Dec 17, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Baking Bible
Working our way west, on our multi-city tour, the first major city was St. Louis. We were invited to give a lecture and book signing at their spectacular JCC Center, the largest in the United States.
When we arrived at the St. Louis airport, we immediately recognized our escorts, as co-sponsors Dave and Michelle Morgenstern were holding up their copy of Rose's Christmas Cookies. Another co-sponsoring couple, Terry and Harvey Heiken, took us to an excellent dinner at the Napoli Italian restaurant. We thought we were going to have to wait for Denver to have the best lamb, but the lamb chops we had at Napoli were some of the best we've ever tasted.
The next day, Woody suggested to the audio team to download Ben Fink's newly produced short video tribute to "The Baking Bible" on a huge screen above our heads. It was the first time we saw it on a big screen and with the highest quality sound level. The audience loved it and so did we!
In the green room, prior to our going on stage, I had the honor of adding my autograph to the guest lecturers' billboard, which included the likes of Theodore Bikel, Gail Sheehy, and many other major celebrities.
Dan Neman, delightful food writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, moderated my lecture on baking and "The Baking Bible" to an audience of over 200 people. It was followed by a Q & A session during which I was delighted to discover how many were either scientists or interested in the scientific aspect of baking.
After the Q & A Woody and I were ushered out to a table where we were set up to sign books.
What makes going on tour so rewarding is meeting people, especially people we know only on the blog. A long-time blogger, Amy, came to have her book signed and to thank Woody for answering many of her blog questions.
After the book signing, Terry Heiken took us for a tour of the JCC facility, which is a model for many other JCCs. We were greatly impressed by its magnitude and the many things it offers to its members. If I lived in St. Louis I would join in a heart beat. What a wonderful place and wonderful community of interesting and lovely people.
Next stop Denver, Colorado.
Dec 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I created "Rose's Perfect Pie Plate" to enable everyone to have beautiful borders for her or his pies effortlessly. All you need to do is press the dough into the deeply fluted edges which are shaped in a way to hold the design and prevent the pie crust from slipping down the sides of the pan.
Not only does the quality of this ceramic produce even browning, it also is a nonstick surface, making it easy to remove the slices of pie. And it looks beautiful on the dining room table.
This past weekend, Woody and I did a book signing at Fante's in Philadephia, one of my top favorite cookware shops in the country. I was delighted to discover that they carry my pie plate at a discounted price of $23. When I asked co-owner and dear friend Mariella Esposito why this was the case her answer was: "I want people to have this pie plate!"
If you order now, you will have the pie plate (they call it a pie dish) in time for holiday baking.
Dec 14, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Baking Bible
Photo Credit: Pastry Girl
Pastry Girl has written such an informative and delightful review of The Baking Bible, complete with great photos of composing the Ischler cookie, that I am sharing the link to her blog, Dessert First for you all to enjoy!
Coincidentally, the Alpha Bakers next bake along is the Ischler and you will be able to see their blog postings tomorrow.
Dec 13, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Out Bakes
How to Make the Thinnest Possible Pastry
This is the beginning of a series related to the newly published The Baking Bible. The intention is to give you extra information and possibilities and some behind the scenes production photos that might be of interest.
When I make a galette, which is essentially a fruit pizza using flaky pie crust, I like to roll it as thinly as possible--about 1/16 inch compared the a pie crust which I roll 1/8 inch or slightly less. I find it has a better balance of crust to fruit. In the recipe for the Peach Galette, however, I gave enough dough and instructions to roll 1/8 inch thick because several of the testers had trouble rolling the dough thinly enough. So here is the technique for how this can be done. It does require a pastry cloth to prevent sticking. Also, for the Peach Galette I like to overlap the dough so that it covers almost the entire fruit, whereas for the Apple Galette I only want a 1-1/2 inch border to display the beauty of the design. Also I use less dough. Instead of using the flaky pie crust with 4 ounces/113 grams of butter I use the one with 3 ounces/85 grams of butter. I omit the baking powder and double the salt as the light layer of apples in the middle would cause it to rise up. If I forget, I just poke it with a wooden skewer to deflate it.
I love the 19-inch pastry board from Bethany Housewares which comes with an elasticized round cloth. I also love my commercial heavy duty rolling pin which I bought many years ago from a commercial supply house. I cover it with knitted sleeve. They often come with pastry cloths but for a really long one, purchase knitted sleeve tubing from a pharmacy, that is designed to cover casts. A long rolling pin is essential and a heavy pin helps to roll out the dough more quickly, keeping it chilled.
Bethany Pastry Board and Cloth Set
An optional but very useful item is a 16-inch flan ring for cutting the dough disc so that it has an even edge but this can also be done by making a cardboard template and using a sharp knife. (Note the Allied Metal link is available only for food service.)
