There are a few desserts that are ubiquitous for Passover. Coconut macaroons, “fruit slices” and caramel covered matzo are my favorites. All of them can be found wrapped tight in the “kosher” section of the grocery stores, usually sealed to sit there for months, if not years. When you peel the plastic off you are left with overly sweet, dense and utterly flavorless versions of these wonderful treats. So I make my own! None of them are particularly complicated and after making them yourself you will be forever ruined to the Manischewitz versions.Read More
There are very few things that say comfort food like a chicken pot pie. I go for the classic combination with chicken, peas, carrots and a parsnip for flare, in a rich creamy white sauce that is made with fresh thyme and parsley. The whole thing is draped in a crust of homemade puff pastry. It is this last detail that transforms this bastion of Americana into something utterly sublime. The mille feuilles (thousand leaves) of pastry are baked as a golden brown crown that adds the flaky contrast to the creamy stew below. Seriously folks, it got me mother of the year status in my house! 😉
Puff pastry is the ultimate dough in any home or professional kitchen. One that is not at all difficult to make, but it requires some of your time and a bit of your patience. The store bought version may be convenient but it will leave you feeling lackluster, while the homemade dough will make you weep. In order to get the flaky puff that gives this dough its name, you must diligently “laminate” layers of dough with layers of butter, about one thousand in all. It is the butter that create steam as the dough bakes, which causes all the layers to separate into a flaky crust. Once you work with and taste the pastry you will understand why it is worth every moment that goes into its preparation. I make a batch that will easily prepare pot pie for dinner, a napoleon for dessert and flaky caramelized palmier to dip into my morning coffee. Or, the dough can be frozen for a month.
Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.
Happy Birthday Charlie! You are the best sous chef a mom could ever ask for!
Not to be outdone by his brother’s Valentine’s dessert, Charlie designed these little cakes for his 8th birthday. Complete with layers of different chocolate mousse, a drizzle of caramel and topped with cream and berries. He instructed me to put strips of cake around the outside to hold it all in. Voila, he had built a chocolate charlotte in his mind! The kid is a genius! (in my humble, unbiased opinion ;))
Charlie has helped me in the kitchen ever since he could drag a stool over to the counter. He cracks eggs like pro, knows how to use a kitchen scale and is going to have better knife skills than I do someday soon. He already makes his own crepes, aebleskivers and bread, of course! He has passion in the kitchen and that special touch it takes to be a great chef! And a proud mom!Read More
Last weekend I partnered with Cooks of Crocus Hill and Kare11 news to promote the Go Red For Woman Campaign. A wonderful organization committed to wiping out heart disease. I know it seems an odd message from a pastry chef, but actually I practice what I preach. I may not always bake or eat low fat meals, but I keep my portions to a reasonable size. And, as some of you know I’ve been dragging myself to kettlebell class. (Yes, despite the complaining I am getting stronger!)
I will never eliminate butter from my diet, but it isn’t always a necessity in making an outstanding dessert. This poppy seed angel food cake is 100% fat free. Not only that, it is full of egg whites which have lots of protein. I paired the cakes with Açai sorbet and a berry soup, both high in antioxidants and other vitamins. Seriously, this is nearly health food. Okay, I know there is still sugar and cake flour. I baked them in muffin tins so a single recipe makes up to 36 servings. Absolutely delicious and gorgeous, you’ll never miss the fat and you’ll be satisfied. If you are on a heart healthy diet you should not be made to suffer, nor should you give up dessert. For other Heart Healthy Desserts check out my Chocolate Poached Pears, English Breakfast Angel Food, Saffron Scented Pannacotta, Chocolate Biscotti and I’ll continue to come up with others. Read More
Earlier this month I went on a mom only junket with my friend Jen. We went to Vegas! Our trip there was for the food and not all of the other more “sinful” elements it is known for. We stayed at the ultra *fabulous* Wynn hotel, which has some of the best restaurants in town. Just like the knock-our-socks-off meal we had at Joel Robuchon the restaurant scene there is very luxurious and expensive. When many of my chef friends recommended a casual Thai restaurant off of the strip, I was eager to try it.
Seriously folks Lotus of Siam is the best Thai food, and perhaps the best FOOD, I’ve ever eaten. It is very casual and lacking in pretension, which is such a breath of fresh air in Vegas. It has been favorably reviewed by countless food magazines and critics. The reviewer from Chow said “Don’t skip dessert, or you’ll regret it deeply!” Well folks, I have to admit I gorged myself to the point of not being able to eat dessert the night we went. It is a decision that I will regret until I am able to go back! Me of all people skipping dessert, it is shameful! The restaurant is famous for their Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut cream. I have been obsessed with Thai food and creating this dessert since my return. Here is my version. It is really wonderful and I so look forward to having it at Lotus of Siam next time I’m there. Read More
For the Oscars I thought it would be fun to do a dessert with some bling! There’s nothing like adding gold leaf to a decadent chocolate caramel tart to make it worthy of a black tie affair. I was cozied up in my pajamas with a room full of my girlfriends, but despite our lack of proper attire we sipped champagne and ate gold leaf.
I had lofty aspirations of seeing all of the nominated films, but alas life got in the way and I only saw a couple of them. The film getting all the buzz this year is Slumdog Millionaire, and it is one that I saw. I must say I loved it! The movie, set in India, was complicated, gritty, suspenseful, endearing and touching. All of the qualities that a great movie should have. This movie, along with the newest addition to my cookbook collection La Maison du Chocolat*, was the inspiration for this chocolate tart with chai caramel. I started with the classic combination of chocolate and caramel, but I added the spices of India to the mix.
Cheers and may your favorite film win!Read More