HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Holiday Baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday Baking. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake from Abigail Johnson Dodge in Fine Cooking Magazine

        

I needn’t tell you the Sweets Factory at our house has been in overdrive ever since we arrived here for the holidays.  There have been dozens of cookies, a Red Velvet Cake, even a Norwegian “Fyrstekake” a Cardomon Almond confection, beautifully decorated with star-shaped pastry.  But I would have to say that the piece de resistance so far this season has been a Cheesecake that combined three kinds of chocolate – cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and chocolate graham cracker crust.  It was a cheesecake lovers dream. But Andrew still managed to gild the lily by topping the cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  This cake serves at least 16 people.  It was taken to a dinner party and then brought home and it’s been steadily diminishing in size ever since.   It is the perfect thing to bake for New Year’s Eve because it will actually taste even better tomorrow.  Andrew assures me it is easy to make.  I’ll take his word for it.  And also pass on a couple of hints he wanted to share with you. And here they are. Thanks to Andrew and Abigail Johnson Dodge who shared the recipe in Fine Cooking, one of our go-to sources for great recipes.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Claudia Fleming's Apple Crostata with Bacon Toffee


For such a relatively small corner of the world, the East End of Long Island is long on extremely talented chefs.  Proximity to New York has led many a city chef to, if not abandon the city, set up a second home out in the land of milk and honey.  One of these is the legendary pastry chef, Claudia Fleming.  Ms. Fleming is a Long Island native who originally pursued a career in dance.  To support her passion for it, she took the well-known route of working in restaurants, most particularly Danny Meyer’s immensely popular Union Square Café.  She worked in all parts of the operation but was drawn to pastry.  She took her calling seriously and in 1991 she went to
Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming 
Paris where she worked at Fauchon and perfected her skills.  In 1994, she was called back to New York to open, with Mr Meyer and his partner, Tom Collichio, the Gramercy Tavern.  Her farm to table philosophy was perfectly attuned to theirs. She loves seasonal ingredients and creating intense flavors. She eschews her contemporary’s use of architectural flights of fancy and focuses on honest, forthright desserts you’ll never forget. And this Apple Crostata with its Bacon Toffee topping is all you need to make to know how unforgettable Chef Fleming's pastry really is. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

B'Soffener Kapuziner, an Austrian Family favourite nut-based cake, liberally doused with Gluhwein from the Stracey Family Cookbook


         When I was growing up in Montreal, my family had an endless stream of visitors, most of whom had some connection to my parent’s time in Britain during the Second World War.  They were both volunteers—my father was a Major in the Canadian Army and my mother worked tirelessly at the American Red Cross in London.  One of our visitors was a young man, my godmother’s nephew, who arrived in Montreal to study Engineering at McGill.   He ended moving in with us and became very much a part of our family.  He stayed in Canada after graduation and married a lovely girl from Austria. They had two daughters, and among other things, opened a restaurant called "Le Carafon". After years in Montreal, Simon returned to England and assumed his hereditary title as the baronet Stracey;  He became Sir John and his wife Lady Martha, who is referred to as her ladyship in the following post.  You may remember Lady Martha from last year’s spectacularly successful post on Austrian Cookies.  It has been downloaded over 2000 times.  Here’s the link:  http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/12/three-authentic-austrian-cookie-recipes.html.  This year, Simon promised me another authentic family recipe and he has made good on his offer. Here’s the story of B’Soffener Kapunziner and if it is as good as everything else her ladyship bakes, you should add it to your Christmas repertoire. By the way, you may not know it, but my family always called me Dick.  My first name is, after all, Richard.  “Chimo”, in case you wonder, is a greeting from the Inukitut language, spoken by the Inuits, as Canada's Eskimos are now called. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Butternut Squash and Bacon Bread Pudding



         Last October, when I was out in California visiting my son Alex’s family, I picked up a freebie publication called California Home Design.  In it was an article about a wine making family in Healdsburg who, with the help of local chef, put together one of those classic wine country dinners.  Held in the middle of a vineyard, these parties are wildly photogenic as you can see in this photo from the magazine.  And the menus tend to contain things that this Easterner has never heard of before or at least in combinations that I’ve never even imagined.  California Cuisine, as defined by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael McCarty of Michael’s in Santa Monica, emphasizes freshly prepared local ingredients incorporated into recipes that are often a fusion of cooking styles as diverse as the population of the Golden state itself.  Among the items on the menu at the Healdsburg dinner was a very different take on a Bread Pudding.  In fact, the ingredient list made me wonder whether this was savory or sweet, a dessert or a side dish.   So I set out to make it and to figure out when to serve it once I had.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Baking: Homemade Oreos and Homemade Fig Newtons' from Joanne Chang


The incomparable Joanne Chang
Christmas Baking is as much a part of the holiday as decorating the tree or singing songs of Christmas.  And if you have children, it's great fun to get them into the kitchen and bake a few cookies.  This year, the press has been full of stories of the demise of the Twinkie and the loss of Ho Hos.  To be honest, I was never a fan of either of these brands.  But if you told me Oreo or Fig Newtons were going out of business, I'd be incensed.  However, all of us who love pulling apart an Oreo to get at the frosting or biting into the gooey center of a Fig Newton would have a backup:  A brilliant baker named Joanne Chang has mastered these treats and shared her recipes for them in "Flour", the baking cookbook named after her Boston bakeries. And another brilliant baker, namely Andrew, has baked them for us and shared his tips for making perfect home-made Oreos and Fig Newtons.