Sweets & Sips 2nd Annual Event at Gramercy Tavern

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Miro Uskokovic, the much loved by all executive pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern, once again gave our baking community of pastry and food writing individuals a wonderful afternoon to connect and share our love of pastry and people.

As we walked into the special events room, where we had enjoyed judging Gramercy’s Thanksgiving employee pie contest just a few months ago, we were greeted by Miro and glasses of excellent Billecart Salmon champagne and tables of crafted pastry creations by this year’s talented pastry chefs.
We all indulged in pastries byThea Habjanic from La Sirena Restorate, Justine MacNeil from the Del Posto,  Laura Martelli and Matthew Rosenzweig from The Flaky Tart, and Dan Alva from Union Square Café.

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Our favorite indulgence was The Flaky Tart’s Lemon Meringue tartlets, several of which made their way home with usSavory appetizers were served as well.
One in particular was this mini hotdog. Miro adapted the bun from a recipe which I shared with him some months ago from our upcoming book!

This year topped last year’s event with many new guests, including friends of mine I rarely get to see, which gave us a great chance to catch up with each other. Emily Luchetti happened to be visiting from the west coast and Tyler Atwel is back in New York full time at Lafayette Grand Café.

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We were delighted to take home a piece of Mile High Peanut Butter Pie-- last year’s Thanksgiving Pie Contest winning pie, which is currently listed right at the top on Gramercy Tavern’s dessert menu. 

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Some more photos: 

There's A New Tab On The Website: INGREDIENTS !

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For the first time, my website / blog realbakingwithrose.com, has a dedicated page for products I recommend and consider to be essential for the baking. Our headnote states it all: Top quality ingredients make all the difference in a baked product. Our new page will give you information for ingredients from my years of researching and testing for developing recipes. We have also listed manufacturers and products that we use on a regular basis that have been consistent in quality and availability. 

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The Chocolate Mousse of My Dreams

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I will always remember the first time I tasted mousse au chocolat. I remember that it was in France. I remember that I had lunch on my own and the direction I was facing in the restaurant was toward the front windows. But I don’t remember either where in France it was or the name of the restaurant. All I remember is that it was the best chocolate I had ever tasted and that I was so spellbound I had to ask the waitress for the secret to its flavor. Her answer: Madame c’est le chocolat!

It seems obvious now, but in those days in the USA people used “baking” chocolate and not fine eating chocolate for desserts. So on my return home, I went to the lower east side to Essex Street Candy and purchased the best chocolate I knew of which was Lindt. The owner asked me what I was planning to use it for and when I said baking, he firmly informed me that it was “eating” chocolate. But you eat what you bake was my reply. Coincidentally, David Liederman had just put his chocolate chip cookies on the culinary map, in New York City, using the exact same chocolate cut into small pieces instead of chips. There was no going back.

Recently I had a sudden craving for chocolate mousse and a desire to create the best one to suit my current taste and texture preferences. My goal was a mousse that would be silky-creamy and slightly airy, chocolaty but not overly intense and more on the bittersweet than milk chocolate spectrum. Valrhona le Noir Gastronomie (aka bittersweet) 61% cacao was my chocolate of choice, and of course there is always egg yolk and a little sugar to balance what would be either butter or heavy cream or sometimes both. My favorite chocolate mousse for years was one I created for Poulain chocolate, which used only heavy cream and optional Kahlua or Cognac but it was high in egg white and I now found it too airy. Julia’s classic version uses both butter and heavy cream, and liqueur.

Both coffee and liqueur heighten the taste of chocolate, but this time I wanted only the pure taste of the best chocolate and maybe a touch of vanilla. I was undecided about the butter. I wanted the mousse to be fairly light and—well—moussey, and from my years of baking experience I’ve found that the more an ingredient is processed the more the flavor changes (i.e. butter starts off as cream and cream has a floral quality mostly lost in butter). I decided to consult my two favorite chocolate friends: Zach Townsend, chocolatier in Texas, and Lisa Yockelson (author of Chocolate Chocolate). They both, eloquently and precisely, put into words exactly what I was perceiving.

