My friend Nancy said her husband had just returned from Germany and brought home with him the memory of a cake and would I happen to have a recipe for this delectable remembrance? This, to my mind, is proof of a successful trip, with cake in your heart.
I was tickled when she told me the name of the cake: Windbeuteltorte. Literally translated: Windbag cake. You see, the word for cream puff in German, Windbeutel, means windbag. And yes, they also use the word t
Yesterday was Patriot's Day, when thousands of brave folk run the Boston Marathon. Did I run? No. Did I bake Boston Cream Pies? Yes!
Good thing I wasn't signed up for the race because the thing I've been longing for for years, the thing I'd finally received as a birthday gift in March (in part, a gift to myself after saving my ducets and one from my beloveds) had arrived in Vermont.
My Ilve range was sitting in a crate on a giant rig, waiting for me to
Every morning at 4am, I had the distinct pleasure of pouring a quart of grade B maple syrup onto a sheet pan studded with walnuts and healthy knobs of butter. I consider it a point of pride that I didn't take a spoon to the stuff and just call it a very early morning. I'm a martyr to pastry.
I put my profound longing aside and I'd gingerly place spirals of soft, sweet dough filled with ground nuts and sweetness on top of all that goodness. I'd bake off the whole, d
It's here! As of yesterday, my newest book Let Them Eat Cake is out in the world.
I wrote this book with EVERYONE in mind. I wanted to provide a resource for bakers who are often hamstrung when confronted by the need to modify recipes for dietary restrictions. At my shop, I was asked daily if I could make my chocolate cake gluten free or my muffins healthier or my pies with pastry cream vegan. I found the task a wonderful challenge.
My Tante Christel kept packages of sweet tart shells stocked in her kitchen when I was a kid. Tucked in the cupboard for safe keeping, she would grab a few to top with cream and fresh fruit for Kaffee und Kuchen in the late afternoon. That is, she'd grab them if she could find any. I had a nasty habit of pilfering anything vaguely sweet and leaving very little evidence of their existence behind.
The texture of the pastries, part crispy shortbread/part tender lady
With Valentine's Day hot on our heels, I've put together a list of my top 10 favorite treats from the blog for your sweetheart!
#1 A SLICE OF LOVE
#2 PUFFY HEART
#3 LOVE IS PATIENT
#4 STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM DONUTS
#5 THE LOVERS AND DREAMERS CAKE
#6 MCLOVIN' MUFFINS
#7 EASY LOVE ECLAIRS
#8 DEEP FRIED LOVE
#9 LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH APRICOT TART
#10 RED VELVET PIECE OF MY HEART C
I've dreamt of this recipe, of the textures and the taste. It's a recipe that I've been rearranging in my head, the ratios and ingredients shifting and merging to spawn what I imagine is my perfect donut experience.
That I have a soft spot for donuts is not a secret. That I make great donuts is well known. But I've been hankering for a fried gustatorial experience that hasn't yet crossed paths with my fryer or my tastebuds.
So this culinary conundrum has pest
The question I'm asked most often as a pastry chef: "What's your favorite thing to bake?" I hem and haw at the question, not wanting to choose a favorite in front of the other pastries because they're awfully sensitive. My diplomatic response on these occasions: "It depends on the season."
But the honest truth is I do have a favorite. My most treasured recipe, recipes actually, are for laminated doughs. This qualifies as a favo
At my pastry shop, I'd roll out new pastries often. One of my first offerings was a decadent, fudgy chocolate layer cake slathered in caramel buttercream. We hadn't had the cake in the case more than 2 seconds when a customer remarked, "That's as beautiful and perky as one of Jackie O's pillbox hats."
So it came to be that one of our most popular cakes was named the "Jackie-OH!" It's elegant and understated with gorgeous hidden depths. &n
Years ago, I created a cake called the "Because You're Mine Cake." It ended up gracing the cover of my 2013 book Bake It Like You Mean It. A few years before that, I put the first version of the on this blog after having worked on the recipe and design ideas since having my pastry shop.
Every iteration of this cake, from its first inception 10 years ago, has been dark chocolate vertical cake stripes against white icing. It's dramatic. It's deliciou
A few years ago, I was introduced to the work of pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki. I visited his shop in Paris. I left enamored by the beauty and precision of his work. His treats were delicious but it was his delightful interplay of geometry and deliciousness that stayed with me.
