Almost two weeks after the Menu family Christmas day festivities, Miss Menu is still dreamy-eyed with thoughts of the day’s meals: a breakfast to remember with a perfect mixture of sweet and savory; a traditional beef-and-potatoes dinner with some tasty twists; and a highly indulgent dessert.
We don’t like to budge much from our traditional Christmas morning breakfast, and for good reason. Our coffee cake recipe (see below) is super simple but insanely satisfying. It also freezes well. (The Menu Family likes to take a frozen cake on beach vacations, too). Add scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon and plenty of mimosas and you have yourself a Christmas brunch to remember.
The next Christmas day menu that brings joy to the taste buds is Christmas dinner. Last year’s crown roast of pork was hard to top in terms of a wow factor, but this year we decided to try something new with the New York strip roast. This tender cut is usually served up as individual steaks, but a whole roast is perfect for a crowd. We pre-ordered our meat from local-favorite Belmont Butchery, then followed the basic guidelines in this Epicurious.com recipe. Basically, you pan sear the whole roast in a skillet on the stove top, fat-side town, to create a nice brown crust before putting the whole skillet in a 375-degree oven and cooking to 130.
Our side dishes included a sausage-and-oyster stuffing, smashed potatoes with plenty of alouette cheese and string beans with crispy onions.
All that is well and good, but for this sweet tooth, a Christmas meal just isn’t complete without a decadent dessert course. We found ours by recreating a version of the famous lemon butter cake from Chez Foushee Restaurant in downtown Richmond. It’s something of a dessert institution in my hometown: a buttery crust meets a dense, intense, lemony filling. The result is slightly similar to a cheesecake, but somehow tastes even more sinful. After you test the experiment below, I highly recommend a trip to Chez Foushee to taste the original.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 pint sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until it becomes creamy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add salt and eggs and continue to beat. Combine baking soda with flour and add alternately with sour cream. Pour half the batter into greased and floured 13 x 9” baking pan. Sprinkle half the sugar/cinnamon/walnut mixture over. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon mixture over all. Swirl with knife. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. If freezing, let cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Lemon Butter Cake
Adapted from a 2006 Richmond Magazine recipe and discovered thanks to a co-worker who enjoys lemon butter cake just as much as Miss Menu!
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 package boxed yellow cake mix (2 cups)
- 1/2 a whisked egg (2 tablespoons)
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (light is OK)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Zest from two large lemons
- 1 stick butter, softened
For crust, stir together melted butter, cake mix and egg until mixture comes together. Grease the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, inverting the bottom of the pan so the cake can slide off easily once cooked. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and half-way up the sides.
For filling, cream together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer. Mix in condensed milk until fully incorporated. Add powdered sugar and incorporate. Add eggs, one at a time, then add lemon juice and zest and mix. Pour mixture into the prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Top will puff up and brown a bit. Chill overnight – top will fall a bit. Serve dusted with powdered sugar, with raspberries or lemon slices to garnish.