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Story - Food

Apr 5, 2018 3:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Impress With Desserts

Apr 16, 2018 10:59 AM

Let’s have dessert tonight!

Here’s an easy-to-make loaf cake that requires no frosting. The flavoring may sound strange to you, however: freshly ground black pepper and mint is a uniquely delicious combo … trust me!

Beautiful and juicy “red oranges” from California work very well to make this refreshing tart that will “spruce-up” your springtime entertaining menu.

On special occasions, I serve dessert to my guests. The rest of the time my family and I indulge in berries with non-fat yogurt cheese—or just berries at the end of a meal.

Bon appétit!

Mint And Black Pepper Cake With Pistachio Crust(1 loaf cake)6 egg whites (separated into 5 and 1)

Pinch salt

Pinch cream of tartar

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup plus 2 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar (separated 1/3, 1/3, and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons)

2 and 1/2 tablespoons white crème de menthe

Splash of pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black peppercorns

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1/2 cup pistachio or macadamia nuts, toasted—for topping with sugar

Fresh herb blossoms and mint leaves for garnishTo prepare and bake:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour an 8-by-2-inch loaf pan.

In a very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire whisk, beat five egg whites on high speed until they are frothy, add salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

With the beaters running, gradually add 1/3 cup sugar to the whites and continue beating until stiff and glossy peaks form. Transfer the whites to a mixing bowl.

In the same electric mixer bowl, cream the butter until light and creamy add 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in crème de menthe, vanilla, and pepper.

With a large wire whisk, starting with the flour, alternately fold flour and egg whites into the butter mixture. Fold carefully until no whites remain visible.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the food processor, blend the pistachios with the remaining 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining egg white until well mixed and the nuts are coarsely chopped.

Remove the loaf pan from the oven; if cake hasn’t cracked open on top, cut a few shallow slits and spread the pistachio mixture over the top, letting it seep into the cracks.

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top is evenly brown and a cake tester inserted in to the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes longer.

Transfer the cake to a rack, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unmold it onto a rack and completely cool before slicing. (Tastes best if made a day ahead. Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.)

Cut into thin slices and arrange on a plate. Serve with fresh berries and garnish with herb blossoms and fresh mint leaves.Orange Blossom Tart(11-inch tart, serves 8)For the crust:1 and 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size

1 egg beaten with about 3 tablespoons ice water

Grated zest of a large orange

1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans, toasted

1 teaspoon sugarFor the filling:1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup butter, soft

1 scant cup sugar

3 eggs

Grated zest of one large orange

1 teaspoon each freshly squeezed orange juice and lemon juice

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Orange peels for garnish

Fresh seasonal berries

Optional: whipped creamTo prepare:In the food processor, place the flour, salt and sugar and process.

Add the butter, and process until the mixture is coarse meal.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg with ice water, and with a fork stir into the flour. Mix until the mixture forms a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out the crust, place in a removable bottom 11-inch tart pan, crimp the edges, and prick the bottom with a fork. Fit aluminum foil over the crust and set the entire affair in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until firm.

Bake the crust for eight to 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake about three minutes longer until crust is set and the top is no longer shiny.

Meanwhile, mix nuts, orange zest and sugar together.

Once the tart is out of the oven, immediately cover the bottom with the nut mixture and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.For the filling: In a small bowl, stir the cream into the cornmeal and set aside to soften.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the cornmeal/cream mixture, zest, and orange and lemon juices.

Spoon the filling into the prebaked shell and bake until the custard is set and a table knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the tart, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with orange peel.

Serve with fresh seasonal berries.

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