Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mark Bittman, Pound Cake, Ina Garten and Nora Ephron...

The December issue of Town & Country Magazine had two of my favorite people on the cover - Ina Garten and Nora Ephron. "Ina & Nora Talk Turkey" was the name of the interview. I should have figured they were friends, but they are such good friends that Nora said, "By the way, that pound-cake recipe you gave me? I have bad news for you. I hope it isn't in your book." Can you imagine? Ina let her know, "It isn't. I'm still testing it for the next book." Nora continued, "I found a better recipe from Mark Bittman. I feel bad telling you this, but it is divine. The greatest pound-cake recipe ever, and the easiest." I love Mark Bittman - I read his blog and I've read one of his books . . . but gutsy, Nora. Gutsy.

I give you Mark's recipe. The one Nora told Ina about. In print.

Citrus-Almond Poundcake
(Adapted from Grandaisy Bakery)

Time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus 30 minutes’ resting

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
Flour for pan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
7-ounce tube almond paste
7 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-cup Bundt pan. Put lemon juice, orange juice and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat.

2. Put almond paste and remaining 2 cups sugar in food processor and process until well combined; add butter and continue processing until light and fluffy. With the machine running, add eggs one at a time along with zest and vanilla, and continue to process until smooth.

3. Stop the machine, add the flour, baking powder and salt, and pulse a few times — just until the dry ingredients are integrated (be careful not to over process, or the cake will become tough). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. When a skewer or thin-bladed knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly.

4. Pour the citrus soak over the cake and let it sit for about 30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the cake releases from the pan easily. Cut into slices.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

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