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Louise Cake: Coconutty meringue on top of raspberry jam on top of a lemony shortbread base.

Louise Cake: Coconutty meringue on top of raspberry jam on top of a lemony shortbread base.

lemon almond bars

lemon almond bars

welsh cheesecake

welsh cheesecake

I love trying out new recipes, sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re not. At the baby shower I just threw I discovered a couple of new favorites. My  new favorite lemon bar I discovered in Sunset Magazine, the Lemon-Almond Bar. I was a little wary of the crystallized ginger in the recipe, but I’m a convert now. Another new favorite, Louise Cake, comes from New Zealand by way of my Ladies, A Plate cookbook by Alexa Johnston. Louise Cake is actually more like a fancy bar cookie and the lemony base layer is to die for, jam filling and coconut meringue topping. Welsh cheesecake, which seems rather a misnomer as there is no cheese of any kind in them at all, is another sweet treat I tried out. They were good little tarts, great for a tea party, but didn’t rise up to the favorite level.

Lemon-Almond Bars

adapted from Sunset Magazine (February 2014)

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups (divided) sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 T. plus 1 t. (divided) lemon zest
  • 3 1/4 cups (divided) flour
  • 1/2 t. (divided) salt
  • Pam
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • garnish: powdered sugar

Cooking Directions:

  1. Make the base by beating together 1/4 cup sugar, butter and 1 t. lemon zest at medium speed in a kitchen aid mixer until creamy.
  2. Stir together 2 cups flour and 1/4 t. salt and gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until just blended.
  3. Coat 13x9 inch pan with Pam and press dough into the bottom of it. Chill 15 minutes. Bake at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Whisk together eggs, and 2 cups sugar. Process ginger and 1/2 cup flour in food processor until ginger is finely chopped. Stir in baking powder. Whisk ginger mixture into egg mixture. Whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 T. lemon zest. Pour over crust and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until filling just set.
  5. Stir together remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 t. salt in a small bowl. Stir in melted butter until well blended. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle over hot lemon mixture and bake 20 to 25 more minutes or until golden.
  6. Cool completely before serving.

Louise Cake

adapted from Ladies, A Plate by Alexa Johnson

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 oz. butter
  • 2 oz. (4.5 T.) sugar
  • 2 eggs, separate yolks from whites
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz. (1 cup) flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 5 T. or more raspberry jam
  • 4 oz. (8 T.) caster sugar (I just used regular sugar)
  • 2 oz. sweetened coconut

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and then beat in 2 egg yolks. Add the lemon juice. Combine the flour and baking powder and mix into to form a firm dough.
  2. Press the dough into the bottom of a greased or Pammed 12x8 baking pan. Spread the jam over the dough.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold in the caster sugar and coconut using a metal spoon. Spread carefully over the jam. Sprinkle with a little more coconut.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes until the coconut is just turning golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and cut into squares while it is still warm.

Welsh Cheesecake

adapted from Ladies, A Plate by Alexa Johnson

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound puff pastry
  • 2 T. or more raspberry jam
  • 2 oz. (4.5 T.) sugar
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 oz. (7 T. + 1 t.) flour
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1 egg

Cooking Directions:

  1. Roll out the pastry to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into circles big enough to line mini muffin pans. Put into the fridge for a few minutes when you finish. (When you reroll scraps, make sure to lay them on top of each other - do not ball them up. Cut these into narrow strips to top the cakes with)
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar, add the egg and flour, then lemon zest and baking powder,
  3. Put a small dot of jam in the base of each pastry cup, followed by a teaspoonful of the filling.
  4. Place the narrow pastry strips across the top of each tart.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

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