February 29, 2024

Make Claire Ptak’s lemon meringue pie bars and lightweight and custardy raspberries baked in muscat sabayon

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Our cookbook of the week is Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Midday, and Night time by Claire Ptak, founding father of Violet Desserts in London, England. Learn an interview with the creator.

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Soar to the recipes: lemon meringue pie bars and raspberries baked in muscat sabayon.

The primary recipe Claire Ptak shared with us from her fifth cookbook, Love Is a Pink Cake, was impressed by a childhood favorite: her mom Elisabeth’s lemon bars.

Now the founding father of Violet Desserts in East London (and, famously, the creator of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trendsetting lemon and elderflower marriage ceremony cake, the recipe for which can also be within the e book), Ptak grew up baking together with her mother and grandma, Betty, in Inverness, Northern California.

Ptak shares her mom’s love of all issues tart and primarily based her recipe for lemon meringue pie bars off of considered one of Elisabeth’s recipes. “My mother at all times made lemon bars and liked lemon curd. She loves tangy, lemony issues. And lemon bars have been not likely a factor within the U.Ok. once I got here right here (in 2005),” says Ptak.

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Elisabeth completed her lemon bars with a dusting of powdered sugar. However at Violet, they quickly discovered that if the bars sat out for any size of time, they might soak up it. And in the event that they re-sugared them, they might find yourself being too candy. Including a torched marshmallow topping, a nod to lemon meringue pie, was the reply.

“So, it got here from my mother’s recipe after which adjusted. It’s nice. My mother loves them, too,” says Ptak, laughing.

The cover of Love Is a Pink Cake by Claire Ptak showing a flower in close-up
Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Midday, and Night time is the fifth cookbook by Californian-born, London-based baker Claire Ptak. Picture by W. W. Norton & Firm

The second recipe, raspberries baked in muscat sabayon, occurs to be gluten-free. (Sabayon is the French title for zabaglione or zabaione, a wine-infused Italian custard.)

The fragile dessert requires solely 4 substances: berries, candy dessert wine, sugar and egg yolks (the right use for the yolks left over from the meringue topping for the lemon bars). With wine forming the premise of the flavour, you’ll want to purchase a very good one, Ptak underscores.

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“I really like that recipe, and it’s one of many easiest recipes within the e book, for positive. It’s a type of recipes, too, that comes from a love of these old-school French and Italian recipes which might be usually forgotten now. And I like to remind individuals about these sorts of issues,” she says.

“It’s so good after a meal once you don’t desire a massive heavy cake or no matter else. (Simply) this attractive, boozy custard, heat with berries. After which to bake it like that, to barely give it that char on prime — it transforms it, too. It’s simply so good. I really feel like no person makes it.”


A person takes a kitchen blowtorch to lemon meringue pie bars
“It’s value getting a small kitchen blowtorch to boost the bar of presentation in your house baking,” Claire Ptak writes of the crowning glory on her lemon meringue pie bars. Picture by Pia Riverola

Makes: 9-12

For the shortbread base:
255 g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
80 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
200 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilly, lower into cubes

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For the lemon filling:
55 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
500 g (2 1/2 cups) superfine sugar
4 eggs
3-4 lemons, zested and juiced (you want about 175 g/3/4 cup lemon juice)

For the meringue topping:
4 egg whites
200 g (1 cup) superfine sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Baker’s tip: You will want a piping bag and nozzle to get the shell impact, or you’ll be able to merely make a pleasant swoopy sample with a palette knife or butter knife like a conventional lemon meringue pie.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 170C fan (190C/375F/fuel mark 5) and grease and line a 20-×30-cm (8-×12-inch) baking tray with parchment paper. Don’t lower the corners of the paper to suit the tray, simply line as tightly as doable in order that the paper comes above the sting of the tray on all sides.

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Step 2

Put the flour, icing sugar and salt right into a meals processor and pulse briefly to mix, then add the cubed butter and pulse till it comes collectively in a ball.

Step 3

Press the combination evenly into the ready baking tray, then bake for 20-25 minutes till golden.

Step 4

In the meantime, put together the filling. Put the flour, baking powder and superfine sugar into a big bowl and use a hand-held electrical whisk to mix. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk once more. Pressure the combination right into a clear bowl and stir within the lemon zest.

Step 5

As quickly as the bottom is baked, take away from the oven, fastidiously pour over the topping and return to the oven. Instantly decrease the temperature to 160C fan (180C/350F/fuel mark 4) and bake for about half-hour, or till the highest is about; it ought to be barely agency and golden. Take away from the oven and permit to chill fully.

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Step 6

In the meantime, put all of the substances for the meringue topping right into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water (don’t let the water contact the underside of the bowl or it is going to prepare dinner the egg whites). Whisk constantly till the sugar dissolves and the combination could be very heat to the contact. If utilizing a sugar thermometer, whisk constantly for two minutes, or till it reads 70-75C (158-167F) — whichever comes first. Switch to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand-held electrical whisk) to whip the combination into stiff, shiny peaks.

Step 7

Put the marshmallow right into a piping bag fitted along with your favorite nozzle (I like to make use of a Wilton 6B, 2B or 1M). Pipe (or spoon) the meringue onto the cooled lemon filling. You may both cowl the complete tray or slice into 12 bars first after which pipe each individually, as we do on the bakery.

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Step 8

In case you have a blowtorch, torch the highest of the meringue, or in the event you’re courageous, you’ll be able to pop it underneath the broiler for 30 seconds or so to get the identical impact.

Step 9

These are finest loved on the identical day however will preserve at room temperature for twenty-four hours.


Raspberries baked in muscat sabayon, a custard-based Italian dessert
“It’s super-fast to make however actually can’t be made forward of time, so pour your visitors one other drink, excuse your self from the desk and get to work. It ought to solely take about quarter-hour all collectively,” Claire Ptak says of this delicate dessert, raspberries baked in muscat sabayon. Picture by Pia Riverola


Serves: 4

8 tbsp muscat wine (Beaumes de Venise or one other candy dessert wine, reminiscent of Sauternes)
6 tbsp superfine sugar
6 egg yolks
400 g (2 1/2 cups) raspberries

Baker’s tip: By no means depart egg yolks and sugar sitting in the identical bowl earlier than whisking, because the acidity of the sugar can burn the yolks and make them grainy. At all times mix the substances collectively simply earlier than whisking after which use immediately.

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Step 1

Prepare a medium-sized ovenproof gratin dish.

Step 2

Pour the wine and half the sugar right into a small, heavy-based saucepan and warmth gently till diminished by half. This could take about 10 minutes. Put aside however preserve heat.

Step 3

Place the egg yolks and remaining sugar within the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk till thick and leaving a ribbon path. Take away from the mixer after which mood the egg yolks by including only a few tablespoons of the nice and cozy wine combination to the eggs and whisking till easy. Whisk within the remaining wine, being cautious to not prepare dinner the eggs.

Step 4

In case your mixing bowl is heatproof, you need to use it for the subsequent step; alternatively, switch the combination to a heatproof bowl and place it over a small saucepan of barely simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t contact the water. Whisk till the combination is starting to thicken and is gentle and foamy. In the meantime, preheat the broiler.

Step 5

Pour into your gratin dish and scatter the raspberries excessive, then place underneath the recent broiler for a few minutes to brown. Serve directly.

Recipes and pictures excerpted from Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Midday, and Night time by Claire Ptak. Textual content copyright ©2023 by Claire Ptak. Used with permission of the writer, W.W. Norton & Firm, Inc. All rights reserved.

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