The Dessertations

Two unfinished dissertations and the baking in between

Month: May, 2012

Let me take you down…cause I’m goin’….

by margarkolb

I was down today for various reasons, and decided to make cheer-up blog goods in form of strawberry upside-down cake. 


That’s right. Strawberries on top.


 And strawberries underneath. Strawberry fields forever….

The recipe’s adapted to be easy and (somewhat) guilt free:

Make one 9×9 loaf or 6 mini-cakes

  • 6-8 large strawberries – washed
  • 2 cups fine wheat flour (thank you, Berkeley Bowl) 
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar (divided)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg 
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • strawberries – sliced for garnish (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9″ x 9″ baking pan or 6 medium ramekins.

Toss sliced strawberries in bowl with 2 tbsp sugar. In a large bowl, stir together all other ingredients to make a batter. 

Now arrange sugared strawberry slices on the base of the ramekins. Scrape batter into the prepared pan or the ramekins. Place more strawberries on top, if you like. Bake 20 minutes, until the cake shrinks from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Strawberry financiers

by Jessica

These cookies have a secret.

They look like madeleines and taste like financiers. They lie!

I ran out of muffin tins so I used my madeleine pan.

Before :

and after:

They melt in tea.

I know what you’re thinking — and no, there will be no Proust joke here. How gauche.

And the round ones were really hard to get out of the pan.

Strawberry Financiers (adapted from Bon Appetit’s Blackberry Financiers)

12 T unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 c sliced almonds

1/2 c flour

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

5 egg whites

2 t honey (or corn syrup)

1 c strawberries, sliced

  1. Brown the butter in a saucepan. Let cool at least 5 min.
  2. Grind almonds fine in a food processor. Combine with flour, powdered sugar, egg whites & honey.
  3. Mix in butter until just combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 375º. Butter / PAMspray pans of your choice liberally.
  5. Fill each little niche with 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter. Top with strawberry slices.
  6. Bake for 15 mins. Cool before popping them out.

At market this morning

by Jessica

(Blurry) strawberries!

I didn’t have my good camera with me today.

And, temptingly:

Berkeley Bowl, I love you. But you’re breaking my heart.

Moving on

by Jessica

This week: the noble strawberry. Tart, sweet, small (mostly). 

Game on, ye Bell-Bottomed Badasses on the Mean Streets of Funk. 


Lemon curd tart

by Jessica

Lemon Curd Tart 

Crust (from Ina Garten) 

12 T (1.5 sticks) of unsalted butter

1/2 c sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 3/4 c all purpose flour

pinch salt

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
  2. Add flour, salt and vanilla. Mix until it becomes a shortbread-like dough.
  3. Press into tart pan (9″ or 10″) and refrigerate for 30 mins.
  4. Line crust with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 min in 350° oven.
  5. Remove pie weights, and bake again for 20 mins at 350°.

Lemon Curd (modified slightly from Alton Brown’s recipe) 

5 egg yolks

3/4 c sugar

3 lemons, zested & juiced

1 stick butter, halved

  1. Whisk yolks & sugar until light yellow & creamy.
  2. Measure out 1/3 c lemon juice. Add juice & zest to egg mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Place on low heat over a double boiler. Whisk until thickened, 10-15 mins.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
  5. Pour into crust and let set.

Lemony Night

by margarkolb

Lemons on our loaves…


lemons on our noodles and veggies….and lemons lemons lemons all over our pie…


by margarkolb



Oodles of noodles…lemon noodles….

See you tonight!

Something lemon this way comes

by Jessica

Other titles considered for this post, inspired randomly from titles in bookshelf:

The Taming of the Lemon

As I Lemon Dying

Uncle Tom’s Lemon

Lemon and Punishment

Wuthering Lemon

The Origin of Lemon

A Portrait of the Lemon as a Young Man

Discipline and Lemon

This is Mark’s fault.

See you tonight!

Six desserts I never ate

by Jessica

A timely post on Serious Eats on six lemon sweets in NYC. Complete with slideshow!

It seems you and I left the city a little too soon. I did frequent Buttercup — but for their cupcakes not their pudding.

Six Lemon Sweets We Love in NYC 

Lemons lemons lemons

by margarkolb

Guilty secret..Nick and I always steal our lemons! But today proved more difficult than usual.