Small-scale angel food cake, roast chicken with fennel for Passover (or any night), and your new favorite spring cocktail
Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend. Reminder that every Wednesday, I write a column for Cup of Jo wherein I discuss the finer points of pan-fried pizza, the best non-alcoholic beer, and my obsession with salvaging rotten produce (which sometimes ends up being this killer-keeper broccoli pesto). Here are three more things I thought you’d like to know about this week….
1. Roast Chicken with Fennel and Orange (+ a Passover Hotline)
This is a dish I first suggested on Dinner: A Love Story as a great Passover main, but like all the best recipes, it ended up sneaking into my regular rotation soon after. (So much for that night being different from all other nights.) The chicken pieces are roasted on a bed of orange and fennel, which caramelize and drink up the chicken juices in the most ridiculously delicious way. It’s a recipe from Leah Koenig, author of all my favorite Jewish feasting cookbooks and a new newsletter called The Jewish Table. PLUS, some pretty great news: Leah will be joining me here for a Passover Hotline Discussion Thread on Thursday, March 25. Visit Dinner: A Love Story between 11:00 ET and 7:00 ET, ask a question, and Leah will do her best to help. Or just read other people’s questions and follow along. I’ll send another link and reminder on Thursday, don’t worry. (Reminder that discussion threads are for subscribers only. Photo by Sang An.)
2. Angel Food Cake with Berries
When I was little, I loved nothing more than dunking a slice of store bought angel food cake into a glass of cold milk, and on the best spring nights, there were strawberries and Reddi-Whip to accompany the ritual. Yesterday, though, I decided to bake one from scratch, forgoing the customary bundt pan and twelve-egg-white version, instead going with a mini, serves-4ish cake. It might be just the thing for those of you celebrating a downscaled Easter next weekend. It’s essentially this recipe, halved and slightly tweaked. (No matter which version you make, please try to read Andy’s essay that precedes the recipe if you have a second, too. It always makes me cry.)
Baby Angel Food Cake with Berries
Don’t forget to bring the eggs to room temperature about 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’s sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup egg whites* at room temperature (I used whites from 6 large eggs)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
butter or cooking spray for coating baking pan
3/4 cup whipping cream
a dozen strawberries, sliced
Move the oven rack to the lowest setting, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sift together the sifted confectioners’ sugar and flour. I do this by shaking them through a fine mesh metal strainer into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on low until foamy, then add the cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla and increase the speed to medium. Whip just until soft peaks form, then, beating on medium speed, gradually add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating until the whites form soft peaks but are not stiff. This took me between 4 and 5 minutes using a standing mixer.
Sift one quarter of the flour mixture over the whites, folding in lightly with a rubber spatula, and repeat with the remaining flour in quarters. Turn the batter gently into a nine-inch cake pan that has been buttered or coated with cooking spray.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean and the top springs back when touched lightly. Let cool about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the perimeter to loosen. Invert onto a plate, then flip back over.
Serve with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream (I found that whipping 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream is enough to frost the cake as pictured.)
*Related: 37 ways to use leftover egg yolks or please feel free to suggest your own ideas.
3. French Gimlets
Last weekend, on one of the first mild nights of the year, we had cocktails and snacks in my friend Sonya’s backyard and, sitting amidst the crocus buds fighting their way out of the soil, I could almost taste spring. Or maybe what I was tasting was my French Gimlet, which, all limey and floral (thanks to the Elderflower), seemed like the perfect transition cocktail for this season. It’s only two other ingredients besides that Elderflower, gin and lime juice, and I’ll be making another one in my own backyard this weekend. Here’s the how-to…
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces gin
1 ounce Elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain)
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add gin, Elderflower, and lime juice. Shake vigorously and pour/strain into your favorite coupe.
Remember, if you can’t remember which recipe is on which newsletter, you can always visit the archive, where every single dispatch (and every single recipe) lives permanently.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!