Hallelujah! “Baking In America” has a new life as a Kindle book. I am thrilled to see it in its new form with all the photos by Anna Williams placed with the appropriate recipes and a new author photo by Kelly Gorham. That’s me stretching strudel dough.
In “Baking in America,” I tell the story of America’s history through baking. And what a rollicking history it is! If you can imagine baking in a brick oven by heating it up with firewood, waiting a couple of hours until it got hot enough to bake bread, sweeping out the coals and ashes before putting in your bread pans, you have an idea of what baking was like in eighteenth century colonial America. Baking in a brick oven had a definite protocol: Bread first, because it required the most heat, followed by pies, cakes, and then cookies, as the temperature of the oven decreased over time. No, you couldn’t adjust the thermostat because there wasn’t one. […Read More]
My Jewish Iraqi Granny made crunchy bread-stick-like treats shaped into rings that I devoured every day when I came home from school in Shanghai. The Arabic word for these crunchy munchies is kahk. The dough may be plain or flavored with different seeds such as fennel, caraway, or black caraway (nigella). Granny always sprinkled the tops of her rings (also called savory bracelets) with sesame seeds.
When I was in Italy a few months ago, a guest journalist of the Italian Trade Commission attending a food expo that was part of the Mostra Internazionale dell’Artigianto in Florence, I ate a few taralli and thought they tasted a lot like Granny’s kahk. But the they were more oval in shape and their ends ovelapped and didn’t join to form a ring. Were the two related, I wondered? […Read More]
Duncan McDermott Graham (Kate’s son), Kate McDermott, and Robin Jacobs, the three musketeers of The Art of the Pie workshop.
It’s rare that I get to take classes from a professional baker because I’m the one who usually gives the classes. All that changed recently when my wife, Dorothy, and I, were invited to attend a baking weekend called Upper Crust at Paws Up, a world-class resort just an hour away from our home in Montana. Full disclosure: My wife and I were comped for this extraordinary weekend.
Two gifted teachers, Kate McDermott, who is renowned for her gorgeous pies, and Mindy Segal, a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef from Chicago, conducted hands-on workshops.
I attended Kate’s workshop first, where we each made our very own apple pies, including a terrific butter and lard pastry. […Read More]
Well, it’s been quite a while since I made my last post, and for that I apologize. But last week I was thrilled to find Italian prunes at our farmers’ market, and I thought I’d repost my recipe for baking them in a galette. I’d always called these succulent fall fruits Italian Prune Plums. But I now have learned, thanks to my friend, John Keegan, that I have been wrong. Here’s what he wrote when I made my original post on October 14, 2013. […Read More]
This is a special pie I first learned about when I was in the Tenth Pillsbury Bake-Off as a teenage contestant. Mary Police, who won a cash prize for the pie, was sitting with me and four other contestants at a table at the awards luncheon in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It turned out that all six of us had won awards for our entries, which caused quite a stir. Ronald Reagan (yes, our future president) hosted our group and Art Linkletter presented us with the checks. But back to the pie. […Read More]
One of the best things about living in Missoula, Montana, is our public radio station, KUFM. Once a year there’s a fund-raiser that lasts 9 days and it is a rip-roaring event that involves the entire community. This year I decided to offer a premium, a soufflé class for four people, to celebrate the publication of my new cookbook, “Soufflés.” Each participant was to bring her own mixing bowl, whisk, and a dozen organic eggs. And during the course of a few hours in my kitchen we’d work together to learn soufflé techniques and produce two soufflés: A Spinach and Cheese Soufflé for lunch and individual Chocolate Soufflés for dessert. […Read More]