By Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, Tina Rupp
Stewart, Tabori & Chang - 2008
These cookies might be an all-time favorite for those who enjoy a little extra salt in desserts. They rate a perfect 5 for texture, baking up crispy on the outside and soft/chewy on the inside. They also rate a perfect 5 for the level of sweetness- even with the sugar sprinkle on top and milk chocolate chips, the sugar seemed about the right balance with the peanut butter and salt (not too sweet).
The flavor is good, but the reason I rated the overall cookie four stars instead of five is that they are a little too salty for me and have a slight bitter aftertaste.
There is a lot of baking soda in these. It seems like cookie recipes often use larger amounts of baking soda to facilitate browning, and I suspect that the soda might also help create the lovely texture, keeping these from setting until they have spread into a thin, crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside cookie. If I make these again I'll start with a small batch and use less baking soda, in hopes of reducing the saltiness and eliminating the bitter aftertaste.
I liked these better the day after baking, when all the flavors had had a chance to blend and mellow a bit.
For those who weigh ingredients, this book uses 139g as the weight of a cup of AP flour (I learned this from RLB's baking forum, where a member had been in contact with one of the authors).
These were quite good! A couple of notes: first, the recipe calls for chocolate that contains 60-72% cocoa solids. I used 70% chocolate and for me, they were almost too sweet (though I still managed to eat quite a few). Next time I'll use 72% chocolate. Chocolate from the lower end of that range would make sweeter brownies. With the 70% chocolate they were sweet enough that there was no edge of bitterness, even though they contain brown sugar, dark chocolate and coffee.
The second note is that these are quite wet and fudgy in texture and stick to the pan if they're a little underbaked. I liked them baked to an internal temp of 185-190F.
For those who weigh ingredients, this book uses 139g as the weight of a cup of AP flour.
By Ina Garten, Martha Stewart
Clarkson Potter - 1999
IMHO, this is worth the bad food points. It has a fair amount of butter, sugar, and salt, but it makes the squash perfect. I tried to make it with less sugar and less salt, but when I tasted it near the end of cooking, I quickly decided to add the missing quantities. I was so glad I did, it elevated the dish to something tasty enough for a special occasion.
I loved this veggie dish, it was very, very good and so easy. Full of deep roasted flavor and can be used so many ways, I look forward to making it again.
I checked the vegetables at the end of the roasting time, and they didn't look very brown, so I turned the oven up and left them in another 7-8 minutes, until they were looking dark and toasty in places. This gave the spread a wonderful roasted flavor.
The quantity of salt in the recipe was perfect for us but might be too much for someone with a less salty palate or if your veggies are on the small side. We didn't need to add any additional seasoning at the end.
We did add a squirt of lemon juice (from about 1/4 of a lemon) at the end, which the spread seemed to need. Perhaps our tomato paste wasn't very acidic.
Amazingly, even my veggie-phobic ten year old liked this- she's asked to have it tomorrow morning on toast for breakfast :)
I agree with the other reviewers, this recipe is so easy it hardly counts as a recipe, but then it's good, so I'm inclined to rate it well anyway. I think roasted vegetables were more of a novelty when this book was first published in 1999, so Ms. Garten should get credit for being in the forefront of that movement.
Perhaps because I had fewer sprouts than the recipe called for, mine were very brown on the outside before the inside was done. And I cut the largest sprouts in half to facilitate even cooking- that may have been a mistake as they were a bit dry by the time they were cooked all the way through.
This was good to try for meals where the oven is already being used, but for stove top meals I'll continue to saute brussel sprouts, as I like the moistness that comes from finishing them off in a covered pan after they've been browned.
By Rose Levy Beranbaum
W.W. Norton & Co. - 2003
This bread adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The raisin-pecan version has a mellow, blended flavor that is delicious, while the cranberry-walnut version has a bright combination of flavors that remain more distinct. It's one of my favorite breads in the book. It has a dense, fine crumb and a soft texture.
I like to split the recipe into two smaller loaves, as it makes one large loaf and we are a small family. One to eat right away, one for the freezer. Great with fresh ricotta or cream cheese.
Our go-to pizza dough, we make it nearly every week. This is a no-knead dough so it's incredibly easy, perfect for a novice bread maker or for anyone who needs to spend more time on toppings, salad, etc. The recommend King Arthur Italian-style flour makes a noticeably light, crisp crust, but the all-purpose version is nearly as good. Letting the dough sit overnight in the fridge gives nice flavor. And the portion size is somewhat small, it serves two modest appetites. We double it for a family of three.
