Thursday, November 29, 2007

yuzu, cake, jam

In case you are wondering how the yuzu was, it was fantastic. Divine. Utterly unctuous and brilliant yellow-gold in color. All this and I didn't even taste it. Really. Except for a tiny quarter inch square of candied yuzu peel that I nibbled there was only smelling involved. And dios mio, but I was not expecting this, how wonderful it was! It. Smelled. So. Divine.

Sort of lemony and musky and warm all at once. My taste buds are not good enough to accurately describe the aroma, but let's just say that the owner/sommelier person came into the pastry kitchen and we let him smell it and he really wouldn't get his nose out of the yuzu syrup for several minutes. When he did stop sniffing it was to bring us bottles of dessert wine, PX sherry and something else, golden and Austrian and summer in a glass.

I made a cake last night. Supposedly a pound cake, this cake was actually made as you would make a sponge cake, by whipping whole eggs with sugar and folding in melted butter and flour. It was lemony from zest in the batter and a lemon-lavender glaze applied after baking, but the cake wasn't lemony enough in itself and so I'm thinking (it's too late for that part obviously) about ways to get more lemon into the cake. I could create a lemon sugar by storing or rubbing zest into sugar. I could obviously increase the amount of zest in the batter, change the glaze, douse the cake in syrup because sponge cakes can take a LOT of syrup. Pop it with some limoncello, to cheat.

The cake was interesting but I wasn't in love with it. The taste is a little too eggy, which makes me feel like with a more spiced or flavored batter you would not have that problem. The texture of the cake feels nice and airy, and the top quarter inch or so is nicely soaked from the syrup, but the bottom part of the cake is definitely more soaking syrup or else a soaking bath. Perhaps it will be tastier then.

All the same, the cake brought up the matter of expectations. If you label something a pound cake and then present them with a sponge cake recipe (even if it's constructed to mirror a pound cake), there's still the expectation that it taste a certain way. I made this cake to munch on for breakfast, but it's not delicious by itself. Nor is it a disgusting cake. It's tender, flavorful, and somewhat moist, and I know how to make it moister. How would I want it served? With some sort of roasted stone fruit, whipped cream and maybe a lemon granita, to start.

That yuzu was so delicious. I think I'm going to pick some up at the market to turn into marmelade. I'm not a jam lover but I think for this I would make an exception. It would take far too many for sorbet and I don't so much want to make custards or cakes, but perhaps marmelade and some sort of pound cake (authentic, heh) and cookie? Hopefully there will be yuzu at the Saturday market this time....

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