Zach: With butter it's more pudding-ish. I like creamy and airy.

Lisa: If you want an intense chocolate dessert, prepare a pot de crème or a pan of brownies. I agree with you that the most luxurious chocolate mousse is enriched with whipped heavy cream, and that butter seems to make the finished sweet too dense and a bit slick. As well, butter does not convey the same luscious dairy quality to the mixture and, if you use a high-quality bittersweet chocolate, the cacao flavor will not be diluted when using cream

So I chose  a higher than usual proportion of cream to chocolate and a larger than usual amount of egg yolks. Heating the yolks with the chocolate and cream and then straining the mixture before folding in the stiffly beaten egg whites (see Notes), produced the silky texture of my dreams.

Prep Ahead: Make the mousse 1 day up to 3 days before serving.

Equipment: 6 half ramekins (2/3 cup/158 ml capacity)

 Makes: about 3.25 cups/775 ml/6 servings

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Mise en Place

* Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the one egg white in a mixing bowl. Lightly whisk the yolks and leave the whisk in place.

* Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set it in a small saucepan.

Have a fine strainer ready near the range, suspended over a medium mixing bowl.

1) Add the cream to the chocolate, and heat on low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is hot (about 120˚F/49˚C).

2) Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks. Then add the yolk mixture back into the chocolate mixture in the pan, stirring constantly.

3) Continue stirring on very low heat, just until it starts to thicken. An instant-read thermometer should register  160˚F/82˚C.

4) Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into the strainer, scraping up the thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Press it through the strainer and scrape any mixture from the bottom of the strainer. Stir in the vanilla.

5) Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming. Set the bowl on a rack and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature (about 1-1/2 hours).

6) In a medium bowl, beat the egg white and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the sugar until glossy curved peaks form when the beater is raised. Use a whisk to fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Finish with a large silicone spatula, reaching to the bottom of the bowl. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins.

7) Cover each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap, stretching it across to keep it from touching the smooth surface of the mousse. Refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours up to 3 days.

Notes:

Sugar is a personal taste and more can be added if you prefer less bittersweet.

Using the proper amount of cream of tartar makes it possible to beat the egg white to stiff consistency without breaking them down.

For the immune impaired, the very young, or the very old, I recommend using pasteurized eggs such as Safest Choice. You will need to use double the cream of tartar and beat longer for the egg white but they produce an extra stable meringue.

If your cooktop does not have a very low heat setting, it's best to use a double boiler.

To make Pot de Crème, which is a more intense and denser chocolate dessert, omit the egg white (and cream of tartar) and use only 2-1/2 to 3 egg yolks (45 grams).

 

Baking Basics Production Phase 9: Editor’s Queries and Copy Editing

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Oh joy of joys! This is when we cross our fingers to see what our editor Stephanie and copy editor Suzanne think should be revised from our proofed and reproofed Rose’s Baking Basics manuscript. In the past, prior to the advent of electronic editing, this took weeks of exchanged handwritten notes, mailings, and phone sessions.

 

With The Baking Bible, we had our first experience with electronic editing. ‘Track changes,’ enables the editor and copy editor to type in their comments and suggested revisions on the right sidebar of a computer generated manuscript.

 

In copy editing, one is always surprised by how many “how did I miss that” or “that was on our style sheet and we didn’t follow it”! We knew that for The Baking Bible we would have many such surprises, because we were weaving a common writing style from the four different ways in which I had written over the past thirty-years. But we were not expecting this new manuscript to have as many revisions, because we have established a consistent style and also there were fewer pages of text. This is because many pages will have step-by-step photographs and captions in place of much longer text.

 

Suzanne had several formatting ideas, some of which we welcomed, in addition to her meticulously identifying some inconsistencies between similar texts throughout the manuscript.