A wonderful recipe to teach the basics of artisan bread. The crumb has medium holes (larger than a sandwich bread but smaller than a ciabatta-style bread), and the addition of a small amount of whole wheat flour boosts flavor. Like the previous reviewer, I also divide this recipe into two smaller, thin-ish torpedos, one to eat and one to freeze.
This is the bread depicted on the cover. So far, it's my favorite savory bread from this book. I love everything about it, from the open crumb (large holes) to the magical flavors produced by durum flour and a mellow biga.
It's worth noting that coarse semolina doesn't work well for this recipe (it calls for finely ground durum flour). As the coarse flour is easier to find, I have tried both allowing it time to absorb the water in the recipe, and grinding it in the food processor, but the substitution still doesn't work as well as the fine flour does. If the coarse flour is all that is available, you can reduce hydration a bit and the bread will still be good.
This potato flatbread is absolutely delicious, and can be used for small dinner rolls as well as for flatbread. The flavor tastes like a cross between buttery mashed potatoes and pizza crust. It's a very tender pizza crust, yet still bakes up with a crisp exterior.
Using this dough for pizza strikes me as an American-style departure from the traditional Italian pie. We love it with the mushroom and onion topping listed in the book, but prefer the more Italian-style "Perfect Pizza Dough" recipe that precedes it for classic Pizza Margherita and similar pies.
Large Serving Size
Both this recipe and the "Perfect Pizza Dough" make one 10-inch flatbread or 7 oz of dough, but this one lists that as a main serving for one, while the other recipe lists it as a main serving for two. With either recipe, we double it (14 oz of dough) for a family of three.
This is a delicious quick bread rather than a yeasted bread. It can be sliced thinly and keeps well, perfect for cream cheese sandwiches for lunchboxes or weekend snacking. It's healthier than carrot cake, with more carrots, less sugar and less oil, yet it is still moist and delicious. I didn't miss the extra sugar or oil at all.
The recommendation in the recipe to wrap the loaf and let it sit for a day is a good one, mine was a tad dry at the edges when first baked, but after sitting it was more moist.
The only change I made was to use golden raisins instead of dark ones, as this was primarily for my 10 year-old daughter and she likes goldens better. When she saw me grating a large pile of carrots to make this, she informed me she doesn't like carrot cake. But now she's eaten it with cream cheese every day for the last week. It's definitely good for veggie-phobic kids.
The four star rating is for the quickbread itself, spreading it with cream cheese elevates this to a 5.
This is a lovely bread, enriched with walnut oil and studded with additional walnuts, it pairs well with soft cheese and fruit.
I did use the optional gappe, the toasted milk solids left over from making brown butter. Tthe walnuts, oil and gappe all contributed to a very rich and flavorful bread. It also has a nice toasty flavor from the crust- there's a lot of surface area created by the lattice shape.
This bread does undergo three and a half rises, so it's best to find a warm spot to proof it, 80-85F or so would be about perfect.
Because of the large surface area, I think this bread is best eaten the day it's baked. The recipe says the bread improves after sitting for 6-18 hrs, but mine was drier after that time (I covered it loosely).
Can't wait to make french toast with the leftovers!
By Rose Levy Beranbaum
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1988
This sublime flourless cake is my all-time favorite chocolate cake, I return to it again and again. It is dense, supremely moist, tender, and has a little added texture from the ground almonds. It is a not-too-sweet cake, with a perfect balance of butter, toasted almonds and cocoa. Full-flavored yet mellow, it isn't as intense as the Chocolate Oblivion (also Cake Bible). It pairs well with dark ganache spiked with either rum or coffee, or with whipped cream.
For the best flavor, use a full-fat, dutched cocoa, or if you must use a lower-fat cocoa, substitute by weight, 75% low-fat cocoa and 25% chopped unsweetened chocolate (this corrects the cocoa butter content).
For the best texture, use ground almonds that are as fine as possible. If you are grinding them yourself, start with room temperature toasted sliced almonds and grind with some of the sugar from the recipe.
This recipe is a little more time-consuming than some, due to egg whites that are beaten separately and due to the need to toast and grind almonds if you opt not to buy toasted almond flour. But I like it so well I still make it more often than any other cake recipe.
The photo shows this cake after trimming and frosting with dark ganache with coffee.
