Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Certain desserts feel so old-timey they remind me of a childhood spent chasing apron strings in grandma's kitchen, even if it is an imagined memory 8). The fact is that my grandmother survived the Cultural Revolution and raised 6 strong daughters, my mom included. But what she wasn't was an enthusiastic cook, and no baker at all. To this day, you see, it's rare for Chinese homes to have ovens. I hear it's something to do with the expense of heating and that bakeries offer such cheap, fresh, and tasty fare that home baking doesn't seem worth the effort to most (hard to imagine).
To get back on topic, this lemon sponge pie is one of those treats that just seems to turn back the clock. Yet, apart from its vintage charm, its taste makes it truly deserving of being rediscovered and appreciated today. It consists of a luscious, tart sponge pudding sandwiched between flaky pastry and a toasted meringue-like topping. Mine was uber oozy and would've sliced up better with 5 more minutes of baking. But one bite was all it took to wipe away all thoughts but wonderment at such a sublime blend of textures and sweet tart flavors. We're "working hard" to revive this treat -- there's hardly a slice left since it came out of the oven a day ago O=). Join our cause...or tell us of other heirloom desserts that should come back into fashion!
Speaking of my grandmother, I'm actually leaving this Sunday for China to visit her and the rest of my extended family for 2 weeks. I honestly can't wait to see them and catch up on the last 4 years since I was last there. But of course I'll miss P, my friends, and all of you! So when Sean of CSN Stores asked me to host a giveaway on my site, I jumped at the chance to show appreciation to all my lovely readers.
CSN Stores has a lot of sites with fabulous selection, the main ones being Cookware.com, Allbarstools.com, Allchildrensfurniture.com, and Allmodern.com. Plus they have over 200 other sites. Between all of them, I bet you could get nearly anything you'd want for your kitchen, apartment, or house. I even found some cute bunk beds that look perfect for my 2 much younger sisters in the kids beds section.
Okay, now's the time to let your eyes on the prize. CSN Stores has agreed to give this Set of 4 Kaiser Noblesse Mini Springform Pans to one lucky reader. These are so fun and versatile, I had to pick them, and while it's not a requirement ;p, I'd love to see what adorable treats the winner makes with them. Here's how to enter this giveaway:
1. You must reside in the US or Canada (sorry to my overseas readers!)
2. Leave a comment with your e-mail address.
3. For a second entry, become a follower of OR subscriber to this blog (but only if you really are interested in the content ^_^), and leave a comment telling me you became or already were one.
4. For a third entry, link to this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, then leave a comment letting me know.
5. Visit one of these great CSN Stores websites: Cookware.com, Allbarstools.com, Allchildrensfurniture.com, and Allmodern.com.
Easy, right? Just be sure to enter before 12:00 pm on April 20th, which is when I'll randomly select the winner. Good luck!
Lemon Sponge Pie [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from from Betty Crocker Baking Classics (out of print) via The Food Librarian
XIAOLU'S NOTE: As I've done before, to bring out the citrus flavor even more, I used a technique from Dorie Greenspan. I rubbed all the zest into the sugar until it was fragrant with orange. I added this where the original recipe says to add sugar.
Your favorite single crust pie crust [I used this one]
3 large eggs, separated
2 T grated lemon peel [I used a microplane to zest the lemons]
2/3 cup regular or Meyer lemon juice [I used regular]
1 cup milk
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar, depending on how tart you like things
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out crust and line pie pan with crust. Leave unbaked and chill in fridge while you prepare the filling.
Beat egg yolks; beat in lemon peel, lemon juice and milk. Add sugar, flour and salt; beat until smooth.
In a separate large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the lemon mixture and beat them together thoroughly.
Fold the lightened lemon mixture into the remaining egg whites, stopping when there are no white streaks remaining. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate. Bake until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. (A layer of lemon will settle to the bottom and a soft meringue-like topping to float to the top.) Serve with sweetened whipped cream if desired.