Dessert for breakfast – Torta degli angeli e crema (angel cake with lemon custard)
|June 9, 2011||Posted by ameliaps under dessert, Italian|
My little angels are piccoli omnivores. However, like all children, they love consistency, tradition, routine, security…they are habitual creatures. They like knowing that some things will always be there, time and time again. And this is what makes for good memories. One of their favorite things to eat is crema (Italian custard flavored with lemon peel). I make it at least once a week. It is usually an afternoon merenda (snack) but also a wonderful breakfast: why not? It is rich in eggs and milk, and of course a little sugar (I use unrefined: Turbinado or Demerara). I can hear some of you saying dessert is not for breakfast: but have you read the ingredients of your cereal or pancake box lately? Oh, don’t get me started on processed foods!
There is such a stigma associated with sweets for breakfast, but I believe that a small amount of good sugars (honey, agave, maple syrup, unrefined: turbinado or demerara, dried fruits,…) make for a great energy booster in the morning. Growing up, for breakfast, we would often have biscotti (which in Italian really refers to any kind of cookie) or cake and milk, or toast or crepes or pane francese (pain perdu = French toast) with marmellata (jam), or crema. Such a good way to start the day. Especially because it was all made at home, by my mom, with wholesome ingredients, and paired with seasonal fruit or fresh orange juice. And this is what I repeat for my kids. They love me for it: can you blame them?
Since crema takes 8 egg yolks, I always have leftover whites and have had to come up with creative ways to use them (take a look here at the many ways David Lebovitz suggests). One of my favorite things to do with them is torta degli angeli (angel cake): how appropriate that my little angels adore the combination of crema and torta degli angeli, topped with fresh berries. Since you need white cake flour and white sugar for this cake I do not make it often…but it does make for a wonderful birthday cake! (The flip side is that this cake does not have any fat). It is wonderful topped with fresh berries, raspberries especially.
Let them have cake! And may you have a slice too, with no regrets!
BTW, if you agree with me on breakfast for dessert, you should definitively check out Stephanie’s blog, Desserts for breakfast. I love her food styling and dark, rich backgrounds.
|Torta degli angeli e crema (angel cake with lemon custard)|
- Crema pasticcera (Italian lemon custard)
- The peel from 1 lemon (if you prefer, seeds scraped from half vanilla bean or 1 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 1 liter (4 cups) milk
- 8 egg yolks
- 200 gr. (1 cup) sugar (I use unrefined: Turbinado or Demerara).
- 80 gr. (2/3 cup) flour or cornstarch, sifted > you can use a bit more (100 gr.) if you want it thicker
- Torta degli angeli (Angelfood Cake)
- 90 gr. (1 cup) sifted cake flour
- 240 gr. (1 1/4 cup) granulated sugar, separate
- 8 large egg whites (240 gr. or 1 cup – if your eggs are small you might need up to 10 egg whites)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla, almond or [insert flavor here] extract
- In a small saucepan combine the milk and lemon peel (or the vanilla bean seeds). Scald the milk (heat just below the boiling point). In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk. Stir in the flour (or cornstarch). Pour about one third of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper (which means to avoid curdling), whisking continuously. Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, and place the saucepan back on the heat. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the mixture comes barely to a boil. Remove the lemon peel and remove the cream from the heat. Chill completely, covered in plastic wrap until ready to assemble the tart.
- Preheat the oven at 180C (350F).Sift the cake flour and 50 grams (1/4 cup sugar) together a couple of times. With a whisk (or a stand mixer), beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until frothy. Add the remaining sugar (190 gr., 1 cup) in small amounts, beating at each addition, until soft peaks form. Add the extract. Working with a spatula, sift in the flour in small increments, folding it in gently. Grease and flour a 22 cm (9 Inch) Bundt (tube) pan, leveling the top, and tapping to make sure air bubbles are removed. Bake about 45 to 60 minutes. Invert and let cake cool on a rack