Although I'm a huge fan of Ms. Beranbaum's work, I must admit that this recipe just didn't do it for me. As a pound cake, I found it too sweet and I missed the flavor of egg yolks. I also found the flavor of hazelnuts overpowered the chocolate, almond and cherries.
Fans of white cake or those with a sweet tooth may find this more to their liking than I did.
This recipe is listed as a variation of La Brioche Cake. It is a strawberry shortcake-style recipe, intended to be served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and it is my all-time favorite way to eat strawberries. It is also good with peaches or nectarines.
The "cake" is actually a brioche bread, syruped with liqueur to transform it into a dessert. I don't have good kirsch on hand, so I make the syrup for this with 4T of gold rum, eliminate the lemon juice, and pull back on the sugar a little, to 120 grams. I also like to add the zest of one large orange to the dough during shaping. Brioche gets baked to an internal temp of 190F.
Among the Cake Bible's chocolate butter cakes, this is my favorite. It has a light, moist texture and works well for cupcakes as well as layer cakes. The brown sugar contributes a more complex and slightly bittersweet flavor, as well as a deep, dark color. The flavors of brown sugar, butter and chocolate remind me a little of chocolate chip cookies, only this is a bit more chocolate-y.
Because of the dark color and the somewhat bittersweet flavor, I like to pair it with sweeter, light-colored buttercreams, such as white chocolate mousseline (pictured in photo).
This recipe makes 28 cupcakes, which bake in 20-25" at 350F.
This buttercream is silky smooth, rich and not too sweet, which means I'll never again suffer through gritty or overly sweet powdered sugar frostings. It's bascially whipped butter lightened with Italian Meringue. It is a little more challenging to make than a powdered sugar frosting, but very worthwhile to master.
There is an updated technique on the author's Youtube video, which basically involves dumping all of the cooled meringue onto the whipped butter at once and then whipping at med-high or high speed. This is much faster and simpler than the tablespoon-at-a-time method in the book, and I've done it several times now, it works well.
An important tip is that this buttercream almost always curdles a little bit just before it forms an emulsion- keep beating on med-high or high and as long as it's at the right temperature it will come together. The ideal temperature for both the whipped butter and the cooled meringue is about 70F.
If the temperature of the buttercream is too cool and it curdles, even badly, it can still be saved by bringing the mixture to the correct temp and then beating on high speed.
Another point is to err on the lower side of the 248-250F for the temperature of the cooked sugar syrup. Going over 250F will produce an overly firm, hard-to-pipe and unpleasant-to-eat buttercream. If the sugar syrup does overshoot 250F, it's easy to swirl in a little water (the temp will lower) and then try for 248F again.
Finally, unsalted butter is a must. Salted butter doesn't taste good in this.
My favorite flavors are the lemon curd and the white chocolate. Normally, I don't care for white chocolate at all, but in this buttercream it doesn't come across as too sweet and it does something incredibly dreamy to the texture.
The photos show a cake frosted with lemon curd mousseline, and cupcakes frosted with white chocolate mousseline.
This is a lovely chocolate cake- rich, mellow, and with a finer crumb than the Perfect All-American. The flavor of the chocolate and sour cream remind me of a brownie, though the texture is that of a tender cake.
Although the author prefers serving this cake unadorned, I have found that it also pairs wonderfully with nut flavors. The photo shows this cake baked as cupcakes and topped with hazelnut mousseline (mousseline buttercream with white chocolate and hazelnut paste).
This recipe makes 15 cupcakes and they bake in about 20".
This is a glorious flourless chocolate cake, and it only uses 3 ingredients. Simple and elegant. It really does taste like a chocolate truffle. It's a crowd pleaser and received many compliments.
A Make-Ahead, Sit-Out-All-Night Cake:
I chose this because I could make it a couple of days in advance, and because it could sit out during a party and wouldn't get dry the way a traditional flour- or egg-based cake would. It was still perfectly moist and delicious at the end of the night. However, it is a bit messy to cut if you don't follow the suggestion to use a hot sharp knife.
I've made this twice, and used a 53% chocolate one time and 60% the other time. Even though I'm a not-too-sweet person, I found the 60% a little too intense and bitter. I'll stick to 53-57% chocolate for this in the future.
When it's Done:
According to the author, this should bake to an internal temp of 150F, and the water bath should also be about 150F. For me, the water bath worked well when I filled a tea kettle and brought it to a boil while the eggs were beating, then pulled it off the heat and allowed it to cool a bit while I was folding the chocolate/butter mixture and eggs together. Both times I made this, my torte took longer than the specified baking time for the internal temp to come up to 150F.