 

My preference was to tackle the copy editing with back-to-back days for continuity. So Woody and I spent several 12 hour-long days that seemed like bushwhacking our way through the revisions and comments, with our agreeing, or stating why we preferred our original text.

 

A bright spot came towards the end when Stephanie emailed us our book designer Alison’s sample pages. We scrolled up and down our screens to view 30 simply beautiful pages. A few days later we received the actual two page sample spreads.

 

Amazingly, our submitted responses this time around did not need a wave of back and forth emails and phone calls with our editor. Only a few queries remained to address.

 

Next phase will be the complete ‘laid out pages’ for us to review. This is when the manuscript begins to become a real book.

In Memorium, Chef Paul Bocuse

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I don’t know why I was sort of expecting him to live forever because who does. But his legacy will certainly live on.

I have several sweet stories of Paul Bocuse--one that even took place in Germany, on a wine trip, when we were having dinner at the restaurant of one of his best friends. I was given the privilege of visiting the men’s room when it was empty to view a huge photo over the urinals of Bocuse and the restaurateur, as young men, christening a shiny black locomotive with gleeful smiles on their faces, turned sideways to the camera. I will leave it to your imagination exactly what they were using and it wasn’t champagne. 

I have had the great fortune of eating chez Bocuse twice—the first time with a group of engineers from Proctor and Gamble, whom I was escorting on a chocolate trip through the Rhone valley and Paris. But the most memorable story took place after I was after I was visiting the Daguin’s in Auch, Gascony with my brother Michael.

We were planning to continue on to Lyon for a special reason. Bocuse’s daughter is the wife of Jean-Jacques Bernachon, whose book La Passion du Chocolate I had just translated. I thought it would be fun to visit the Bernachons and read to them in French my English introduction to the book that was a few months away from publication. So it seemed like it would be a perfect celebration to have dinner chez Bocuse with my brother.

There was a huge storm in Gascony and our plane was delayed by several hours. I had made a reservation at Bocuse and was anxious to call and tell them we’d be several hours late. I was one of the first in a long line for the one public (and I mean public) phone, but I had to call information to get the number. To my amazement, the operator had trouble finding it and what's more had never heard of Paul Bocuse!

The people behind me in line were getting unruly and impatient, and the business man directly behind me asked me to hand over the phone. At first I refused (I am a New Yorker after all) but he explained that he would speak to the information operator in my behalf. And to my delight he soundly berated her for being French, living in Lyon, and here I was, an American, who knew about one of the greatest chefs in all of France of which she was toute à fait ignorant. He got the number and we got our reservation moved up a couple of hours.

Chef Bocuse made a lasting contribution to the culinary world. You can read about the many aspects of it all over the internet, but only here can you read this story.

A Fantastic Glaze for the Gâteau à l’Orange

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When you store things, always label, always label, always label!!!

I found a mystery jar in the fridge of what appeared to be caramel. It also smelled like caramel and even tasted like caramel but with something wonderfully extra that I couldn’t define. Cursing myself for once again not bothering to label the jar, thinking there was no way I wouldn’t forget what it was, and having proven myself wrong yet again, I was determined to figure it out. For one thing, how could caramel have stayed fluid and un-crystallized for so many months? I needed to know.

I had made the Gâteau à l’Orange the day before and something told me that not only would the ‘caramel’ not overwhelm the orange flavor, it might even enhance it. I drizzled some of the glaze on top of a slice and a marvelous synergy took place. Not only is the sauce slightly orange in color, its texture and flavor are perfect with the cake.

I started going through all the many recipes of the past year that might have used some form of caramel and eureka! It wasn’t really caramel, it was the Butterscotch Toffee Sauce from the Sticky Toffee Pudding in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes that I made 5 months ago! Yes: that mystery flavor was butterscotch from the dark brown Muscovado sugar and the slight tang from the molasses it contains plus the lemon juice which also served to maintain it’s creamy texture even after several trips to the microwave to soften it for lacing on top of the remaining slices of cake.

