In an attempt to both improve my French and learn fancy pastry technique, I signed up for a pastry class earlier this year. It was a double success. I understood by far the vast majority of the chat – including jokes! – and learned how to make traditional Belgian pastry (the special cake they make for King’s Day) and all kinds of pastries I drool over in the bakeries.
Everyone at school looked forward to the Tuesday after my pastry classes…
One of my favorites was a delicate white chocolate mousse with citrus (zest and juice) which was so slight and refreshing – and beautiful! You make it in a stainless steel circular ‘pan’ with no bottom (‘cercle inox‘ in French). And the secret is to freeze it for a couple of hours (or overnight) before unmolding it so you get a beautiful mousse finish which looks super professional.
Last year a very good friend hosted a good-bye party and I volunteered for cake duty. She had two requests: red velvet cake and something with poppy seeds. Everywhere I looked for a good poppy seed cake recipe, I came across the same combination of poppy seed and lemon: lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed coffee cake, lemon poppy seed cupcakes, etc, etc, etc. When I came across this recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook, I was intrigued by the illustration, the method, and the combination of lemon poppy seed with an orange glaze.
(Yes, Mollie Katzen handwrote the entire cookbook!)
She loved the cake. I have to say, I was more enamored with the Red Hot Red Velvet cake which was at the same event. I had the obligatory piece of this cake, but it didn’t leave much of an impression.
But yesterday, I was in the mood to make a Bundt cake, so I came back. And it was much better than I remembered! Super moist, super poppy seed-y, super citrus-y. Definitely a keeper.