Hot Fudge Variation:
I also tried the "chocolate torture" variation, with espresso and homemade hot fudge, and have to say that the hot fudge is outstanding and only takes a few minutes to make in the microwave. However, it needs to be quite liquid in order to spread out into a reasonably uniform layer on the cake. Mine was too thick and sunk into the batter in places. Tasted great, but wasn't very pretty.
A second attempt at the hot fudge variation worked well when I used the lukewarm fudge as a topping to pour over the finished, chilled cake. It set up glossy and beautiful at room temp.
The espresso stays in the background and enhances the chocolate, it doesn't come across as a mocha cake.
By far the best hot fudge I've ever encountered. It's very easy to make, I do it completely in the microwave in a 4-cup pyrex with buttered sides to prevent boiling over. Keeps well in the refrigerator, and can be re-warmed in the microwave numerous times for desserts and sundaes. I use Lyle's in place of the corn syrup, the substitution works well.
By Marcella Hazan
Knopf - 1976
This is a robust, garlicky, salty pesto that is wonderful and memorable. Like many of the recipes from this book, it has become a staple in my kitchen, I have probably made it more than 25 times.
I have fine-tuned it to my tastes, pulling back on the raw garlic and adding a very small squirt of lemon juice to help preserve a fresh green color. Walnuts also work well with this recipe if pine nuts are not available. I freeze it in ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes to a ziploc. Great on pizza and potato gnocchi as well as on pasta.
By Nick Malgieri
William Morrow Cookbooks - 2000
I chose this recipe because the author cited them as "the ideal biscotti." They are crispy and dry, as expected, and also somewhat tender from the butter- they don't have to be dunked if you don't want to.
The flavor of these is ethereal- almonds, vanilla, butter and anisette all blend together into a sweet, floral flavor that is delicate and unusual. The anisette (I used Sambuca) stays in the background- if you didn't know it was there, you might not be able to guess. When I first tasted these, I wondered if they would be too delicate to stand up to a robust cup of coffee, but they did- a lovely combo.
This recipe doesn't have any salt, and I think salt may detract from the flavor- I tasted the finished biscotti with a small sprinkle of salt, and it totally changed the character of the cookies- suddenly, they were no longer sweet and floral, just buttery and salty.
During the second baking of these, I baked for 8 minutes and then flipped the cookies over to crisp the underside for another 8 minutes (instead of baking 20 minutes on one side). I've also seen some bakers who stand their sliced biscotti up on the flat side to crisp both sides at once.
By Shirley O. Corriher
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1997
Followed this recipe exactly, from the marinade to the weight of the steak to the overnight (20 hrs) soak. It was a good, well-balanced marinade, but it overwhelmed the meat. I have found this to be the case with other, similar skirt steak recipes, too, so maybe I'm just not fond of lengthy marinades. As the balance of flavors was so good, I may try this again with a shorter soaking time, perhaps 4-5 hours.
Leftovers did make sensational sandwiches topped with arugula and tomato slices.
The brioche base recipe used for the Sausage in Brioche is wonderful- delicious, full-flavored, and meets the goal of a fine crumb that doesn't pull away from fillings. It benefits from a full-flavored, sophisticated sausage.
This brioche is a very soft dough, and if you use a bread flour that is lower in protein, like Gold Medal's Better for Bread (which I love), you might want to leave out a tablespoon of water so the dough won't be too soft to work with. A higher-protein flour like King Arthur's bread flour will probably need the full amount of water.
It's worthwhile to note that the brioche will continue to rise vigorously after doubling and putting in the fridge, so I found it helpful to start the chilling when the dough had reached 1.5 times its original volume, instead of double (first rise).
I chose a different presentation of this bread and filling partly because I needed a smaller diameter loaf to serve as an hors d'oeurve, and partly because I find the classic French presentation of a full loaf of bread with a single round sausage in the middle not to my liking.
For the presentation in the photo, I used 2/3 of the brioche recipe with all of the filling. I removed the sauage from its casing and pressed it flat in the pan, browned it on one side, then added the wine. I rolled the dough into two long rectangles, brushed them sparingly with egg white, layered the sausage on, then brushed it sparingly with egg white, then rolled tightly and tucked ends under. I did not use oil for rolling, as that would prevent the dough from adhereing to its filling. I rolled on lightly floured plastic wrap and then used the wrap to help roll the soft dough.