Set an oven rack at the lowest level and set a baking stone on top for a crisp bottom crust. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C at least 40 minutes before baking. If your kitchen is warm, wait to preheat the oven until after rolling the dough and refrigerate the completed galette lightly covered with plastic wrap until ready to bake.
The first step is to rub flour into the pastry cloth and sleeve to prevent sticking. Then evenly roll the dough to a large thin disc. In most places it should be between 17 and 19 inches in diameter so that you can cut an even 16 inch disc.
Use a flan ring or a sharp knife, with a cardboard template as a guide, to cut the disc.
I like to use my 12-inch copper farinata pan from Italy or a heavy dark metal pan from France. To transfer the large piece of dough to the pan, I fold it in quarters to make lifting it easier.
Starting toward the outer edge of the dough, overlap the apples in concentric circles. I use about 4 apples (21.25 ounces/604 grams) and in order the make the center apples curve I either sprinkle them with sugar to let them soften or microwave them for a few seconds.
Sprinkle the apples evenly with most of 1/4 cup/1.7 ounces/50 grams of superfine sugar, saving a little for the dough border.
Gently curve in the border of the dough over the apples, allowing it to pleat.
Spritz the dough border with water and then use the remaining sugar to sprinkle on top for a delightfully crisp crust.
Dot the apples with butter (2 tablespoons/1 ounce/28 grams).
Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until golden brown and the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer.
Allow the tart to cool until warm, and then brush with about 1/4 cup of strained apricot preserves. This offers a lilting flavor and golden glisten.
Best eaten still warm, the day of baking.
Dec 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Baking Bible
While giving the talk with Lucinda Scala Quinn at the 92nd Street Y in New York City last week, my eyes kept going to one person in the audience who seemed to be very enthusiastically taking copious notes. Now I know why! She was fellow blogger Marcia Mermelstein, and here is the link to her detailed blog posting on the event so if you weren't able to come to the event, you will be able to enjoy some of the highlights.
Dec 10, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Baking Bible
We thought it would be interesting and fun to share the many highlights of the book tour--the events, the wonderful people we met along the way, and the fabulous food we ate. This is the first of several postings that will appear most Wednesdays.
The first leg of the tour was to Wellesley College near Boston for the Wellesley Authors on Stage series. We got to stay at the Wellesley College Club Building, reserved for alumni and visiting guest speakers.
For dinner the night before, Woody and I chose one of our favorite restaurant from our visit to the Cambridge Culinary School a few years back. "Cragies on Main" is known for their deliciously prepared hamburgers (made with freshly ground beef and beef marrow, cooked in a combi oven and then grilled. They are not even on the dinner menu, but 18 are reserved on a first to ask for them basis. My cousin, Jed, and his wife, Suprawee, who live in nearby Newton, joined us for an order of four hamburgers and lots of good conversation.
The next day, shortly before the event, I met essayist Daphne Merkin ("The Fame Lunches") and novelist Lin Enger ("The High Divide") who were the fellow authors for the lecture series. We were each asked to present our thoughts on writing our books and the process involved to bring them to the printed page. The event also gave me the opportunity to meet Jane Kelly of Eat Your Books. She and I have been exchanging emails and phone calls since the beginning of the year as the Eat Your Books website indexed all my recipes and writing.
We also seeing Sean Leonard, Director of Recreational Programs at Cambridge Culinary.
My story of "The Baking Bible", which was quite different from the other two authors, as cookbook writing is also technical writing and involves many production steps from testing to style photography to index referencing, not to mention highly essential proof reading to ensure that the recipes work.
My lecture began humorously about my virtually having had no chance what-so-ever to get admitted to Wellesley as an undergrad, but that half a century later I am here as a lecturer to a mostly alumni audience whose classmates I might have been.
A book signing session followed the lecture, with a quick exit and a box lunch to make it on time to our next event in New York City. We were thrilled to discover that fellow lecturer, Daphne, needed a ride to New York and so joined us for the trip. We had so much to say to each other at one point we missed the turn off and had to back track, however we made it to The Whisk exactly five minutes from the start of our event. The Whisk is a great kitchenwares and cookbooks store and a delightfully appropriate and intimate venue for our book launch.
Prior to our trip, Woody made over 200 of one of my favorite cookies from the book, his Pepparkakors. They were served with goat cheese and wine.
Friends, relatives, and several of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's staff came to join us. Our dearest Eunice, who was our culinary student staff helper from the KitchenAid Epicurean Classic over 5 years ago greeted us with hugs.
We were so happy to see so many of the people who made our "Baking Bible" my magnum opus book: editor, Stephanie Fletcher; book designer, Alison Lew; stylist baker, Erin Mc Dowell, and Natalie Chapman (not captured by Woody's camera).
