Peach season is at its peak where I live, so make sure to bake this scrumptious torte now. About thirty years ago I made a recipe for Plum Torte, a New York Times classic that became that paper’s most popular recipe ever. I’ve baked it every year since. This year, thanks to fantastic local peaches grown by Tom and Lynn McCamant at their Forbidden Fruit Orchards, a friend suggested I try making a peach torte. Because peaches are such a juicy fruit, I knew I couldn’t simply use them as is. […Read More]
There are many ways to a southern biscuit, but not so many to a great one. And by great I mean light, fluffy, flaky, tender on the inside and crusty on the outside. Several years ago, Scott Peacock’s recipe in The New York Times caught my eye, and it has taken me all that time to finally getting around to baking a batch. Scott learned the recipe from Edna Lewis, and she included lard, the traditional southern cooking fat, in biscuits. Are you cringing at the thought of lard? Don’t. You can order excellent lard rendered from pastured pigs. It’s great in pie crusts, too! But is lard healthy? […Read More]
Just today I received the following email from a reader: “Dear Mr. Patent, I love your Baking in America book and have used and enjoyed many of its recipes. Yesterday I made the blueberry scone recipe, and I have to ask: does this recipe have an error in buttermilk quantity? The dough turned out like a batter, and when compared to other scone recipes, it seems to have at least double the liquid. I checked and double-checked my work, and I know I followed the recipe, but the dough was all wrong and the “scones” were like pancakes. Is this an error in the recipe or did I miss something? Many thanks and thanks for such a great book.” […Read More]
Gateau Basque is one of the most famous desserts from French Basque country. And with good reason. A tender, sweet, cookie-like dough encloses a thick pastry cream flavored with vanilla and orange zest. A special cherry jam is often spread over the pastry cream before the top crust goes on. It is exquisite. I learned how to make Gateau Basque from Bernadette Irribarren, a native of the area, who has been baking the cake regularly for decades. At the time I was collecting recipes from immigrant bakers for my cookbook, “A Baker’s Odyssey.” Bernadette invited me to her home so that I could learn first-hand how she makes this special dessert. […Read More]
Pastiera, the classic Neapolitan ricotta cheese pie enriched with cooked wheat berries, sugar, and eggs, is one of the tastiest desserts I’ve ever eaten. I first enjoyed Pastiera when we were living in Naples, Italy. I had a fellowship at the time to study at the Stazione Zoologica, and at a luncheon a few days before Easter, one of my colleagues brought a Pastiera for dessert. It was huge, about 18 inches in diameter and almost 2 inches thick, with a luscious creamy texture. I tasted hints of cinnamon, lemon, vanilla and orange.
Of course, I asked for the recipe, and the following week my baker friend placed it in my hands. That particular Pastiera called for a dozen egg yolks in the dough and 18 egg yolks in the filling. The recipe here is scaled down considerably. […Read More]