This recipe (2/3 of the brioche rolled with all the filling) made two loaves, 19" long by 4.5" wide. Each loaf can be sliced into about 35 half-inch slices, so the recipe serves a large number as an appetizer. The dijon butter is lovely, but half the recipe is enough for both large loaves. Left over slices are sublime toasted and topped with a fried or poached egg.
I absolutely loved this filled brie recipe. I served it at a large party, and the most sophisticated foodies there raved about it. The balance of buttery brioche, creamy brie, salty nuts and sweet-tart apricots is delicious. This was not too sweet, like some versions I've encountered, and the brioche kept it fairly neat- it could be sliced into thin wedges for serving.
I followed this part of the recipe exactly and was so glad that I did- it was perfect. I used a cake leveler to cut the cold brie, it worked like a charm. For the apricots, I used california (Sun Maid) rather than turkish, as they are more intensely flavored and more tart. They are halves, rather than whole apricots, so I used 20 halves for the recipe (called for 10 whole).
I only used 2/3 of this recipe to encase the brie, partly because I didn't have the tools to create the filigree top and partly because I didn't want that much bread around the cheese. I folded the dough into pleats to try and make it look as presentable as possible.
This brioche rises vigorously during chilling, I found it helpful to start the chilling when it reached 1.5 times its volume, instead of double. I also found it helpful, when rolling out the brioche, to roll half way and then allow the dough an hour in the fridge to relax before completing the rolling.
This cake is reported to be the Groom's cake that Prince William chose for his wedding.
I must admit that I didn't like this cake very much. Part of the problem was that I was expecting a soft, sliceable cake, and this is firm and crunchy, really more of a candy than a cake. It's a bit like eating butter straight from the fridge. There are versions of this that use cream in addition to the butter, and I think those might be more to my liking as they are softer and the sugar dissolves in the cream.
There is no opportunity for the sugar in the recipe to dissolve- even after several days in the refrigerator it retains its gritty texture. Serving cold works well with the undissolved sugar (which comes across as crispy), but serving at room temperature does not. Superfine sugar would probably improve the texture somewhat.
Aside from the hard texture, I also thought it lacked flavor. I used 63% chocolate but would up that to about 70% if I tried it again, to get more chocolate flavor.
Hard to know which version is the right version, but as best as I can tell the original version of this recipe was printed by a UK newspaper, and it calls for 4 oz each of butter, sugar and chocolate, plus 8 oz of rich tea biscuits. If that is correct, then this recipe is missing a tablespoon of sugar and half a stick of butter.
This recipe can be made in any four cup mold, but may be difficult to cut if the mold is too deep.
By Amanda Hesser
W. W. Norton & Company - 2010
I enjoyed this cake very much, but I expect all the fanfare attached to this recipe is because of its ease and simplicity, and because baked Italian plums are absolutely delicious. When I tasted the base cake without plum, it was bland, though that might be because I didn't know how this book measures flour and may have used too much.
I took one cup of flour to mean 150 grams because having equal weights of sugar and flour is a classic way to formulate a cake recipe. This is a maximum amount for one cup of flour, and corresponds to a dip-and-sweep method of measuring. If I make it again, I'll probably try less flour, and use unbleached AP, as this is specified in many of the earlier versions of this recipe.
This cake has a relatively high proportion of sugar, and I was worried about it being too sweet, so went with the lower amount of sugar (3/4 cup) mentioned in the recipe. With that and the tartness of the plums, the cake definitely came across as a not-too-sweet dessert- perfect for me but my daughter thought it wasn't sweet enough. I used an additional 1 T for the topping.
An important point is that this recipe appears to have a typo when it calls for one tablespoon of cinnamon, as most other websites and books where this recipe is printed call for one teaspoon of cinnamon. I used half a teaspoon of cinnamon and thought it was plenty- any more might have obscured the flavor of the plums (I used the small Italian prune plums, which were delicious).
The combination of fruit and cinnamon, plus the rustic look of the cake, made me think of a breakfast or brunch cake, and that was how we ate most of it, in the morning with coffee. This cake baked up 1 5/8" tall and registered 200F in the center after 45" of baking.
By Maida Heatter
Andrews McMeel Publishing - 1999
I chose this torte because it looked like it might be healthier and lighter than most, and I think with a few tweaks I might make it again.
