Now a Jersey Girl!

Thumbnail image for bakingbibleNJMonthly.jpgAfter a near life-time as a New Yorker, I have been a New Jersey resident for well-over a year now, and loving it. Here is a wonderfully informative profile on me and my new book The Baking Bible in the current issue of New Jersey Monthly Magazine. One of my favorite parts is the title "Rose Knows." This was the title of my bi-monthly on-line column for Food Arts Magazine which, sadly, is no longer in print. But now the title lives on.

Conversations with Dédé: The Golden Chiffon

The Renée Fleming Golden ChiffonGolden_Chiffon.jpg Dédé has written another engaging story about the cake from The Baking Bible which I dedicated to the glorious opera singer Renée Fleming. Click on this link for the story and also the recipe. Renée Fleming just sent Woody and me each a disc of her latest release Christmas in New York along with a lovely note. IMG_7369.jpg

Current Reviews

invitation.pngLast week there were several reviews that appeared related to my new book The Baking BIble. I thought you might especially enjoy the Epicurious one on baking tips. And here's an interview I enjoyed doing from Jewish Light. Also, I was delighted to see The Baking Bible included in the Food Network Cookbook Gift-Guide. Today Woody and I are off for the first leg of our book tour: Wellesley, MA. We'll try to answer questions from the road but please chime in as you always do to help answer questions or if they can wait until our return around Thanksgiving we'll be sure to answer them then. Can't wait to hear feedback about the recipes from the book!

Another Book Review with Favorite Recipe Offered

Although an author never tires of reading the reviews of her or his book, at the risk that this just may not hold true for others, I am posting just one more review, partially because I love how it is written, but mostly because they are offering one of my top favorite recipes in the book: "The Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake." This is the one that Ben Fink, the photographer, and I, had the most trouble staying away from during the photo shoot last November. Check out Foodista.

Della Fattoria's Signature Bread

The Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne Boule from Kathleen Weber's New Book (My step by step photos will be at the end of this posting.)IMG_6831.jpg Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads When I saw the photo of this bread and read the headnote, I knew I would have to make it even though it would mean waking up my sleeping beauty starter which I have been feeding faithfully since its creation over 12 years ago but, in recent years, only using to supplement commercial yeast in my breads. To my amazement, after the first feeding it doubled in just 5 hours rather than the expected 2 to 3 days. Kathleen writes in the headnote that the lemon zest and finely chopped rosemary are mixed with olive oil to make a pesto-like slurry that appears as a bright and delicious swirl along the underside of the crust. When I asked her if this was her original concept, she said that she came up with the slurry just thinking of a pesto like thing to carry the flavors and that she didn't want it to mix in the dough, looking for something cleaner. Sourdough, without any added commercial yeast whatsoever, is always a thrilling but scary proposition. Kathleen herself was reminded of when she rode a three wheel bicycle for the first time and her father let go of the seat, which feels like the perfect analogy to me as well. She also wrote that she never takes the power of sourdough starter for granted and it always seems like a miracle when the loaf comes out the oven.

What was most tricky for me with this bread was my small hands when enclosing the big mass of dough around the slurry. I further made the mistake of overworking the dough slightly when tightening the seam which caused the slurry to escape and break through the surface of the dough. This prevented the peaks of the crown pictured in the book from forming in the top of the crust while baking. Also, next time I will use a standard cast iron pan instead of one with a shallow base, as the supple and slack dough spread past the edge of the base when unmolding the dough from its couche or, as in this, case towel-lined proofing basket. Kathleen said, reassuringly, that usually when you take it out of the basket it just kind of goes flat. For the naturally leavened breads, the growth happens in the oven, have faith! I despaired of having a decent loaf, and when lifting off the dome was amazee to see that the dough had risen and baked magnificently. And the taste was amazing--the rosemary and lemon infused the entire loaf and it had the classic sour dough aroma and full tangy flavor. IMG_6747.jpg

Torn starter added to water.

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Mixing the dough.

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Using the mortar and pestle to grind coarse Celtic salt into fine.

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Kneading the dough which tightens after adding the salt.

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Stretching and turning the supple dough.

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Rosemary, lemon zest, and olive oil slurry.

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Preparing the proofing basket.

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Shaping and pinching the boule.

