Sunday, 4 March 2012

Lemon, Thyme and Almond Souffle Cakes

"You know you don't have to put all your ingredients in your title!"

It was meant to be "Lemon, Thyme and Almond Souffle Cakes with a Nut and Date Crust and a Layer of Marzipan"

Yes, it would have been a tad bit too much but if I don't name all the ingredients you won't know straight away how amazing it is!  It's like on fancy restaurant menus, they always put in all the ingredients to catch your attention. Like the main title would be "Mushroom Mousse" and underneath in smaller print you'll see "Pickled mustard seeds, fried fennel, butternut squash and apple crisps".

My friend was telling me all about this lemon mousse, and as amazing as it sounds, it is too complicated.  I sometimes just don't have the patience to follow recipes.  There are days where I can take hours and measure out every ingredient to the nearest milligram and fold everything in with the utmost care and attention.  But then there are most days where I just put my imagination and all the ingredients in my well-stocked pantry that I take so much pride in into a bowl, food processor, pot, mould, oven, and hope for the best.  It's usually by impulse.  I'm sick of Economics, I'm sick of Psychology, I'm no longer productive, I'm frustrated, I'm impatient -- I go to the kitchen and everything outside this 15sqm cubicle comes to a halt.  My mind is constrained to what's around me -- fruits, cheese, nuts, honey, spices, grains, flour.  Everything mingles and gets jumbled up into an organized mess and a mind map forms in front of my eyes.  Lines are drawn linking ingredients together and separating them, all the while thinking back to the dozens of recipes that I read daily.  Then I grab my tools and I start.  Tasting every second as I continuously make adjustments and drown myself in doubt and anticipation.  Then it goes in the oven and I sit there and I watch.  I watch the oven and I watch the clock.  I watch and I wait.  And finally, it's done.  I taste it, I'm satisfied, but this only ends after other people try it.  That's my favorite bit of the whole process.  The recognition.  And when they make the right sounds, say the right words -- a huge sense of relief.  Yes, I'm happy, I'm proud, but most of all I'm just relieved.  I'm relaxed.  Now I can go back to reality.

I love my little spontaneous, amateur creations.

Prep time: 20 min  Cook time: 30 min   Serves: 4  

250g mascarpone
1 egg
1 yolk
75g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup pitted dried dates

Marzipan (very little, about a small handful)

some flaked almonds and other nuts for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Whisk all the ingredients for the souffle together, taste and make slight adjustments to your liking.  Put the crust ingredients into a food processor and blend for a few minutes until it becomes a paste.  Butter little hollow tube-like cake tins or a large cheesecake tins.  If you have the tube-like tins or you've lost the bottom bit of your cheesecake tin, a trick I learned is to use aluminum foil as a base.  Fold it around the tin securely and voila.  Divide the paste evenly among the tins and press into an even layer.  Roll the marzipan out into a thin layer, about 2mm, and using an extra cake tin, cut out little circles that are of the same size as the ones you're using for the souffle.  Place it carefully on top of the crust and then fill with the cheese mixture.  Add some sliced almonds on top and bake for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the tins and add some more nuts on top for serving if you wish.

1 comment:

  1. not to keen on arzipan but definitely worth a try if you want to give me some :) eeheheh


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