I predict that unprecedented numbers of Tuesdays with Dorie bakers will make this one. Why?
- It's easy
- It uses ingredients you already have in your pantry
- It was selected by Nancy at The Dogs Eat the Crumbs
I know I'm not the only blogger who finds Nancy's recipe insights (her n.o.e.'s notes) as valuable as the recipe itself. Nancy has saved me from making mistakes, given me ideas for flavor combinations and inspired me to make substitutions I wouldn't have dared to make. She encouraged me to join the Slow & Steady Subgroup of the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge and thereby opened the door to my embracing and exploring yeast breads. She urged me to cook from my copy of Ad Hoc at Home, rather than keeping it on a shelf, by telling me how many recipes she's made and that Keller himself encouraged cooks to take the book into the kitchen and get it dirty.
So if Nancy had chosen a recipe that got every bowl, pan, whisk, spatula, and food processor attachment dirty and took three days to complete, I would have made it. But she chose a simple but flavorful cake that was a snap to prepare and had no leavening, enabling our bakers who observe Passover to make this and serve it at their Seders. That is so like Nancy, to always think about others and find ways to include them.
As I said, this recipe came together easily and fit nicely into my 9" cast iron skillet, which I buttered as though my life depended on it. I used a huge lemon off of my tree, and it fragranced the cake beautifully. This was a huge hit at work, though too small for all the 60+ people in the office to have a piece.
I will definitely make this one again, and although this recipe lends itself to many flavor combinations (like grapefruit, orange, lime, mocha, chai), my next version will substitute the scrapings from a vanilla bean and vanilla sugar. See, Nancy was the one who gave me the idea to make vanilla sugar. It seems fitting, doesn't it?