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Tightening the boule.

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After 10 minute rest, flattening and dimpling the dough.

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Adding the slurry to the dough crater.

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Encasing the slurry in the dough.

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Tightening the seam.

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Slurry having broken through due to over tightening.

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Fully proofed dough in basket.

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Slashing the dough in an asterisk pattern.

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Just baked loaf.

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Bread cooling on wire rack.

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Cut loaf to show beautiful sourdough crumb.

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Close up of the crumb.

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The lemon-rosemary slurry just under the crust.

Casting Bread on the Water

Much to the joy of any bread lover who has enjoyed her bread at the French Laundry or at her bakery Della Fattoria, Kathleen Weber has, at last, published her first book: Della Fattoria Bread. The official Pub date is October 7 but the book is available on Amazon for preorder. Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened BreadsNot only does it have enticing precisely written recipes from the hearth, her stories from the heart are fascinating and beautifully written and I am reading this book page by page as well as baking from it. I have already made two of the breads with great success and will include step by step photos on each of two postings. I first met and fell in love with Kathleen's breads at my first dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville, Ca. When the wait person told me that the bread at that time was not made in house, I lost no time in asking my northern California friends to find out who was baking the bread. I was in the process of writing The Bread Bible and put in a call to Kathleen Weber, timidly asking if she would give me the recipe for her seeded wheat sourdough bread that I so loved. I was stunned by her generous response. She actually said that SHE was honored and proceeded to send me a detailed recipe in addition to the flour and yeast she used for the bread and even offered to send the water! And that is how I fell in love with Kathleen as a perfect reflection of the goodness, beauty, and integrity of her bread.

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Over the years, and many visits to the San Francisco area, we developed a special bond. On one visit, my husband and the Webers met at Daniel Patterson's first restaurant (Elizabeth Daniels) when they drove in to deliver their bread to the restaurant. On another visit, my dear friend Diane Boate and I drove up to their home and Ed showed off his impressive self-made wood-fired oven and introduced me to an infra red point and shoot thermometer used to determine the interior temperature (which I purchased in short order). And on still another visit Diane and I brought Daniel Patterson as a surprise visit to Kathleen's Petaluma bakery where he announced his engagement and Kathleen offered to make the bread while I offered to make the wedding cake. Afterwards I asked Kathleen if she thought he had heard? "Oh yes!" she said. My response "Oh God!" (Making a wedding cake away from my own kitchen is a scary proposition but I was so glad I did it. Not only were we all guests at the wedding the following year, the "Deep Chocolate Passion Wedding Cake" turned out to be the most beautiful and delicious cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes a few years later. When an advance copy of Kathleen's new book arrived at my home I opened it up immediately and to my amazement saw my recipe for brioche! I had completely forgotten that a few years ago Kathleen asked me permission to use it for the book and of course I had been delighted. I have to admit tears of joy came to my eyes that life seemed to have come a full circle. In the headnote she writes: ...And to this day, Rose's brioche is the only one I've ever made. It looks like golden satin and is the softest most elastic dough I have ever worked with. Bliss. When I emailed Kathleen to ask which bread I should try first from her new book, her answer was: The bread that I had the most fun making is the Arborio Rice Bread from Elizabeth David. It's absurdly easy and unusual, working with all that warm, almost hot, rice. The texture of that bread toasted is pretty fabulous. It was just a surprise to me, and I really love surprises! In the headnote Kathleen writes: "Arborio is, of course, the rice that gives risotto its creaminess, and, sure enough, those fat, starchy grains give the bread a similarly creamy texture." And now I'm taking a short break to follow Ed Weber's advice to toast a piece of this bread to give it a delicate crunch and to make a soft boiled egg to go with it. Here are the step by step photos which Woody took as I was making the dough. Kathleen wrote to me: Didn't you find that even though the dough was wet, you could kind of shove it together and get it to hold its shape? YES! The wobbliest part it just before it goes into the oven, it seems to be the wettest, and you'd never guess such a puddle could bake up so beautifully. RIGHT! She also wrote: It may feel delicate but in fact it's sturdy. AGREED Next posting, on the pub date of October 7, will be on Kathleen's signature loaf: The Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne Boule for which I will wake up my sleeping beauty sour dough starter.

