Showing love to people around us (and ourselves!) through food, especially anything sweet and homemade, is common practice. A special homemade birthday cake or traditional holiday cookies do more than provide a sugar rush: they’re a confectionery spring in your step! A dessert a day may be just what the doctor ordered: health care professionals are now using baking as a means to help patients feel happier.
Cookbook author Judith Fertig further explores the concept of baking contributing to a happy life in her new book BAKE HAPPY: 100 Playful Desserts with Rainbow Layers, Hidden Fillings, Billowy Frostings, and More.
BAKE HAPPY is full of colorful, flavorful and feel-good desserts that practically shout “happy!” The combination of familiar recipes with creative twists is perfect for everyone who needs a slice of cheer. As Fertig states herself: “in a world of 24-hour news, fiscal cliffs, terrorist threats, economic recovery, and environmental concerns, we need all the happy we can get.”
BAKE HAPPY delights its readers with 100 recipes for cupcakes and cookies, bars and brownies, tarts and turnovers, and delicious cakes, as well as syrups, icings, fruits toppings and decorations for some extra fun, with recipes like Rustic Cherry Batter Pudding, Citrus-Glazed Sweet Potato Bundt Cake, and Chitchat Bars. Thirty-plus full-color photos show off the cheerful goodies and provide extra-delicious inspiration to bake happy. Here’s a sneak peek at the kind of tasty awesome that you’ll find in the book:
When blood oranges are in season from late fall through March, make this fabulous curd to fill tarts, cakes, and cookies; to slather on pound cake slices for Blood Orange Curd Bread Pudding (page 197); or to just lick by the spoonful. It turns a gorgeous pale coral that looks fabulous with dark blueberries or blackberries, pomegranate seeds, or other citrus fruits. You can freeze blood orange juice and zest in freezer bags to use later in the year. Meyer lemons, limes, and regular lemons also make delicious curds: see the variations after the recipe.
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated blood orange zest
- ½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from about 4 blood oranges)
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the sugar, zests, and juices. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk about ¼ cup (59 ml) of the hot sugar mixture into the eggs to temper them. Whisk the eggs back into the saucepan and continue cooking and whisking until the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F (70°C). With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a container to remove any lumps. Let it cool to room temperature, then cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming on the top. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For Lemon Curd, use ½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice in place of blood orange juice, 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest in place of the blood orange zest, and 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest in place of lemon zest, then continue with the recipe.
For Lime Curd, use ½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice in place of blood orange juice, and 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest in place of the blood orange zest, then continue with the recipe. If you wish, add 1 drop of blue food coloring to the curd to create a lime green color.
For Meyer Lemon Curd, use ½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice in place of the blood orange juice and 1 tablespoon freshly grated Meyer lemon zest in place of the blood orange zest, then continue with the recipe.
For Passion fruit and Orange Curd, use ¼ cup (59 ml) frozen passion fruit concentrate, thawed, and ¼ cup (40 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice in place of the blood orange juice and 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest in place of the blood orange zest, then continue with the recipe. (Look for packages of Goya brand frozen passion fruit juice concentrate at Hispanic markets.)
Make it a Mousse: A homemade curd plus whipped cream equals an easy and delicious mousse, perfect for a cake or tart filling. Fold 1 cup (250 ml) of any homemade curd into 1 cup (250 ml) of whipped cream until smooth and evenly colored.
About the Author:
Judith Fertig is a prolific cookbook author who has studied at the Cordon Bleu in London and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Pris. She is coauthor of The Gardener and the Grill, Patio Pizzeria, and BBQ Bistro, and author of 500 Cupcakes, Back in the Swing, I Love Cinnamon Rolls! and The Cake Therapist , among many others. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Visit her at: www.judithfertig.com.
100 Playful Desserts with Rainbow Layers, Hidden Fillings, Billowy Frostings, and More
By Judith Fertig
Running Press; June 2015
Hardcover; $27.50 (Kindle; $15.12)
Media sample received.