Not Shaken or Stirred, but Squeezed!

Time: 2 1/2 hours.  Allow plenty of time.  The first night we made this, we ate just plain cake cause it was too late to do the raspberry coulis.  The cake was great anyway.  But if you intend to do it all, do the cake a day ahead or on a weekend; not at the end of a workday.

LEMON POUNDCAKE  with Raspberry Coulis    

9 lemons
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
6 large eggs
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Raspberry coulis, optional
Mint ice, optional.

1. Heat oven to 350° F.   

2. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, line with parchment or waxed paper. (Leftover papers from sticks of butter to be melted for use in cake work fine for this.  Just cover bottom and a bit up the sides.)  Grease paper.

3. Grate zest of 4 lemons; slice tops and bottoms off 3 (reserve fourth). Stand lemons on end on a cutting board, and cut away white pith until the flesh is exposed. Over a bowl, cut segments from membranes, letting fruit and juice fall into bowl (remove seeds). With fork, break segments into 1-inch pieces.   This is somewhat time consuming and the pieces will not be “perfect.”

5. Sift flour, superfine sugar and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Begin mixing on low speed, then add crème fraîche or cream. Increase speed to medium, and beat in eggs, one at a time, then butter. Gently fold lemon segments and juices and 3 tablespoons zest into batter. (Save rest of zest for soaking sauce.*) 

6. Pour batter into pan, and bake 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut an incision lengthwise down middle of cake, and bake 30 minutes longer. Then, lower oven to 325° F. and bake 40 to 45 minutes longer, or until a tester comes out clean.   (In Vermont, cause that oven is a bit low, I cooked this at 330° F.  for about 20 minutes, then 325° F. for next 25 for a total of 45 minutes at this lower temperature.)

3. Meanwhile, juice the remaining 6 lemons. Put granulated and confectioners’ sugars in a pot, and add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon juice and *remaining zest, and let cool.

4. When cake is done, put pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Raise oven to 350° F.   Unmold cake, and transfer it to a pie pan or deep dish. Pour lemon syrup over cake, and very gently squeeze the cake to help it absorb syrup. Carefully turn cake upside down in syrup, and squeeze a bit more. Put cake on a baking sheet; return to oven for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

5. To serve, lightly toast 1/2-inch slices of the cake. If desired, put raspberry coulis on each serving plate. Place two slices of cake on top and a scoop of mint ice on top of cake.

Yield: 8 servings.

Time: 15 minutes plus cooling

2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur.

In a small pot, combine sugar with 1/4 cup water, and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Purée raspberries, syrup and liqueur in a blender, then strain through a fine sieve.

Yield: 8 servings.

Time: 20 minutes plus 4 1/2 hours’ cooling and freezing

2 cups sugar
3 bunches fresh mint.

1. In a pot, combine sugar with 2 cups water, and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Plunge mint, stems and all, into boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove mint to ice water. Let cool.

3. Squeeze excess water from mint; purée with syrup in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve. Transfer to a covered container, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

Yield: 8 servings.

We did not make the mint ice ourselves yet, waiting for our yard crop to pop up, but the cake is great without it.  Even bare with no soaking and squeezing, this cake is a winner!

 Lemon Poundcake with Raspberry Coulis  / Mint Ice [adapted from a recipe developed by Bill Yosses, pastry chef at Citarella The Restaurant (NYC)]


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