Mixing the cooked Arborio rice into the flour mixture to form a crumbly mixture.

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Adding the water to the flour mixture.

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The dough after it's first rise.

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Emptying the dough onto the counter.

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Shaping the soft dough into a loaf.

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The risen dough ready to bake.

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The baked loaf.

Interview in The Forward

Liza Schoenfein wrote this beautifully personal review of The Baking Bible. It is special also because it describes how we first met several years ago.My grandmother, Sarah Horwitt Wager, used to read The Forward--at least I think it was The Forward. She could read only Yiddish and I loved seeing those mysterious characters. I was amazed that she could decipher them while I couldn't understand a single one. My grandmother and I shared a room until I went away to college so many a night, at bed-time, she would give me entry into the world of her childhood in Russia with stories which I still remember vividly. She would have been so proud to see this review. Note:Also check out her blog--it has terrific videos!

Honey Cake for Jewish News Year's

HONEY_CAKE.jpgGood news! The honey cake recipe from my upcoming The Baking Bible has just appeared in the August/September issue of Hadassah Magazine and also available on their on line site. This recipe was adapted from my dear friend and esteemed colleague Marcy Goldman, the authority of Jewish baking in Canada. Note: As there was room in the article only to give the weight for the flour, here are the rest of the critical weights: (They are now posted on the Hadassah site as well.) 4 large eggs: 7 ounces/200 grams canola or safflower oil: 7.6 ounces/215 grams strong black coffee: 8.4 ounces/237 grams orange juice: 4.3 ounces/121 grams whiskey or rye: 1.9 ounces/55 grams superfine sugar: 8.8 ounces/250 grams light brown Muscovado or dark brown sugar: 3.8 ounces/108 grams all-purpose flour: 14.1 ounces/400 grams honey: 11.8 ounces/336 grams My favorite pan for this cake is the one piece, non-stick NordicWare 18 cup Pound Cake/Angel Food Pan. It is available from Fante's in Philadelphia 1-800-4432683. Or check it out on their site. (It also works in a 16 cup pan but the NordicWare one is no longer made in that size.)

Around the World in 80 Cakes Revisited

Last January I wrote a posting called "How Rare It Is," about a very special baker, Jen Rao, who happens to be a neighbor.The name of Jen's business," Around the World in 80 Cakes" is a result of her world-wide travels, her scientific background, and her experience in baking. I have been encouraging her to put all this in a book and she has chosen to publish it as an e book in installments as the chapters are completed. The first installment, How to Bake, the Basic of Butter Cakes, is already available on Amazon. It is a model of clarity, with excellent photos and techniques which would be very helpful, especially for a beginning baker. And, dear to my heart, she offers weights s well as volume for the key ingredients. The link to ordering her book is on her blog which also tells about her unusual background and plans for the next sections of her book.

Time Magazine Review

Just learned that Time Magazine has listed The Baking Bible as one of the 15 new cookbooks of the fall!I'm especially pleased to be in such good company of mostly chefs and restauranteurs, and there are only two baking related books listed. Here's the review of my book: While the James Beard award-winning cookbook writer has a tendency to call her books "bibles" (The Cake Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, The Bread Bible), they're really more like almanacs. Baking lists the ingredients for each recipe in three different metrics (cups/spoons, ounces, and grams), names "golden rules" and offers specific fixes for all manner of problems that may arise (top of your cake cracked? The oven might be too hot, or the batter over-mixed). For the serious baker, the book's mechanical precision will lead to perfect results, from "Irish cream scones" to "brandy snap cannoli."

Publisher's Weekly Review of The Baking Bible

Baking_Bible.jpgPW_Star.jpg The Baking Bible Beranbaum, a veteran cookbook author and baker, divides this worthy tome into four sections: Cakes; Pies, Tarts, and Other Pastries; Cookies and Candy; Breads and Yeast Pastries. All recipes include weights and volume for ingredients, and the author's "Golden Rules" give readers essential baking information, such as why one should always use fresh baking powder and high-quality unsalted butter. "Highlights for Success" boxes are filled with inventive and helpful tips including freezing berries on branches. Classic recipes--think pumpkin pecan pie--are aplenty, but first-time recipes and unusual selections such as the author's Pink Pearl Lady Cake, Cadillac Café's milk chocolate bread pudding, and an Amish BlueRhu pie make this title a must-have gem. PW The offiicial pub date is November 4 but it can be pre ordered now on Amazon: The Baking Bible The major advantage of preordering is not only being among the first to receive the book but also the deep discount ($28.80 instead of the cover price of $40).