This recipe is so easy to make, requiring no temperature taking. It will also be in the upcoming ice cream book, but for those of you who are about to make the Gâteau, I don’t want to make you wait another minute or til 2020 if you don’t have Heavenly Cakes!

Butterscotch Toffee Glaze

Makes: 2-1/4 cups/532 ml/572 grams

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Set up for Ingredients (Mise en Place)

* About 30 minutes ahead, cut the butter into a few pieces and set it on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).

1) In a small saucepan place the sugar and vanilla bean. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar and rub them in with your fingers. Remove and reserve the pod. With a silicone spatula, stir in the butter.

2) Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in the cream, salt, lemon juice, and reserved vanilla pod. It will be slightly grainy but will become totally smooth on standing for a few minutes. Reheat, if necessary, and remove the vanilla pod before serving. Pour the glaze onto the cake or into a pitcher, shortly before serving. (It only takes a few seconds to reheat in the microwave.)

Notes:

* Muscovado sugar from India Tree gives the best flavor.

* You can replace the vanilla bean with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, stirred in after the glaze is no longer hot.

"Rose’s Baking Basics" Now Available for Presale

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The official pub date is September 25, 2018 but the book has just become available for presale, which means that the price is guaranteed.

This is my 12th book and the first one that will offer over 600 captioned step-by-step photos of the critical steps for making the recipes. These photos were all taken in our baking kitchen, prepped by Woody and me, and performed by me, which means that they represent exactly how we make the recipes.

There are also 22 full page beauty shots, styled by the reknowned food stylist Erin Jeanne McDowell, author of The Fearless Baker, and dear friend.

All photographs were taken by the esteemed photographer Matthew Septimus.

The book includes over 100 recipes for cookies and small treats, cakes, pies, and favorite breads including pizza. The recipes are presented exactly in the order in which one should bake, so they will have Set Ups for ingredients (mise en place) ahead of the steps for combining them.

Gâteau Très Orange

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When I was growing up, I was spoiled by my grandmother who squeezed fresh orange juice for breakfast every single day. Pasteurized orange juice from a container or bottle paled by comparison.

I have always loved the flavor of orange, almost as much as lemon which is my top favorite, but never more so than when I started making recipes from Jamie Schler’s new book Orange Appeal. Her book, focusing on many ways both sweet and savory, inspired me to create this cake that is the most orangey cake in my repertoire.

Arriving at the precise amount of orange zest to orange oil was a delicate balance. Too much orange oil and it becomes almost petrol in flavor. For us, these amounts work perfectly. You can vary them according to your own tastebuds.

Serves: 12 to 14

Oven Temperature: 350˚F/175˚C

Baking Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Equipment One 10 cup metal fluted tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour

 Batter

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Preheat the Oven

* Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

* Set the oven at 350˚F/175˚C.

 Set Up for Ingredients (Mise en Place)

* 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).

* With dish washing liquid, wash, rinse, and dry the oranges and zest them (see Notes).

Make the Batter 

1) Into a 2 cup/500 ml glass measure with a spout, weigh or measure the egg yolks. Add 60 grams/1/4 cup of the sour cream, the orange oil, and vanilla, and whisk lightly until combined.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

3) Add the butter and the remaining 122 grams of sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. The mixture will lighten in color and texture. Scrape down the sides.

4) Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in 2 parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients smoothly.

5) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface evenly.

 Bake the Cake

6) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. Rotate the cake halfway around after the first 40 minutes of baking.

 Shortly before the cake is finished baking, make the orange syrup.

Orange Syrup

Makes: 102 grams/6-1/2 tablespoons/96 ml

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1) Reduce the orange juice by about 1/3 (see Notes). Then and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the orange oil. Cover it and set it aside.

Apply the Syrup and Cool the Cake

2) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke the cake all over with a wire cake tester, and brush it with about one-third (34 grams/2 tablespoons/30 ml) of the syrup. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate.

3) Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely.

 Store Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.

 Notes

* The zest incorporates most evenly into the batter if set on a piece of parchment and allowed to dry for several hours. It then can be frozen for several months.