The texture is light and fluffy, like a souffle with added texture from carrots and ground almonds. However, the cake was too sweet for me, even without the sugary topping. Next time I'll reduce the sugar by at least 2T or 25g. The combination of flavors also wasn't quite right for me. Specifically, I didn't have mace and subbed nutmeg. Normally I like nutmeg, but not in this. Cinnamon or ginger would probably work, but next time I think I'll try vanilla instead of the mace and orange zest and juice instead of the lemon.
It's worth noting that this is too much batter for a 8x2.5" springform (the recipe calls for an 8x3 pan). I baked this in a 9x3, and it baked perfectly in the time allotted (1 hr).
I loved the combination of flavors in this cake- pecans, chocolate and Bailey's are very, very nice together. I toasted my pecans lightly. I also appreciated that this torte had enough flour to bake up flat, unlike those that normally bake up with a sunken center. However, it didn't seem quite as tender as cakes without flour, so I guess there's a trade-off for the nice shape. The texture was dense, like most nut tortes, and fudgy.
By Rose Levy Beranbaum
Scribner - 1998
Just sublime. Best tasting pie crust I've ever had- leaps and bounds ahead of all-butter crusts. There's an updated version on the author's blog that uses heavy cream instead of water for added tenderness, which is great if you're using all-purpose flour instead of lower protein pastry flour.
My all-time favorite apple pie, we make it every Fall after picking apples at local orchards. The open face design allows blind baking of the crust for the crispiest pastry. The method of concentrating the juices gives an intense and pure flavor, as less thickener is needed. Can't wait to make it again.
So far, this is my favorite recipe in the book, it's a fabulous pie. Every year we freeze concord grapes so that we can make this pie several more times after the Fall grape season is over.
It's a very liquid-y/juicy pie, and for me sometimes bakes up a bit messy, so the picture is of this pie with all the components prepared separately and then assembled. The "top crust" was two grape leaves baked on a sheet pan and place on top of the pie just before serving.
The pie pairs very nicely with lemon, either lemon whipped cream or lemon ice cream.
Delicious, creamy and full of peaches. It took me several tries to get this one right- the key is to be sure to bake the peaches long enough that they have exuded all their juice before adding the custard mixture. If they are still firm, they haven't baked long enough. They should be almost fully baked. If you add the custard too soon, the tart will have a lot of extra juices that flow out when sliced.
I bake this pie to an internal temp of 160F to ensure that the custard is properly thickened.
The ultimate pecan pie, baked with plenty of pecans and a shallow layer of filling so it isn't overly sweet (you can see how thin the filling is in the photo with the cut tart). The Lyle's syrup is delicious in this pie, don't be tempted to substitute. It pairs well with bourbon (as in bourbon whipped cream).
A lovely pie for anyone who loves raspberries. The flavor of currants stayed mostly in the background, but complemented the raspberries nicely.
A showcase recipe for tart/sour cherries. The first time I made this I followed the recipe exactly, it's sublime. Compared to the standard lattice-top recipe on the previous page, it contains more fruit, which suited our taste perfectly.
The second time, I reduced the juices by half, then decreased the sugar and cornstarch accordingly. Also wonderful, but a few might find it bordering on overly cloying and intense. I think this works best if the juices are reduced in the microwave (rather than stovetop), to avoid caramelizing or browning, which would make the tart filling seem bitter.
A light, elegant pie that was very popular with guests and could be made ahead and frozen.
I chose the version with the almond pate sucree crust, rather than the meringue shell, and included the optional raspberry sauce in a webbed design on top of the pie.
There are a lot of components to this pie- crust, lemond curd, whipped cream and italian meringue, plus the raspberry sauce, but it was nice to have a creation that can just be defrosted and served when needed.
This is a lovely, intensely flavored blueberry-lemon tart. For the berries I had, I found the lemon curd slightly overpowering, but I think that was the fault of the berries, not the recipe. Next time, I'll taste the berries and adjust the quanitity of lemond curd down a bit if they're mildly flavored. This would be sublime with wild blueberries, the little ones that are grown in Maine, as they are so intensely flavored.
When blind baking the crust, make it nearly as brown as you would like the finished tart to be. The second baking, with the lemon curd, is short and very little additional browning takes place.
Made this Lemon Meringue Pie for houseguests last week, and they all declared it was the best they'd ever had. I have to say, I agree- the filling layer is deep (perfect recipe for a deep dish pie plate), lemony and just a bit creamy. It is not as intense as a lemon curd, but perfectly balanced with the crust and meringue. I used the flaky cream cheese crust, my favorite.