Cookbook writer and longtime cherished friends, Elizabeth Karmel and sister Mary Pat made the book launch extra special.
The evening ended with a short trip to the Neuehouse Artisan Production House to unload our equipment, props, and baked display items for the following morning's event: my Satellite Media Tour sponsored by Davidson's Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs. A special posting of this event, with a videocast link of my appearance via satellite for the San Diego market, is posted here.
Dec 8, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I taped these radio segments with host Naomi Lewin of WQXR in December of 2010. When she invited me to do the show it was because she was familiar with my book
Rose's Christmas Cookies
What she didn't know at the time was that as a little girl I was a toy soldier in George Ballanchine's second production of The Nutcracker Suite at City Center in New York. Doing this show was like a revisit to my past!
It was such a delightful concept, choosing themes from the "sweets" in Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite ballet, talking about the history of the ingredient, recipes, and then the unforgettable music, that I promised myself to post the link to this show every December as a special holiday present to all of you. Enjoy!
PS Naomi generously gave me a present of her home-baked cookies and my favorite, a family heirloom from her grandmother Hanna Gaertner called Dattelkonfekt (Date Confections), The recipe now graces my newest book, The Baking Bible.
PS Naomi just wrote to me that WQXR will be reairing the segments on her show every year. For the recipes check the WQXR website website.
Dec 6, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Scissors are one of the most important tools in a baking and cooking kitchen. For baking, I use scissors to cut parchment, to cut dough when making bread or trimming pie crust, to cut open plastic bags of ingredients, and countless other activities.
For cooking, I use scissors to cut herbs from the garden and to snip them into fine pieces by first setting them in a small glass to contain them. I use scissors to cut through pizza, to snip the ends off string beans, to cut apart raw chicken and roasted chicken, and also for countless other activities.
I set aside a pair of scissors never to be used for paper or plastic so that they maintain their sharp edge for critical ingredient related chores because it is so frustrating to find that scissors have dulled and what could have been an easy task becomes an unpleasant effort. But now I no longer need to worry. I have found a scissors sharpener that is a breeze to use and in under a few minutes per scissors has restored my many pairs of scissors to their original sharpness.
The Edgecraft ScissorsPro can be used for all the scissors in your home. And if you give it as a holiday gift, be sure to put a note on the wrapping paper to "Open This One First."It will make cutting through all the other wapping paper that much easier.
Dec 3, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
There are only a few places left for the upcoming event at the Miele Center in Princeton a week from tomorrow: Wednesday, December 10, 6:30 pm
Woody and I are doing a demo of the Red Velvet Rose from The Baking Bible, giving baking tips, answering questions, telling stories about book production, and the Miele test kitchen staff are preparing several samples from the book.
We also will be signing the books. (The price of the book will be included in the admission fee.) Select Princeton as the location after you click on the link. It promises to be a fun party!
Dec 3, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2014
For the holidays, Hector is offering this special new "Take" on my cake. He says that it's like eating pumpkin chiffon pie.
My cheesecake ebook has recipes for 3 types of cheesecakes, techniques I learned from Rose! These are: sour cream batters, heavy cream batters, and no-bake batters. I like to use a bundt pan for the no-bake cheesecakes. Un mold it like a jello mold, after dipping the pan in hot water for 2 minutes. The cake serving plate should be chilled in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the melting cheesecake runs off "just enough" and sets into irresistible lickable drips.
The recipe is on my ebook. Basically is part pumpkin or other flavor custard cream, part cream cheese, part cream, and part italian meringue. If you don't have my ebook, you can use the instructions on RHC's no-bake cheesecake. The crust for no-bake cheesecakes on a bundt pan is pressed on top of the batter, which when inverted becomes the bottom crust. For my pumpkin take, instead of a cookie crumb crust, I used whole pecans... perfect ocassion to use lots of pecans prior all get exported to China!
canned pure pumpkin: 240 g (about 1 cup)
sugar: 25 g (about 2 tablespoons)
gelatin: 10 g (about 1 tablespoon)
ground ginger: 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon: 1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg: 1/2 teaspoon
salt: 1/2 teaspoon
Stir together all the ingredients. Rest, covered, until the gelatin is hydrated, about 10 minutes. On medium heat, stirring continuously, cook until it starts to darken and thicken, about 10 minutes. Puree with a food processor or immersion blender, until very smooth. Keep lukewarm, covered.
egg whites: 90 g (about 3)
cream of tartar: 3/8 teaspoon
sugar: 175 g (about 14 tablespoons)
water: 45 g (about 3 tablespoons)
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BATTER
cream cheese: 450 g (about 1 lb)
heavy cream: 465 g (about 2 cups