* When Seville oranges are in season the juice gives a more intense orange flavor to the syrup so the orange oil can be omitted. Do not use the Seville orange zest as it is very bitter unless candied in marmalade. Blood orange zest, however is a great alternative.

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* The best way to reduce the orange juice is to pour it into a 4 cup/1 liter glass measure with a spout that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Microwave it on high power, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent air bubbles, which would cause the juice to burst out of the container. This will take about 15 minutes. Alternatively you can reduce the orange juice on the cooktop, stirring constantly.

* You can replace the reduced orange juice with an equal amount of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed.

To see the posting on this marvelous book click on the link below

Orange Appeal

A Special Photographer Shares His Expertise

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Photographers are among my very favorite people. Could it be because of their extraordinary vision and artistic sensibility? Without exception, every photographer I have ever worked with has become a treasured friend.

Matthew Septimus is the photographer who took over 600 luminous step by step photos and numerous ‘beauty’ shots for our upcoming Rose’s Baking Basics. I’m delighted to share with you the link to a special course in photography, that Matthew is teaching, scheduled for this coming March in midtown New York City.

Here is the course description and link.

NEW Photography has the ability to communicate across cultures worldwide. On a local level, putting a camera in the hands of someone who doesn’t normally have access to formal classes can be profound—it can widen students’ eyes and expand a teacher’s soul. This workshop investigates the full spectrum of sharing photography with the community, from dealing with established organizations to exploring an improvisational, independent approach. Come with a specific group to target or just an eager mind. Prerequisite: Photography I or portfolio review

Special Note: Matthew has just been accepted into an exhibition in Rotterdam where, in February, they will be showing his photo project from Occupy Wall Street.

The Perfect Frying Pan of My Memory

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This is the little copper-bottom Revere Ware frying pan I’ve been wanting to find for over 40 years and here’s the story why:

In my 20’s, whenever I travelled abroad, it was always to France. But one day I received a letter from an old family friend, Rosalind Streeter, originally from Wales, who had moved back to the UK, inviting me to “come to James Herriot country” to visit her and her husband Ted in York.

I had grown up with stories of the Streeters and their four children as the entire family were favorite dental patients of my mother’s, and we had even attended the same school for two years. So I knew I’d feel right at home with their parents.

It was my first trip to England so I spent two days in London before taking the train to York. I felt like as I was coming home. Ted Streeter, an inspired guide, took me to the newly excavated Viking village nearby. And I was delighted when Rosalind confided that she had always wanted to learn how to make a génoise, so we made one together. I brushed it with my usual Grand Marnier syrup but Ted complained that I hadn’t added enough Grand Marnier, which changed forever how I syrup génoise, and I always think of him when doing so!

Rosalind was a wonderful cook, but what I remember best was breakfast, when she would make me an egg fried and served in the smallest Revere Ware pan I had ever seen. She said that she had always wanted to find more of these pans but never succeeded. All these years I wished I could find this pan and recreate the warm memory of the visit. Two weeks ago I was suddenly inspired to check e-bay! Voila! Or should I say lo and behold. I can imagine Rosalind smiling from heaven. I know that my mother would be so happy to know that I am back in touch with her beloved Streeter ‘boys’.

The Baking Bible is Food52 Baking Club’s Bonus Book of the Year

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The book club members bake through a new baking book each month and learn from each other along the way. I'm thrilled to be in the company of the esteemed Thomas Keller, Dorie Greenspan, and Erin Jeanne McDowell whose books will be featured in the current three month period.

Food52 describes the bonus book as follows:

“When the community rallied around the creation of the Baking Club, one member suggested calling it "Baker’s Dozen," with the idea that we'd focus on one book a month, but have one extra book that members could cook through the whole year long, too. The idea was a hit, so while we didn't use the name, we incorporated the idea! The group will not only have more time to cook through Beranbaum’s book, but members will always have this book as an option to bake from if they don’t have access to the book of the month.”