Use a Saucepan
After a few bakers had trouble with the filling not setting, Ms. Beranbaum posted a change to the recipe on her website: make the filling in a saucepan (instead of a double boiler) and be sure to bring it to a full boil. I did this and had no problems.
The other important point is to fully anchor the meringue onto the crust so it won't shrink. I made the Italian meringue and had no trouble with it, but it was harder to cut cleanly after a night in the fridge.
I think the meringue quantity in the recipe is probably just right- it seemed like it was high enough as I was piling it on, so I didn't use all that the recipe made. But after baking mine seemed a little short so I probably should have used it all after all.
Made these for a Thanksgiving appetizer, they were loved by all. I used the classic Gruyere cheese instead of cheddar (equal weight) and left out the optional ham. It's true that these don't have the strong eggy taste of a classic choux puff, and that's a very good thing.
I baked these on parchment brushed with a little clarified butter and sprinkled lightly with Wondra flour, they released perfectly with no sticking.
I think these benefit from a piping design that is somewhat narrow at the base and tall- the puffs that I piped with a more flat, spread out shape didn't rise as well and weren't shaped as nicely.
I mixed these by hand, as I didn't feel like dragging out my food processor, and it does take some effort but is less taxing than, say, whipping a meringue by hand.
I baked these completely ahead of time and froze them in gallon ziplocs as soon as they were cool, then reheated/recrisped in the oven at serving time so that I could serve them hot. Worked perfectly.
Loved this pie! When I saw the quanities of salt and nutmeg, I had my doubts, but the flavor of this pie is sublime.
I made it a day ahead of serving and so used 75% of the gelatin/water as per the instructions in the beginning of the chiffon chapter. The texture was ethereal and light, just holding its shape for cutting.
I wanted a prettier presentation than I normally get with a crumb crust, so instead of the gingersnap crust I used the sweet nut cookie crust, using pecans for the nuts, brown sugar for the sugar, and adding a little ginger. It went well with the filling but wasn't as flavorful as a good gingersnap.
The whipped cream and pecans in the photo are from the back section of the book, I've linked to those reviews.
This is a wonderful and easy way to stabilize whipped cream with starch so it won't water out. It makes the cream suitable for piping or for storing up to a day ahead of serving (refrigerated).
It's easier to make than the super-stabilized whipped cream (made with gelatin) because the window of time to add the small, thickened portion of cream to the larger bowl is much longer- i.e., with the gelatin, you have to time it carefully (I set the timer), but with the starch, it is a more relaxed process.
The same quantities and method can also be used for cassava/tapioca starch, which will enable the stabilized cream to be frozen and thawed without watering out. Corn starch doesn't freeze well.
These are the candied pecans I used for a garnish on the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. They are delicious, but be aware that the recipe is right when it describes the crust of sugar as "fine", it is a very thin layer.
The next time I make these, I may experiment with reducing the quantity of water in the syrup, to see if the thickness of the sugar layer can be controlled by the water content of the syrup.
I use them for salads as well as dessert garnishes.
I've made this crust several times, mostly with almonds but once with pecans. It is my favorite pate sucree, the nuts add flavor and help keep it tender.
To ensure the crust doesn't crack, I like to use a whole egg in place of the yolk and cream, the book talks about this version of the crust in the "Understanding" section on p. 58.
I love the process and smooth results of rolling the dough (instead of pressing it into the pan). Unless my kithcen is quite cool, it often needs to be chilled part way through rolling to keep it from becoming too sticky.
This tart is for the pastry cream lover, and that suits me perfectly. It's a layer of vanilla-rum pastry cream encased top, bottom and sides with an almond cookie crust. There's something pleasing about the way this is constructed, I find myself wondering how to make other pies into some version of this simple, elegant presentation.
The next time I make this I will pull back a bit on both the sugar and the rum in the pastry cream, to suit my own taste.
The recipe seemed complicated when I read through how to shape the dough between two pans, but it's simpler than it sounds and it went off without a hitch. I made the crust dough and the pastry cream a day ahead of rolling, assembling and baking the tart, and that seemed to be a good division of labor, not too much to do on either day.
This tart slices very neatly and thinly, it could easily serve 20 or more thin slices if other desserts were on offer.
The author has published two adjustments for this recipe: first, to add a tablespoon of heavy cream to the yolk/vanilla mixture to make the dough hold together better; and second, to bake it at 325 instead of 350F.
