Orange, Lemon or Tangerine Olive Oil Cake

This is my basic cake, the one I soak in syrup and I often complement with jam or marmalade as well as with seasonal fruit to create a more elaborate dessert. Costas, who loves desserts, likes to freeze the cake and he cuts thin slices to eat after lunch.

 

 

Instead of grating the fruit to get the fine zest, then juicing it, I pulse whole pieces in the blender — peel and flesh of the lemon, orange or tangerine—to add aroma and tang to the cake.

I bake it either in loaf pans, or in a square, round or rectangular pan. When cooled a bit, I often slice it horizontally and while still warm I douse with the basic lemon syrup I describe in the Yogurt Cake. I sometimes add a layer of jam or marmalade in the middle, and/or a seasonal fruit and nut topping: Confit orange slices, briefly cooked strawberries, an/or almonds or pistachios.

 

 

Traditionally all Greek cakes –called glyka tapsiou (cakes baked in a pan)– the most well known being walnut or almond cake, are served soaked in syrup.  I always splash liberally the cake with my Lemon Liqueur;  you can use Limoncello or any good citrus-flavored liqueur.

 

Makes 2 loaf pans (8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches, or 20 X 10 X 6 cm)

or a 9-inch round or square cake (more…)

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“Mallorcas” Sweet Tsoureki Buns

Adapted from the Puerto Rican ‘Mallorcas, the slightly sweet breakfast buns I found in the festive pages of SAVEUR magazine. See also how I use this brioche-like dough to make a Strawberry Cake and a Chocolate & Almond Loaf.

 

“Fluffy, eggy, buttery, sweet, coiled like a snail’s shell, and generously dusted with powdered sugar, the pan de Mallorca is named for its land of origin, in Spain. They are delicious on their own, or split and turned into sweet-and-savory ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches,” the magazine’s introduction explained.

 

The dough is very similar to challah and the traditional Greek tsoureki,  –the sweet brioche-like festive breads we bake for Christmas and Easter. In my version I substituted light olive oil for the butter, and used whole eggs, instead of just egg yolks, then I decided to brush the dough rectangle with my Seville orange marmalade before rolling and cutting the buns. I also placed them one roll next to the other, like cinnamon rolls, and I wish I had managed to make all the buns roughly the same size…

(Photo from Saveur magazine

 

Makes 6 large buns            (more…)

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Preserved Lemons: Fast, Truly Edible, and Fragrant

This recipe is inspired from the ‘Preserve Lemon Chutney’ by the late chef Floyd Cardoz –victim of  the corona-virus epidemic. It brilliantly solves the problem of the straightforward, whole lemons made the traditional way, which loose their fruitiness as they take ages to ferment. 

 

But most importantly when they finally do ferment and their pith becomes soft and nearly translucent, they usually have such a strong, salty and bitter taste that their use as flavoring are extremely limited. Even few pieces added to rubs or marinades for meat or oily fish can overpower all other flavors and aromatics in a way that is not actually pleasant even for the most avid lemon lovers as myself; Costas really hates them.

 

 

So last year I had a revelation reading the recipe for ‘Preserve Lemon Chutney’ by the late chef Floyd Cardoz .

 

One of the victims of Covid 19, “Mr. Cardoz was the first chef born and raised in India to lead an influential New York City kitchen, at Tabla, which he and the restaurateur Danny Meyer opened in the Flatiron district of Manhattan in 1998. Soon after, Ruth Reichl of The New York Times gave Mr. Cardoz’s cooking a rapturous review,” as we read in his NYT Obituary.

 

His brilliant description of how to make fast and fruity fermented lemon wedges, in order to use them for his chutney, was really what I was looking for. I tested and played with his instructions –not the chutney, but just the preserved lemons— and here is what I now make and use and love!

 

 

“At the restaurant we preserve lemons all year round, and use them endlessly in salads, dishes with a north African feel, or puréed with crème fraîche, which we serve on roasted fish,” writes chef Cardoz.

 

 

I would add that these wonderful lemon pieces are complimenting my skordalia (garlic sauce), as well as potato salads, boiled greens (horta), steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and of course poached fish or chicken. I like to julienne the preserved lemon pieces and use in my salad dressings, and to flavor freshly cured olives, and all kinds of bean salads.

 

Fast Preserved Lemon Wedges

 

For 1 litre (quart) Jar (more…)

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Apple Cake with Olive oil and Lemon

This moist, fruity cake is based on a recipe for Rustic Tuscan Apple Cake that my friend Val posted in her brilliant site More than Burned Toast.

I tweaked the recipe, substituting olive oil for the butter, and also used my lemon liqueur instead of the amaretto the Tuscan recipe suggests.I made it in a rectangular pan, and as I took it out of the oven I glazed it with some marmalade diluted in more lemon liqueur…

 

For a 10X7 inch (25X18,5 cm) cake (more…)

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