/2 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-in.) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 min. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 c. lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 min. to 1 hr., until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 c. granulated sugar with 1/2 c. lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.



BLUEBERRY SAUCE
3 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 c. sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened.