Tuesday, October 23, 2007


These are my Dinner Rolls. My Baby Boule. Aaaand the star of the evening, though, you cannot tell by this photo, Indian Spiced Chocolate Bread! I will post the recipe after I tinker with it. It has ginger and cardamom in it and I think it could have used more of both. It has a full pound of chocolate in it and made four good gift sized, rounds. Perfect for holiday giving!!


We made dinner rolls!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miss September's Mélange à Trois

Holy cow- Marcee put together a seriously great assemblage of recipes. Peppermint Crescents are so totally my new official holiday cookie- thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Schiacciata con l'uva! Focaccia with Concord Grapes!

Hello! Here's my recipe for October. I know it's not very Halloweenish, but it is a traditional fall recipe for the Tuscans. And since we had such a mild start to October, you might still be able to find some yummy concord grapes around. What I like most about this recipe is that it's both savory and sweet!

I found this recipe at Epicurious and since it was my first time making dough (EVER!)I pretty much followed the recipe to a T.

Here are my slight adjustments/obstacles:
1. all I had in the house was a 6 month opened bottle of merlot (but it worked fine!)
2. I searched Philadelphia up and down and never found the elusive "00" flour, but I did mix half cake and half all-purpose flour and still got the crispy crust!
3. If you can seed the grapes prior to baking it would be great! My grapes were too ripe and were losing all their juices. But it was a real bummer to spit out the seeds while enjoying the bread.
4. Eat fresh out of the oven...it's best when hot and crispy!
5. Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I had my first pastry class at the Institute of Culinary Education here in NYC. First Lesson: Simple breads. It was great, now I know what Susan is talking about!!! Bread is not hard! Just requires attention to measuring. I felt so whole afterwards. I urge you guys to give it a try!! I made these three breads white, honey wheat and foccacia in 4 hours(w/ a convection oven).


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Persimmon Pudding, Fig Ice Cream, Goat Cheese Icing, and Bread!

I finished grad school. Finally. And got back on the baking horse. I have a lot of you guys' postcards to catch up with (Marcee, I have to post yours but I keep forgetting). In the meantime, here are some pictures and recipes of nice fall things I've been working on!

Persimmon Pudding
My friend is from rural North Carolina, and last time I was down visiting her parents with her, her mom talked to me about the persimmon puddings they make locally when all of the persimmons are in season. PERSIMMONS? What is this, Thomas Jefferson's kitchen? Persimmons actually exist? Turns out they exist in abundance all over these folks' yards every fall. So as promised, this fall she sent me some "persimmon juice" (which is actually more like a puree) so I could make persimmon pudding. My friend sampled some and promptly took half of it home with her. I gave her some nostalgia, what can I say.

If you have access to persimmons, apparently you wait until they are very ripe, stick them through a food mill, and freeze them until you need to make more pudding. The pudding's end result is hard to describe. It's definitely akin to a steamed pudding in consistency, but it's hard to shake the comparison to a very firm pumpkin pie, sans crust. Persimmons themselves have a neat sort of spicy, sort of coppery, sort of appley taste. I need to find someone to give the leftovers to, quick, before I gain three thousand pounds.

Ingredients (makes a major amount, halving it would be plenty if you're not cooking for a crowd):
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 cups persimmon "juice"
2 cups sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
dash of salt
2 t. baking bowder
2 eggs
3 cups flour, whisked to eliminate lumps
3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 375.

Brush enough butter into a 9x12 pyrex baking dish and an 8x8 pyrex baking dish to cover the bottoms and the sides (or you can use any equivalent combination of glass dishes - pie plates, whatever). Set the leftover butter aside.

In a very large bowl (like a bowl from a stand mixer), combine persimmon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon or whisk, not with a standing mixer.

Alternate adding flour and milk and stir well until smooth.

Dump into pans.

Bake at 374 for 15-20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 for 40 minutes. Then turn off oven for about ten minutes before removing pans. Let cool almost to room temperature before serving. This was my mistake (as you can see in the picture) because my nicely whipped cream melted immediately, but oh well. Also the persimmon flavor comes out more strongly when it's cooled down.

Cut into squares and store the rest in the fridge and eat cold whenever you want.

I just topped with some lightly sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of mace.

Ice Creams Galore

Fig Ice Cream

I found myself with an abundance of leftover dried figs, so I consulted the best ice cream book ever and discovered that of course I could use them to make fig ice cream. I did this again when my roommate and I both bought way too much ginger. Moral of this story: you can put anything in ice cream.

Anyway, if you feel like making ice cream, which is so easy and cheap, it's almost stupid not to make it all the time, you need that book. You need it!

Ginger Ice Cream

Goat Cheese Icing

I got this recipe from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook (which is actually less exciting than I want it to be). I made it with the accompanying Apple Spice Layer Cake. I wasn't super impressed with the cake, but the icing. Holy crap. GOAT CHEESE ICING? It was a hit. Perfect for my roommate and BFF's fall birthday party.

I wouldn't really recommend the cake, it's boring and kind of dry, but this would be really good on any sort of pumpkin or apple cupcake, or even as a spread on pumpkin bread or carrot cake. It's enough like cream cheese icing to be familiar and comforting, but different enough to be awesome.

Beat for 3 or 4 minutes until fluffy:
6 oz. whipped cream cheese at room temp
12 oz. goat cheese at room temp

Add 1/4 c. confectioner's sugar, and beat a few minutes more, until fluffy. The end! I think it could have stood to be a little less sweet even, but it's up to you.

You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate, just bring to room temp before serving and beat a few times.

And finally...Bread Bread Bread!

Honey Oatmeal Bread

I have some friends who hire me to bake for them on a weekly basis. The deal is this, I make them a loaf of bread and give them a half batch of whatever else I'm working on, and they get to have awesome homemade bread and baked goods, which as we all know are way better than anything you can get in the store. It works out well for everyone, I make a tiny bit of cash, get to work on some new projects (I have I think ten different kinds of flour in my fridge right now). Everyone's happy.

I've always had luck with bread, especially now that it's a little cooler and less humid, but I'm tired of the same old stuff. I bought Baking Illustrated, because I trust the Cook's Illustrated folks to the ends of the earth. They've really replaced Martha for me for the most part, and this book is as fascinating as it is foolproof.

Anyone else have any good bread recipes or made any good bread cookbook purchases that they'd like to share?

Monday, October 08, 2007


This past weekend Molly and I went to Wilklow Orchards to pick apples! It was kind of hot on Saturday but we got sidetracked (Read: lost/confused) on the highway and ended up arriving as the sun was starting to descend...so it ended up being pleasantly warm. This place was GORGEOUS. Wilklow Orchard in New Paltz, NY. There we picked from over 11 different varieties of apples, drank cider, ate little pies, picked out gourds and pumpkins and broke a sweat carrying our bounty back.
We met Debbie who is in charge of making the cider donuts there at Wilklow, she let us photograph her and made sure to tell me that the batter is from scratch. Debbie was very proud of that and said a lot of places use a mix. It was a perfect afternoon jaunt and if you live here, then try to visit before the season ends Oct 31st!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Espresso ice cream problem

Hello! and thanks for having me in the club!
I thought I would inaugurate myself by posting a problem I'm having and see what you all think. I have a Cuisinart ICE-30BC Ice Cream maker, and I love it. But the other day, I made espresso butter almond ice cream from the recipe book that came with the machine. I let the machine run for like an hour and it never really thickened. The recipe said only 20-25 minutes but I was checking it all the time and it never got thick. I know you have to put it in the freezer afterwards to really have it settle, but this came out as liquidy as it went in. DO you think I beat the ingredients too much? and made it too frothy or something? I dunno. Any suggestions? Thank you for your help!

Here's the recipe:
Coffee Butter Almond Ice Cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups whole milk, chilled
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3-5 tablespoons instant espresso powder (to taste)
3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet. Add the slivered almonds and kosher salt.
Cook over medium-low heat until almonds are toasted and golden, stirring frequently, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain (the butter will have an almond flavor; can be reserved for another use). Chill the nuts.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk, granulated sugar and espresso powder until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and extracts.
Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped nuts to the mixture during the last 5 minutes of freezing. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
For Coffee Ice Cream, omit the toasted buttered almonds, if desired; add 1 tablespoon Kahlua® or other coffee liqueur to the mixture. Kahlua® is a registered trademark owned by the Kahlua Company.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I made this pumpkin pie a couple weeks ago in anticipation of my favorite of seasons glorious fall!!!