A couple of days ago I had the great honor of hosting Tricia Cornell and Robb Long from the Southwest Journal for lunch. They were here to do an interview for an article they are putting together about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Jeff and I baked them rye bread, peasant bread, pizza, pan d’epi, panettone and sticky pecan caramel rolls. While those breads were baking we made naan and beignets on the stove top and tossed together a cold Indian cucumber soup and a Middle Eastern bread salad called Fattoush, made with home made pita. All of these recipes are from the book. Suffice it to say we were all stuffed and happy by the time they left! We look forward to reading the upcoming article and seeing the wonderful pictures Robb took between bites of his chocolate filled beignet.
I recently got an email from my friend Doris who wrote about her Peach pie woes. The experience of making it had been anything but “easy as pie.” It got me thinking about pie and how that old adage came to pass? Really, for whom is pie all that easy to make? Most people give up at the crust, it is hardly ever as tender or flaky as those you can buy at the bakery, and the fillings are always too runny or too bound up with starch.
I want to demystify pie making for Doris and anyone else who has fond memories of homemade pies but haven’t found a recipe that satisfies. First let’s talk about the dough. In the end it isn’t the recipes that will make or break the pie, so much as the technique used in dealing with the ingredients. I’m going to make a pie with you and show step by step how to deal with the rather simple list of ingredients: Butter, lard (or vegetable shortening), flour, ice water and a touch of baking powder to insure you don’t have a leaden crust. Read More
One of my first adventures in cooking was when I was 8 with my friend Sasha. We lived together on a commune in central Vermont. Despite the fact that there were dozens of adults living with us we were given freedom to roam, often unsupervised. This laissez-faire attitude allowed us the luxury to bake with wild abandon and make up recipes using just about everything we could find and reach. The fact that we were both 8 years old meant everything we made had to be sweet. This is where my love of “pastry” was born.
Here is my favorite apple cake adapted from a recipe my friend Laura gave me, she got it from a friend who in turn got it from a friend. That is how the best recipes are, shared and made personal with little changes. Enjoy this cake and please let me know if you have made some fabulous change I should know about! Read More