One of the allures of Spring baking is that it uses basic ingredients to create ethereal desserts.Gone are the heavy caramel, chocolate or nut laden sweets of winter,Summer is yet to come with it;s' variety of fruits Home bakers must use what's in the cupboard and that means the basic like the egg. It's versatile . and can be used in a variety of different sweets.
Melissa Clark wrote about this kitchen must have in yesterday's New York Times Food section. as she puts it eggs can be whipped into a froth from a liquid.They can be soft and trembly or solidly set.They can also leaven a cake or lighten it up, enrich it or thicken custards. Pastry chef, Thomas Raquel of the famed Manhattan restaurant, Le Bernardin agrees.He uses them , all year round, after all they're crucial in mousses,ice creams and pastries, however it's Springtime that he lets them shine. as the main ingredient.His Spring dessert menu includes an elderflower mousse,a tres leches cake and appropriately an egg shaped dome filled with goat's milk mousse.The season brings about a longing for lighter desserts that are more fragrant and cleaner on the palate.Adding eggs are also more beneficial to textures too. Beaten ones can add an airy feeling when eating mousses and custards. They also can sharpen other flavors by lessening the need for butter and cream. They don't coat the tongue with a layer of butterfat which can dull flavors.
The recipes given are perfect for any Easter or Spring meal as well as being appropriate .Eggs were a seasonal food with hens slowing down or stopping all together to lay eggs when winter came. spring came with lengthened days, signalling to the birds to start laying again. Nowadays hens can lay eggs all year round thanks to the ever glowing electric bulbs in their coops. Yet Spring and eggs are now forever linked with Easter, Passover and the vernal equinox. They represent the rebirth of the earth and all things green.It's seen in Easter cakes and breads along with Passover 's egg leavened nut tortes. The recipes offered are eggy and light, great for ending any holiday meal. There is chocolate pavlova with chocolate mousse. If you think this a a bit heavy, don't .The mousse is light and airy, the cocoa just gives it somewhat of a punch, For a more custardy fare home bakers should try the Portuguese egg custard tarts, a lovely mix of a yolk rich cinnamon laced custard and buttery puff pastry (which can be bought). A great Easter dessert is the lemon angel food cake with the zing of preserved lemon curd. The sweetness is cut by the saltiness of the preserved lemon curd. This last was contributed by Samantha Kinkaid, of High On Hudson, a pastry chef known for infusing her meringues with dried carrots and beets.
Let the eggs star in this holiday season's baking line up. They will add a lightness and richness to any sweet ending, from mousse to custard tarts. It's a perfect way of welcoming Spring, with light , airy desserts