For more information and to join the group if you haven’t already, click on the link:

https://food52.com/blog/21178-kick-the-new-year-off-right-with-our-baking-club

Our Final Bakeware and Cookbooks Sale

This is our final sale. We have over 35 books for $5.00 or less, including Donna Bell's Bakery, Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, ATK's Pasta Revolution.

Over 50 bakeware items for $10.00 or less, including Nordicware cast-aluminum bundt pans. All silicone bakeware are under $5.00.

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We also have several books that we accept reasonable Make An Offer, including The Splendid Table, Momofuko Milk Bar, and Buchon. Several bakeware and kitchenware items are also on our Make An Offer list, including  Kitchenaid KRPA 3 piece pasta roller set, Nespresso Lattissima Coffee Maker, and a Waring Blender.

For our lists for: bakeware & kitchenware, silicone ware, and books, and the baker’s dozen packages. Include your phone number on any order that you want to make an offer.

Email Woody at: woody321@ptd.net.     

We do charge for UPS or USPS ground rates. Post office MEDIA rate for book orders.                                No added cost for packaging and handling. Photos available upon request for items on our lists.

A Special Cranberry Lemon Holiday Cake

Chef Stephen Mallina adjusting the croquembouch at the Christmas dessert buffet

Chef Stephen Mallina adjusting the croquembouch at the Christmas dessert buffet

It has become a cherished tradition to go into New York in the month of December to join my dear long-time friend Holly Arnold Kinney, her family, and women friends, for a delightful holiday luncheon at the Doubles Club (hidden within the Sherry Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street).

Holly owns the Fort Restaurant in the foothills of Denver CO and her husband Jeremy was one of the early members during the construction of the Club. Doubles was opened by Joe Norban in 1976 and continues to be run by his daughter Wendy Carduner.

The special Christmas lunch is served by impeccably formal but friendly wait staff but the lavish array of desserts is served buffet style by executive chef Stephen Mellina and his staff.

This December, when Holly introduced me to the chef, I was blown away to discover that he already knew me from my books. I was also amazed at how wonderful the desserts were—the croquembouche with hairline crisp cream puffs, the silkiest of chocolate mousses, the raspberry dacquoise, but it was the deceptively simple cranberry lemon pound cake that so intrigued me that I called Mrs. Carduner, who put me in touch with chef Mellina, who then introduced me to the pastry chef Fannie Agri. Inevitably we had a million things in common and couldn’t stop talking. To my astonishment, the cake was my very own favorite Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake from The Cake Bible, with dried cranberries replacing the poppy seeds.

Of course chef Fannie makes this cake in large quantity so I tried three different variations for a single loaf. The challenge was getting the deliciously zingy cranberries to suspend evenly in the batter without sinking to the bottom. Trial one, I ground the cranberries with the sugar and they dispersed evenly but lost their character. Trial two I soaked the quartered cranberries for 30 minutes, using the soaking water to replace the milk. All the cranberries sank resolutely to the bottom. Trial 3 was the winner. I tried processing the cranberries with some of the flour to help them suspend, but though a few ground up into cranberry dust, most eluded the sharp blades so I ended up chopping them with a chef’s knife.

The two test samples with Fannie's original on the buffet table.

The two test samples with Fannie's original on the buffet table.

Both chefs tasted the two samples. And Chef Fannie brought her Cake Bible for me to sign. I was delighted to see it had experienced years of good use1

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Woody and I also enjoyed a glorious buffet lunch, complements of chef Mallina.

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The Holiday Dessert Buffet

The Holiday Dessert Buffet

I have found a new home at Doubles thanks to the exquisite ambiance and extraordinarily warm welcome from all.

Here’s the recipe just in time for New Year’s Eve!

Cranberry Lemon Pound Cake

Oven Temperature: 350˚F/175˚C
Baking Time: 60 to 70 minutes

Special Equipment One 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch 6 cup loaf pan, lightly coated with baking spray with flour, preferably Baker’s Joy

Preheat the Oven
* Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
*Set the oven at 350˚F/175˚C.