Baking Poetry--the Heart and Soul of a Baker

Image.jpgOn the road to personal, first there are cookbooks. (If you are what you eat wouldn't it follow that you also are what you make?) When one reads a good cookbook one feels a strong kinship to the author. Closer to home are memoirs, which give a glimpse into how you became who you are. And then there is poetry--a window reveal to one's soul. Clearly, publishing poetry requires much courage and willingness to vulnerability. Great poetry is like a swift arrow to one's sensibilities, with the potential to alter one's vision of life. I first met fellow baker and author Marcy Goldman several years ago on a visit to Montreal when I was attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference. She invited me to her home in the suburbs and I didn't hesitate to accept. The moment I stepped into her sunny kitchen, with two freshly baked cakes sitting on the table to greet me, I knew I had met a kindred baking spirit. My first perception of Marcy as a poet followed shortly after, when I saw the cover of her book that was soon to be published. It captured my attention and made me want to know more. Image 1.jpg Marcy told me that she always draws a heart in the flour when she is finished baking for the day. I thought it was the most marvelous cover for a baking book that I had ever seen as it so eloquently expressed the baker's relationship to the foundation of her trade and passion. What could be a more perfect expression than the graceful hand of a baker, the flour on the counter, and the heart drawn in it. And I was reminded of the time at restaurant Bouley, in New York City, when I was moved to draw a heart in the scanty remains of the chocolate sauce on my dessert plate, as a comment to the chef. I admire Marcy's baking, in fact, she generously gave me permission to include her famous honey cake (which I adore) in my upcoming Baking Bible. But it wasn't until she just published her first book of verse, Love and Ordinary Things, (which I ordered the moment I learned about it) that I got to experience and enjoy her poetry. Compassionate, clever without guile, optimistic, revealing, and interwoven with symbolic references to food, especially baking, Marcy's poetry deeply touched my heart. Love and Ordinary Things: Poems from the wheat field, kitchen, dance floor and heart A Passion for Baking: Bake to celebrate, Bake to nourish, Bake for fun (Hardcover) In June, "Love and Ordinary Things" will be on a Kindle countdown sale for a few days at half price. Also, Marcy is offering a free 4 month subscription to her website Better Baking if you purchase any one of her books and email her a copy of your online bill at editors@betterbaking.com With Marcy's permission, here is one of my favorite poems from the book:

Recipe for a Peckish Palate Marcy Goldman © From Love and Ordinary Things 2014

As a chef, I'm often asked How to woo an errant appetite, Peckish with some wound How to enliven a hunger that's gone south. When dreams are detoured Leaving only doubt So I say, Coax it with herbs, Green and fresh Soothe it with lemon balm Or uplift it with ginger - Entice it with wine-red chilli Pungent with deep heat - Love it with vanilla beans Familiar and sweet - Cool it with mint Let it settle and heal With lavender tea, roses, cinnamon and orange peel. A lost appetite will wake up Once vital, it will indeed revive - It simply has no other choice And in time what was quiet and still Will once again rejoice. But how to bring spirit to the plate When the palate is empty Bereft of sentiment or even sunny chatter - How to court an unsung heart When dark moods have come to prey When the inner pantry feels bare And tumbleweed blows Through the spice shelf of life When the heart is caught not singing What then?

Well, I say, The tonic is the same The ladle ever poised, still pertains - Love that heart in great measure Don't stint on the elixir Coax it with the breeze of the trees Soothe it with kisses Let it rise and breathe Don't leave warmth to choice And in time, What was quiet and still Will once again rejoice

Vegan Chocolate Has Arrived including Chocolate Ganache Glaze recipe

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Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

When people ask me about recipes for vegan baking, which is not my area of expertise, I direct them to my good friend and colleague Fran Costigan, known as "the Queen of Vegan Desserts http://www.francostigan.com.

I have known Fran for many years and have great respect for her integrity as an expert in the subject, as a teacher, and as an author.