The tastes and textures of this tart are fully informed by my love of the glorious American combination of peanuts, caramel and chocolate...with just a dash of flaky, sweet and buttery goodness
I'm repainting my bakery. The color that's calling me is a soft green a la Ladurée. While searching for just the right shade, flipping through color swatches and comparing them to the little green box carted from Paris, Ruthie lay on the sofa, staring off in the distance wondering when I'd start baking again.
At one point, the light hit her just so and suddenly that perfect shade of green no longer mattered. All I could think about was caramel.
We've got a little less than 1 cup left of last year's homemade maple syrup. At this time yesterday, we had a little over 2 cups. If my sweet calculations are correct, we'll have just enough to tide us over until sugaring season comes around. If not, I'm in big trouble because we've already eaten the delicious proceeds from that missing cup of maple.
I opened the bottle, eyeballed the pour into my copper candy pan, and put heat to our fancy amber. At 250º
Meringue. Chocolate laced Chantilly cream. Shaved chocolate. Those simple elements come together in a magical fusion to create merveilleux, a confection that has held France in thrall for years. I have a feeling that we won't have to wait long to see this pastry take hold of American imaginations and pie holes. In fact, if my pastry fairies are right, the Mac Daddy of merveilleux purveyors, Aux Merveilleux de Fred, is scheduled to open shop in NYC any moment now. &n
I had one cup of coffee too many this morning. It's a shame since that means I should reign in my afternoon coffee consumption. This would put a damper on 3pm Kaffee und Kuchen. I've made a Linzertorte, one of my mother's favorites, but I've put a little French pastry spin on it. She'd have appreciated the hybrid, with it's delicate hazelnut meringue layers and rich German Johannisbeere (currant) buttercream filling.
According to the weather report, the thermometer is supposed to drop to well below 0 this week. There are harrowing tales of towns a bit farther north from here that might see -40...or worse.
My job on such frigid occasions is to make sure our pipes don't freeze and that our farm animals have enough heat in their homes that they may snuggle up at night with little fear of turning into ice sculptures. We've even set up a heated cat house for our feral cat, Abner, who's be
I started making hot cocoa from homemade chocolate truffles years ago. At our shop, while playing with cocoa recipes, I dug into a vat of freshly made chocolate ganache, from whence truffles are made. I whirled a heaping tablespoon into steaming milk. Goodness gracious, that was a sublime mug of cocoa.
Since then, I've created a failsafe method for making the perfect cup of cocoa: I evenly divide the ganache among silicone ice cube trays that measure an inch
We're at that portion of our holiday program where we let go of any pretense that we're holding steady on the scale and all dietary hell breaks loose.
That's where cheesecake comes in. Up until now it's been a stray cookie or a nibble of candy but there's a weak plank in your wobbly bridge of restraint. Some small part of your discipline is ready to dislodge. Any and all food stuffs are welcome to take a trip down your gullet and as long as you're in this sublime
I like sugar cookies well enough. What I don't like is a sugar cookie that's gloriously embellished, the kind that draws exclamations like, "That's just too pretty to eat!" but has all the flavor of sweetened drywall.
So let's add some flavor to the party, shall we? How about browning that butter so our cookie has a nutty, deep caramel flavor? And let's switch up that sugar to dark brown and bring a little butterscotch yumminess to our cookie soiree. Up th
Winter isn't coming. It's here. No matter that the official start date isn't for a few more days, a foot of snow is a fine indicator that the coldest months have arrived.
Next to laminated doughs, macaron are my favorite pastry to bake. They are elegant and scrumptious. Looking at the ingredient list, they present themselves as the simplest of comestibles to produce yet they contain an inner culinary mischief that delights in discombobulating earnest bakers by pucke
I am equally caramel and marshmallow obsessed. After a 17 hour baking day, I've been known to whip up a batch of caramel, park in front of the t.v. and gnaw on the chewy stuff until my jaw hurts or I fall asleep, whichever comes first.
And marshmallow? Forget it. I'm lost in the face of a pan of homemade sugar pillows.
I even dream of caramel/marshmallow mash-ups. Shall I inject the marshmallow into the caramel? Should I hide the caramel in an oth
On the morning of December 13th, I arrived at my pastry shop to find a lantern sitting upon the front stoop. The candle inside was bright enough to light the dark path leading to the front door. A note attached wished me a Happy St. Lucia Day.
Who, at 4 am, would leave such a lovely message on the darkest of days?
Larry, of course.
Our favorite customer (we had loads of favorite customers but Larry managed to shine bright) had a habit of leavi