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In a 2 cup or larger glass measure with a spout, lightly whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all but 2 tablespoons of the flour, the sugar, baking powder and salt.

With a large chefs knife, chop together the flour and dried cranberries until none of the pieces is larger than 1/4 inch.

Attached the flat beater and mix the flour mixture on low speed for 30 seconds.

Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture. Start on low speed until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Then raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.

Add the remaining egg mixture in two parts, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.

Add the chopped cranberries and any remaining loose flour and with a silicone spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the cranberries, reaching to the bottom of the bowl.

Scrape the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. Tent it loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean with only a few dry crumbs sticking to it.

While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup

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In a 1 cup glass measure with a spout stir together all the ingredients and microwave for about 40 seconds, stirring once or twice, until the sugar is dissolved.

Cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside.

When the cake is baked, set the pan on a wire rack and use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over the top.

Brush the top of the cake with half the syrup. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes and unmold it onto a second rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Brush all sides and bottom with the remaining syrup. Then reinvert the cake onto a wire rack that is topped with a large piece of plastic wrap. Allow the cake to cool completely. Then wrap it with the plastic wrap and allow it to sit for a minimum of 6 hours preferably overnight.

Store Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 1 week; frozen, 3 months.

Rose's Best Flaky & Tender Pie Crust

I have many recipes for pie crust but through the years, this is the one I turn to the most often quite simply because it has a wonderful texture and also a wonderful flavor.

This recipe makes 312 grams, enough dough for one 9 inch pie or tart shell, and can be doubled to make a double crust or lattice pie.

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Food Processor Method

 1) Process flour, salt, and baking powder to blend.

 2) Add cream cheese and process until coarse.

 3) Add butter cubes and pulse until peanut size.

 4) Add cream and vinegar and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.

 5) Scrape dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Use latex gloves or cover hands with plastic bags and press dough until it holds together in one smooth flat disc.

6) Wrap, and refrigerate 45 minutes before rolling.

Notes:

* Baking powder containing aluminum has a bitter flavor. Most health food stores and many supermarkets carry the calcium variety. You can eliminate the baking powder and double the salt but the crust will be less tender.

* If not using pastry flour to achieve the same tenderness use 2/3 bleached all-purpose flour and 1/3 cake flour or 1 tablespoon of sugar

* I like to roll my pie crusts no thicker than 1/8 inch and preferably between 1/16 and 1/8 inch thick.

When Tragedy Strikes Your Mousseline Buttercream

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This is truly the queen of buttercreams: silky, buttery, light and airy, and a bit temperamental. Combining the Italian meringue with the butter is the tricky part. It is essential that the two mixtures have near the same temperature. And sooner or later it happens to everyone: Instead of becoming a beautifully emulsified satiny texture, it starts to curdle and separate. Your heart drops and panic sets in--all that expensive butter and time....But all is not lost. Here are some tips and also a solution should all else fail:

Use an instant read thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the mixture is between 65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C and adjust as needed. If not using a thermometer, try adjusting with just a small amount of the buttercream.

If all else fails, with your hands, squeeze out the liquid that has separated and pour it into a large measuring cup with a spout. On high speed, beat the remaining butter until it becomes smooth. Then gradually beat in the liquid. The resulting buttercream will be less airy but perfectly emulsified and silky smooth.

Note: You will have a higher degree of success if using high fat butter.
Also, it works best to add all the meringue to all the whipped butter rather than the reverse. This technique is detailed in Rose's Heavenly Cakes and The Baking Bible.

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Gingerbread Competition at Mohonk Mountain House 2017

When I think of something being constructed out of gingerbread, I always think of a  house. Although Rose took house building to the extreme with her made to scale Nôtre Dame Cathedral, in Rose’s Christmas Cookies, with 10 pages of architectural drawings. So when Nina Smiley asked if we would like to judge a gingerbread competition at the magical Mohonk Mountain House, of course we said yes!