When the book arrived, I was struck by large number of gorgeous photos and delighted by the way in which the ingredients are listed in both volume, grams, and milliliters. This, together with the detailed instructions, make it a pleasure for me to work from this book.

All 120 recipes contained in this book are plant-based and some are gluten-free. The luscious chocolate ganache glaze which graces the cake on the book's cover is made with almond milk and Fran has generously given me permission to post the recipe.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

It will take longer to read this recipe than to make it, but its success is all about the quality and taste of the chocolate and following the details in the recipe. As long as you stay within the percentages listed, any premium chocolate you enjoy eating is the one to use. The important part is to chop the chocolate very fine. Allowing the chocolate to melt into the milk for the full 4 minutes is not optional. And stir only until the chocolate and milk are emulsified--that is, glossy and smooth. Over-mixing may turn your silken ganache gritty. If the chocolate has not completely melted after the ganache is mixed, bring the water in the saucepan on the stove to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the bowl of ganache on the saucepan for a few minutes, then stir very gently until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

Makes 2 cups/480 ml

8 ounces/227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
1-1/4 cups/300 ml organic almond milk or soymilk (more as needed to adjust consistency)
2 tablespoons/18 grams organic granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1-1/4 teaspoons/6.25 ml pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons/10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil (optional but recommended for sheen)

1. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.

2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.

4. Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk fro the center out ony until smooth and glossy. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, refer to the Sidebar on page 28 for instructions on using a water bath to melt the chocolate.)

5.Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should e smooth and firm, but should taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon  if needed.

6. Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process.

7. Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remains pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.

Bake from this book often and with pleasure. It will never fall apart as it has a stitched binding!

How Rare It Is....

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...to come up with a whole new and exciting concept for a cookbook on cakes! When I was introduced to Jen Rao through a sampling of her uniquely delicious cupcakes from the Belvidere Farmer's Market over a year ago I knew at once that she had the potential of writing a very special cookbook. It was a while before we actually met in person but I was so impressed I lost no time in giving her advice via email. One of the first things I warned her about was to keep the idea secret. But last week, in this great interview in a local newspaper, Lehigh Valley Live, the cat's out of the bag! Actually, there really wasn't any reason to keep it a secret as not many if any have Jen's unique background to pull this off: Around the World in 80 Cakes is a result of her travels, her scientific background, and her experience in baking.

Hector Wong's Debut as an E-Book Writer

HECTOR.jpgThe inimitable Hector Wong has combined five of his exceptional skils: IT, photography, Spanish translation, and cake baking and cake decorating, to produce his first cookbook: Cheesecakes. In the words of Hector: It is to my delight pleasure to share with you, that I have my first cookbook on the market: Cheesecakes by Hector Wong. It is an iTunes iPad exclusive. Click here to buy the book. The book is available in 51 countries, and includes Spanish translations embedded as a pop up button. Enjoy what I have to say about Cheesecakes, and how I wrote the ingredients measures and instructions. This ebook includes instant and free updates for the few errors it may contain, or for additional photos and multimedia I add as I bake with it over and over again. If you are in Hawaii please attend the following events (the first event is for media professionals only) All events held at Cook Space Hawaii, in Ward Warehouse, Honolulu. All events include cheesecake to eat. 1- August 29th, Thursday, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Book media event (for media professionals only). Hector will talk story about the processes of recipe inspiration, recipe writing, and recipe testing. He will also demonstrate the computer tools used to create the book and how social media and instant updates changed cookbook publishing for the benefit of the reader. 2- September 1st, Sunday, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Cheesecake Perfection! class. Hector Wong shares his secrets for making the perfect cheesecake. This class will focus on technique and skills for making three basic cheesecake crusts and batters. Learn to make a cookie crust, crushed nut crust and sponge cake base and three types of batters: basic sour cream, fruit jams and a no-bake batter. Students will make their own tart sized cheesecake to bring home. Click here for more info. 3- September 15th, Sunday, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Spanish Flantastic class. A rich custard made with eggs, milk and sugar, flan is Spain's most famous dessert. Hector Wong shares his family's treasured recipe for making a classic flan and the recipes he perfected for making flan brulee, coconut flan and flan with fresh fruit. Hector is currently working on a flan cookbook and will share his insights and experiences on recipe testing and development. Click here for more info.