Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

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If you are planning to entertain this week or happen to be traveling to visit friends - I have the perfect host/hostess bring-along, or an outstanding dessert with wide appeal to finish a dinner. I created this recipe knowing it would be one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked.

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Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Makes one large loaf, or three demi-loaves

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (15 oz container) fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained

1 1/2 cups Turbino or granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until smooth and light. Fold in ricotta in three parts. Scrape bowl well with a spatula. Mix dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar and mix just until flour is absorbed with eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla. 

Scrape down sides of the bowl, mix on low speed, 30 seconds just until batter is completely mixed. Do not over mix. Over mixing will toughen cake and produce air pockets. Pour the batter into greased pan and smooth on top. Once pan is filled with batter, tap pan against table or counter to remove air pockets.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. After 40 minutes, lower to 325 degrees until done. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan; finish cooling on wire rack. Top with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

All Tossed

With spring’s arrival, I'm inspired to toss up a fresh seasonal salad. Now is the time to really enjoy spring greens when they are sweet and at their peak; later in summer the flavors tend to bitter a bit with the heat. Whether you are preparing salad for two or planning your Mother's Day brunch, here are few tips + recipes to make plating up your spring salad even better.

Be sure to do the prep with your delicate spring lettuce; submerge leaves in cold water repeatedly until there is no evidence of soil or sand. Then give those leaves a good spin, so your homemade vinaigrette will easily coat your leaves. Wet leaves repell the dressing.

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Good Stuff Pick - OXO Salad Spinner

George's Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Makes 2 1/2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook

1 Tablespoons chives

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp capers or chopped green olives

1/2 tsp lite soy sauce

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton

1 recipe Basic Vinaigette (recipe to follow)

Combine the chives, parsley,capers or olives, and lite soy sauce with the cream and half the cheese and blend well. Add the vinaigrette and stir in the remaining cheese. Let the dressing stand at room temperature for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

George's Basic Vinaigrette

Makes 2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook

"Use whichever vinegar appeals to you: If using balsamic, cut the amount in half." 

1 1/4 cups virgin olive oil

3/4 cups vinegar

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a fork or a whisk to blend. Or place the ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until they're well blended.

Allow the dressing to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to develop the flavor.

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There are four main kinds of lettuce to choose from: Butterhead (Bibb), Crisphead (Iceberg), Looseleaf (Cutting) and Romaine. 

Looseleaf

Looseleaf lettuce make colorful tender leaf salads in chartreuse, deep green and bronzy reds. 

Crisphead

Crisphead lettuce contain curved, overlapping leaves which form crispy, firm round heads. Inside, creamy white leaves are tightly packed. Deep green outer leaves are delicious too.

Romaine

Romaine lettuce contain elongated, thick leaves which are crisp and savory.

Butterhead

Butterhead lettuce is the largest and best-flavored group of lettuces. Tender leaf lettuces form a tightly folded head with delicate buttery flavor. Typically smaller heads than other types. 

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