Monday, 3 August 2009

Paciencia y Fe

More of a theme than a title, Patience and Faith, from In the Heights, another of my favourite Broadway musicals. Perhaps I should just move there since there's barely anything on in the West End that takes my fancy anylonger. Although, that said the upcoming adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Nation by The National Theatre is making me squeeishly excited despite not being a musical (unless one were to include the beer song? Does one song about beer a musical make? Hmm, I'm sure that's a debate for another post)

Anyway, Paciencia y Fe were much needed in the vicinity of the Pantry on Saturday as I attempted to make lime curd. I should explain, I have attempted to make custard from scratch once before, and we suspect I poisoned my little sister with it. I was doing it by hand and had been whisking for EVER before giving up and putting the not custard in ramekins and baking them in an attempt to make creme brulees. They weren't successful, Mandy was very sick. However, this was a long time ago, and before making my notes for this post (because I do make notes y'know, it's not entirely a stream of consciousness) I had forgotten all about it. I must have been scarred though as, until Saturday I had never attempted anything custardy from scratch again. Ambrosia or Sainsos TTD were as custardy as I got. The shame. But on Saturday, when challenged to do something new with courgettes, and having decided upon Flora's famous Courgette layer cake from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess, lime curd was required. As an aside, don't you just hate that, when you look over a recipe and think. That's it. That's the one I'll try, only for the last line to be, "and fill with the lime curd from page 344" Outrage. However, I was organised, and eggs were purchased.

Lime Curd (pg 344 Domestic Goddess)

75g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
Juice of 4 limes
zest of 1 lime
So, having grated and zested my limes, and weighed out my ingredients, I melted the butter in a big pan over a low heat. When melted I added the sugar, eggs, lime juice and zest and whisked. Now, I have a lovely little handheld electric whisk that does everything I need it to, and it still took 5 tracks of Daniel Boys album So Close, which is approximately 20 minutes of whisking time. With electricity - hence the need for paciencia y fe. I rolled my eyes, made exasperated noises and even sang at it, but clearly it was time for me to learn a lesson and it didn't cook any faster for all my efforts. However, eventually it came together, and all my worry that I wouldn't know when that was and would end up poisoning people again went out the window as I could clearly tell it was ready.

Compared to that the courgette cake was a doddle. Basically 2 sponge cakes with courgette added, however, Nigella tells you to drain the courgettes, which I did in the same way as always by wrapping them in a teatowl and wringing it out. Fortunately I did this into a bowl as I found Nigella's batter as per her recipe far too dry. I added about 3 tablespoons of the courgette water until the batter worked it's way to a dropping consistency.

250g courgettes (weighed before grating)
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp baking powder

Once again Paciencia y Fe were the keywords as for some strange reason I only have one sandwich pan, so had to bake each layer separately, leave them to cool in the tin and then re-butter and line and cook the next one. When everything was finally baked and cooled, and I must say that they came out of the oven the prettiest golden brown (which was a result having made banana bread last week that entirely caught on top) although not particularly risen, but very light nonetheless. So, yes, baked and cooled, I sandwiched together with the lime curd (the remains of which are now in a kilner jar in my fridge waiting for an opportune moment.)

Now finally I have a bone to pick with Nigella middlename Lawson. Your cream cheese icing recipe is pants. I used exactly the quantities in the recipe and even 24 hours later it resembles nothing like the one I use on top of the chocolate Guinness cake. I was very disappointed, and stomped around (yes, so much for Paciencia y Fe, Olga Merediz can just bugger off and I'll skip straight onto 96,000 thankyouverymuch). However, it does taste fab, the lime juice cutting through the richness of the cream cheese and icing sugar wonderfully.

So here we have the assembled cake. Courgette Layer cake, with lime curd, and a large dose of Paciencia y Fe.


Jules said...

Cake looks fab. I'm impressed, I don't know why but making curd scares me! Enjoy the men, Harry Potter & the wine later this week ;)

Pen said...

It was scary, but my only advice is to use a big pan, turn the heat down as low as you can and let your whisk do the work. Music helps. I was panicing that it was never going to change and then just suddenly at about the twenty minute mark it did and I could see the difference - before that it's just like really whisked up eggs for an omlette or something.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Aw, In The Heights. I have so many cast recordings for shows I've never seen, so it's like, "I love this show!....I think?"

Anyway, good on you for tackling the curd, egg based stuff can be bloody challenging. I've always been a bit intrigued by the sound of this cake, glad to hear it's yum.

Pen said...

In the Heights, is to quote Seth, Ah-mazing. I saw OBC who were fab, but I can't see anyone ruining it really. I went out on a limb to see it as I was worried I wouldn't like it, but loved it.

The Lime Curd was a revelation, I used the leftovers in as many ways as possible, including off the spoon. *shame*


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