Flourless Walnut Cake With Lemon Cream and Fresh Berries
By Chef John Ash
This is a very simple recipe that is perfect to share during a ladies lunch. The quality of the walnuts is crucial. If you suspect your walnuts have been in storage for a while, place them on a baking sheet in a preheated 375° oven and lightly bake for 3 to 4 minutes to “refresh” the flavor. Enjoy Sonoma-Cutrer’s The Cutrer Chardonnay with this cake.
Total Time 1 hour
Prep Time 15 mins
Difficulty Level Medium
4 large eggs, separated (cake)
1/2 lb. (1 cup plus 1 tbsp) sugar (cake)
2 tsps grated lemon zest (cake)
3/4 lb. walnuts, ground finely (cake)
powdered sugar and/or cocoa (cake)
1 pint fresh berries of your choice (cake)
mint springs (cake)
1/3 cup sugar (custard sauce)
3 large egg yolks (custard sauce)
1 1/2 cups light cream (half and half) (custard sauce)
2 tbsps grated lemon zest (custard sauce)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (custard sauce)
drops of fresh lemon juice to taste
Make the Walnut Cake: Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes with an electric mixer). Stir in lemon zest.
In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Fold a quarter of the whites into the egg mixture to loosen it. Stir walnuts into mixture until thoroughly blended. Fold in remaining egg whites carefully to maintain light texture.
Pour batter into a buttered and lightly floured 8-inch cake pan and bake in a preheated 375° oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Cool cake on a rack before turning out. Slice and serve with lemon custard sauce, a dusting of powdered sugar and/or cocoa, fresh berries and a mint spring.
Make the Lemon Custard Sauce: Beat sugar and egg yolks together until lightly colored. Heat cream and zest together in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Slowly beat hot cream into yolk mixture being careful not to scramble the eggs.
Return mixture to pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until sauce just begins to thicken. Off heat and strain sauce quickly. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice to taste. Cool, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.