Lamingtons

September 9, 2016

in Butter cakes, Chocolate, Coconut, Recipes

lamingtonLamingtons are to Australians what chocolate cupcakes are to Americans. They are squares (or sometimes rounds) of yellow butter cake dipped into a chocolate sauce and coated with unsweetened shredded coconut. I ate what you see above at the Boat House restaurant in Manly, a beautiful beach area in Sydney, Australia. I learned how to make Lamingtons years ago from Elizabeth Germaine, a cooking teacher from Melbourne, while working on my cookbook, A Baker’s Odyssey. Elizabeth says, “They’re so simple, yet sophisticated in their own way, and so much fun to eat.” And I completely agree. Elizabeth now makes Lamingtons regularly in the United States. The success of a Lamington largely depends on the quality of the cake. It must be a firm-textured butter cake with a fine crumb, which is exactly what you’ll get with the recipe below. For best results it must be made a day ahead. […Read More]

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galetteportion.1Now that we’re getting near the end of the apricot season, it’s time  to bake a galette. So what’s a galette?  A flat, thin, free-form rustic French tart. If you’ve never heard of one before or you have but haven’t had the chance to bake one, you’re in for a real treat. The hallmarks of a galette are a crisp and flaky pastry supporting a thin layer of perfectly cooked fresh fruit. Besides apricots, you can make great galettes with peaches, nectarines, plums, apples and other in-season fruits. I don’t use white peaches because they’re too sweet and too juicy. So let’s begin. […Read More]

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Zaletti1My friend and colleague, Julia della Croce, sent me this recipe for Zaletti to see if I liked them. The cookies, made with fine cornmeal, flour, eggs, a bit of alcohol, and dried fruits, are a specialty of Venice. And I can tell you that I became a fan of them instantly. Crunchy and chewy at the same time, they are great for nibbling, dunking into coffee, tea, or even a fruit purée. And boy do they keep well. I’ve had a batch sitting in a covered container on a kitchen counter for a couple of weeks and they taste just as good as freshly baked. […Read More]

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sourcherries1Sour cherry season, if you can even call it that, is like a whisper–soft and fleeting. The ripe, tart, bright red rubies must be picked and used right away. So don’t dawdle. To my delight, I found them at my farmers market a day ago, packed a generous 2 pounds to a bag, the perfect amount for a pie. I had to make a decision on the spot. Would I make a pie when I got home or would I pit and freeze the cherries to recreate a slice of summer in the winter? No time like the present, I decided, so a pie it’d be. […Read More]

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Brownies2That’s me about to bite into a fudgy chocolate toffee brownie. I’ve worked on this recipe on and off for a long time and I’m finally happy with it. I wanted a strong chocolate flavor in a chewy, moist brownie. When refrigerated, the brownies are definitely chewy. If you prefer a moist brownie without the chewiness, serve them at room temperature. The toffee pieces (broken up Heath bars), add just a tiny bit of crunch. I don’t add nuts to this recipe because I find them intrusive. They actually interfere with the brownies’ texture. […Read More]

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OliveOilCake2One of my favorite recipes using extra-virgin Italian olive oil is this citrus olive oil cake that I adapted from a recipe by Anne Quatrano in Food & Wine Magazine. I have always made this cake with a Ligurian olive oil, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I went to the market and found a bottle of Lucini premium select extra virgin olive oil, made from hand-picked olives in central Italy. Lucini is a brand I was familiar with but I stopped buying it because it was bottled in clear glass. Now it’s bottled in dark glass and you can buy an organic version, too. The oil is delightfully fruity. […Read More]

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