For the tart in the photos, I re-rolled the scraps and cut them into leaves, baked them separately on a sheet pan, and attached them while still hot with a little egg white. I served it with a sour cherry conserve, but I think it would be even better with sweetened or brandied whole sour cherries, or fresh sweet (bing) cherries.
I've never been overly fond of fresh blackberries, but after reading that the baked fruit is wonderful, I decided to give this pie a whirl. I'm glad I did- it's delicious. The baked fruit does seem to have more flavor than fresh. The recipe states that frozen berries are of a type that have softer seeds, and that was true with my (frozen) fruit.
My fruit was tart (and the recipe adds lemon) so there wasn't enough sugar in the pie for us. We sprinkled some on afterwards, but next time I'll taste it before baking.
For the crust, I chose the sweet cream variation of the basic flaky (all-butter) crust. I liked this variation even better than basic flaky, very tender from the cream, and delicious as well. Not sure if it will displace my favorite cream cheese crust, but almost.
I made a lattice crust, partly because I didn't have the fluted oval cut-outs that make the sketches of the two-crust pie so appealing. But also because I wanted the practice. I think there is more evaporation with the lattice than with a vented two-crust pie, and after looking at other recipes, I would reduce the corn starch by 1 - 1.5 tsp if making this again.
I love strawberries but have never tried a strawberry-rhubarb pie until this one- boy, was I missing out! It's a wonderful combo, I can tell it's going to have to join my collection of pies that I make every year.
Full disclosure- I didn't come home from the grocery with enough rhubarb, so this had about 3/4 of what was called for. And I used strawberry halves instead of the thinner slices that were called for. But even with my altered proportions, this pie was terriffic, highly recommended.
Very delicious, and one of the easiest, no-fuss pies in the book. I've made this recipe twice now, and both times I chose it because I had plenty of other cooking to do. I have used the apricot glaze both times, as it adds a little bit of golden color and an un-identifiable extra flavor dimension. As long as you don't put on too much, the apricot flavor blends with the fruit rather than being noticeable on its own.
When I made the pear variation, I must have used a little more fruit or cut my slices a little large, because the pie took an extra 15" of baking to get the pears to be done. I covered the crust with pieces of foil during the extra baking time, as it was getting fairly brown.
I love being able to bake something completely healthy that is also entirely delicious. Despite being 100% whole wheat, the texture of this loaf is fairly light, quite moist, and not at all mealy or gritty like some whole wheat breads. It's a very full-flavored bread, and great on its own, but even better with cheese.
I used La Tourangelle walnut oil, which intensifies the walnut flavor of this bread. But I think it would still be great with a neutral oil, as the chopped walnuts give plenty of flavor. Even though I wasn't crazy about the smell of the freshly ground wheat and I'm not a big fan of honey, I still loved the flavor of the finished bread.
Grinding the flour:
I used a heavy-duty blender to grind the fresh wheat berries, which seemed to work well. The only issue I had is that my sponge was quite liquid-y, which I think was due to the blender not grinding the flour as finely as a grain mill, but the bread was still excellent. My food processor wasn't able to grind the wheat berries into flour.
More important than the sponge consistency is the practice of limiting the rises to 1.5x. The first time I made this bread the second rise went to double, and it wasn't as light as the second time I made it, when I watched the rises more carefully.
The first and second photos are the full recipe, which makes a large sandwich-style loaf. The third photo is a half recipe shaped into a long baguette, which measured 16" x 4 3/8".
By Rose Levy Beranbaum
William Morrow & Co - 1992
I've made this twice now and I think it's destined to become a family tradition. My first time making it I was a little intimidated by the need to filet a turkey breast, but it turns out it's pretty fast and easy. And a heavy rolling pin worked fine to hammer the meat, no special tool required there.
Editing after my third go-round with this recipe: using a separately purchased turkey breast makes this an easier and approachable recipe. I did find it a bit challenging to remove the breast bones from the whole turkey.
For me, the shallots and sage leaves need to be sauteed before adding to the filling, I found them to be too strong and unbalanced when put in raw, as the recipe specifies. I also found it helpful to have the prosciutto and pancetta sliced as thinly as possible to keep from overwhelming the delicate white meat flavor.
The real beauty of this recipe is not only that it allows you to roast the breast meat separately (avoiding overcooking), but that it also allows you to make large quantities of wonderful stock the day before roasting the turkey, so you have it for the best stuffing and gravy you'll ever experience.