Rose and Mohonk Mountain House built from 1869-1910 by the Smileys

Rose and Mohonk Mountain House built from 1869-1910 by the Smileys

This was their second year for holding the competition, which had 3 divisions: for juniors (ages 10-17), adults (ages 18 and over), and their employees, with over 60 entries. Some guidelines were: that the entry had to be on a base up to 2 feet square, less than 2 feet high, and edible for all exposed surfaces. A key guideline was that gingerbread had to be exposed for 50% or more of the surfaces.  What we discovered, as we walk around the rows of entries, was that this was way beyond ginerbread houses--it was a competition of highly artistic and imaginative gingerbread displays.

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We were surprised and delighted by the imagination and ways in which the competitors used gingerbread, in both cookie and bread forms and beyond. Besides us, there were several judges including chefs, Mohonk’s own talented pastry chef, the mayor of Kingston, and others.

 Rose called my attention to one of the most displays by Vanessa Greeley, who had worked for years in the finance world before making a career change to run her own specialty cake decorating business. She stopped by our book signing table and Rose asked her how she came up with the amalgamation of gingerbread and chocolate, which was the composition for Mr. and Mrs. Moose. She explained that her goal was to give adequate structural support while maintaining delicious melt in the mouth quality. Clearly her analytic approach from her prior occupation came into play. We gave her high marks, for its uniqueness and precision.

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The winning gingerbread display was Flower Tower, which was sculptor Matt Maley’s first ever dive into making a gingerbread constructed display. Along with his prize from Mohonk House, Rose gave him an autographed Pie & Pastry Bible.

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Other works of art by their title in the order below.

WInter is Coming-3rd place, Lighthouse-Viewers' Choice, Bah! Humbug-2nd place, Night before Christmas

The Artful Baker (and What Am I Doing in a Turkish Magazine!)

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A few weeks ago, Cenk Sönmezsoy, author of the stunning new book The Artful Baker, sent me this feature on him in the Turkish magazine “InStyle.”

I was shocked and delighted to see a photo of me on the page, surrounded by cherries, shorts, a t-shirt, and brownies, and immediately went to Google translate which shed no light on why I was pictured there, as it only listed food writer under my name.

I immediately wrote to Cenk to ask him, but no sooner did the email go off than I realized that I was amongst what I perceived to be some of Cenk’s favorite things. Here was his exact response:

“The magazine sent me a list of questions, one of which was who I'd like to have dinner with and why. My answer was: The author of several legendary cookbooks like The Cake Bible and The Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum. I could talk to her about cookies, cakes and tarts for hours on end.

They also asked me which ingredient I've been baking with most frequently (sour cherries; but I think the cherries in the photo are sweet cherries) and what I like to wear when cooking and baking (an oversized t-shirt and shorts).”

I am honored to appear in this magazine featuring one of most eloquent and talented bakers in the world.

 

Extra Helpings--A New Website for Extraordinary Crafts

Holiday Ornaments to hang on your tree or ring in the new year!

Holiday Ornaments to hang on your tree or ring in the new year!

My dear friend Miro Uskokovic, the amazingly talented pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, has just announced that his wife Shilpa has launched her site Extra Helpings.

Miro is justifiably very proud of Shilpa, who collaborated with her mother to create "a site that sources home and lifestyle products from struggling artisans who are working tirelessly to preserve craft traditions that are endangered due to rapid globalization and general corporate greed." And, as a dyed in the wool craftsperson, I am delighted to share this with you! 

Shilpa's mother, Raji, sits on the board of an internationally recognized non-profit organization that works with artisans throughout India. This gives her access to the best crafts people! Shilpa and her mother have personally met with all the artisans and hand selected items that are beautiful, useful and fairly priced.

Shilpa sent me an exquisitely crafted small, but heavy, rolling pin to add to my special collection of pins from around the world. I hope you will visit her site and enjoy viewing some of the beauty that still exists in this world.