Monday, January 28, 2013

The Cake that Rocked the Texas State Fair

I've mentioned on several occasions that the 2 biggest American State Fairs take place in Texas and Minnesota.

Being that I reside in the land of 10,000 Lakes......

Being that I have Worked the Minnesota State Fair for a decade......

You might think that I view the my Texan counterpart as some sort of advisory.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

I may have mentioned that as a kid, I summered with relatives in Dallas, and Texas has a very special place in my heart.

To be honest, I don't have a lot on my Life's Wish List.

I've been given a lot, but boy-oh-boy would I love to attend the Texas State Fair, or bet it.

Just once.

Anyways, I often creep their Fair, events, and of course recipes.

Listed below is a Texas Fair highlight, that I'm sure you will enjoy.

Recipes that turned State Fair judges' heads

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The meringue garnish is broken into small pieces and used to decorate the top and sides of cake in a mosaic pattern. 
First-time entrant Kate Rovner of Plano won the American Pie Council National Championship in Orlando, Fla., in April with this luscious, creamy dessert.

Lemon Swirl Cream Cheese Pie

1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs ¾ cup almonds, finely ground and toasted 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest Pinch of salt 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese 2/3 cup sugar 2 eggs ½ cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (divided use) ½ teaspoon lemon extract Lemon Curd (recipe follows) ½ cup heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 12 to 15 fresh raspberries, for garnish 1 lemon, cut into thin slices and quartered, for garnish
Heat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick spray.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to toss together the vanilla wafer crumbs, almonds, lemon zest and salt. Stir in the melted butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Bake for 12 minutes on the bottom oven rack. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat at low speed until incorporated. Beat in the sour cream, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and lemon extract. Beat in the Lemon Curd (except for reserved ½ cup). Pour into the baked crust. Dollop the reserved ½ cup Lemon Curd onto the filling and swirl into the filling with a small knife.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is nearly set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To garnish, in a chilled, medium mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla with a handheld electric mixer, starting at the lowest speed and increasing gradually each minute, until stiff peaks are formed. Using a pastry bag, pipe the whipped cream decoratively around the border of the pie. Decorate with fresh raspberries and lemon slices. Refrigerate until serving time.
Makes 8 servings.
Lemon Curd: In a 1 ½ -quart saucepan, whisk together 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, ½ cup fresh lemon juice and ½ cup sugar. Whisk in 3 slightly beaten eggs and 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently for 7 minutes or until the curd is thick. Remove from heat and use a food mill or sieve to strain the curd into a small bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Cool 30 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the lemon curd for swirling into the filling.
PER SERVING: Calories 758 (68% fat) Fat 59 g (34 g sat) Cholesterol 279 mg Sodium 307 mg Fiber 2 g Carbohydrates 50 g Protein 11 g
SOURCE: Kate Stewart Rovner, Best of Show, American Pie Council Crisco National Pie Championships, April 2010

Lee Smith of Waxahachie won a blue ribbon last year at the State Fair with this cake recipe, which she has been making for her family for 35 years.

Red Velvet Pound Cake
1 cup unsalted butter ½ cup shortening 3 cups sugar 7 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 (1-ounce) bottle (2 tablespoons) liquid red food coloring 3 cups cake flour ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup milk Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan (see note).
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring. Combine the flour and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and beat well.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick tests clean. Cool completely. Frost with the Cream Cheese Frosting.
Makes 16 servings.
Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix together ½ cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 16 ounces sifted powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk until smooth and creamy.
Note: A tube pan is a circular cake pan with tall sides and a chimney in the middle. A Bundt pan also may be used. Baking time may vary; check doneness early if substituting.
PER SERVING: Calories 647 (44% fat) Fat 32 g (18 g sat) Cholesterol 154 mg Sodium 120 mg Fiber 1 g Carbohydrates 86 g Protein 6 g
SOURCE: Lee Smith, first place, Pound Cake Class, State Fair of Texas 2009
With or without limoncello liqueur, this elegant cake from Susan Apple Graass wins raves.
Blue Ribbon Lemon Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups whole-milk yogurt 2 cups sugar 6 eggs, separated 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Lemon Glaze (recipe follows) Lemon Curd Filling (recipe follows), or 1 cup prepared lemon curd Limoncello Icing or Lemon Icing (recipes follow) Meringue garnish (optional; recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla.
Slowly blend the dry-ingredient mixture into the wet-ingredient mixture. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into the yogurt mixture. Pour into the prepared pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto cake racks. Cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a cardboard cake circle or a plate. Brush with 1/3 of the Lemon Glaze. Pipe a circle of frosting around the top edge of the cake layer. Spread ½ cup Lemon Curd Filling within the circle atop the cake. Repeat with the second layer. Place the third layer atop the cake, then coat with remaining glaze. Spread the Limoncello Icing on the sides and top of the cake. Garnish with the meringue pieces.
Makes 16 servings.
Lemon Glaze: Halve 3 lemons and squeeze out the juice, reserving the juice for another use. Place the squeezed lemon halves in a small saucepan with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 20 minutes. Strain and cool. Can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.
Lemon Curd Filling: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin over 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small bowl. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Whisk 5 egg yolks in a bowl. Whisking vigorously, slowly add the hot lemon-sugar mixture to the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 F on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture until it is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch cubes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.
Limoncello (or Lemon) Icing: In a mixing bowl, cream together 16 ounces (4 sticks) room-temperature unsalted butter and 16 ounces Crisco shortening. Blend in 32 ounces powdered sugar, ¼ cup limoncello liqueur, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk at high speed for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides until light and fluffy. Alternatively, omit the limoncello and substitute 1/3 cup (or more to taste) fresh lemon juice for a nonalcoholic version. This recipe makes a lot of frosting; you might not use it all.
Meringue garnish: Placed a Silpat (silicone liner) on a heavy baking sheet. Preheat oven to 200 F. Beat together 4 room-temperature egg whites until frothy; add ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and continue beating. Gradually add ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar (made by processing granulated sugar in a food processor for 2 minutes) while beating, until the whites are very stiff and glossy. Sift 1 cup powdered sugar and fold into the meringue. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours, until dry but not brown. Cool and break the meringue into small pieces; use to decorate the top and sides of cake in a mosaic pattern. Can be prepared a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Editor's note: The Texas-size calorie count per serving reflects the generous quantity of icing Graass recommends to allow for cleaning your spatula as you frost, and extra to carry to repair any damage in transport. The cake was analyzed by Cooper Clinic for 16 servings. The analysis includes the cake plus glaze, filling and icing, but it does not include the optional meringue garnish.

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Dont mess with Texas

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