An abundance of basil
Special to The Union
Dear Roberta: My family loves fresh basil and for years I have planted enough to make and freeze pesto that will last the winter. This year I overplanted and I turn to you for some new and interesting things to do with my extra basil.
I always have pesto “ice cubes” in the freezer also and right about now they run out and are ready for replenishing.
I have an unusual recipe for you to try.
Lemon Cakes with Basil, Lemon Syrup
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons, melted
3/4 cup cake flour plus additional for dusting
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (4- by 1-inch) strip fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large fresh basil sprigs
For whipped cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups
Garnish: small fresh basil leaves
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush 8 muffin cups with some of melted butter and chill 2 minutes, then butter again and chill 1 minute MORE. Dust cups with matzo cake flour, knocking out excess.
Beat together softened butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until well blended. Beat in lemon juice and 2 teaspoons zest until combined. Add flour and mix at low speed until just combined.
Beat whites with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they hold soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, beating, then beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
Stir one fourth of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Spoon batter into 8 prepared muffin cups.
Blend remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon zest with your fingertips and sprinkle over batter, then bake until cakes are puffed, edges are golden, and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool cakes in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then lift out cakes carefully (tops will break easily) and cool completely on rack.
Bring all syrup ingredients to a boil, covered, in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove lid and boil 10 minutes.
Pour syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Cool to room temperature.
Beat cream in a bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.
Spoon 1/4 cup syrup into each of 8 shallow bowls and top with cakes. Spoon whipped cream on top of cakes
Roberta DesBouillons is the in-house chef at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and used to own/operate Apron Strings Cooking School in San Francisco. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User