Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A benefit to having extra caramel around the house. Caramel swirl pumpkin bread. By request...here is the recipe I used for this bread. It's from Smitten Kitchen. I just used my failed-to-set-caramel(about a 1/2 cup) to add a luscious ribbon of caramel to it. If you have any homemade or store bought caramel, just add that. Be forewarned, that is luscious with a capital L!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée*
1/2 cup (1 dL) olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use. Or, if you are working with pumpkin pieces, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.

3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Check out these beauties! I have been waiting for this day, the day when I can say " sugar+heat+butter and cream=caramel and not a burnt foul smelling shellac". I used this recipe from Gourmet. My first attempt on Saturday failed. It was a combination of the humid weather and my own hesitation second guessing a broken thermometer. Once poured the caramel would not firm up. Oh well guess I'll just have a jar of caramel sauce sitting around in the fridge, bummer. So on Sunday, I took David Lebotwitz's advice and decided to rely on my eyes and nose (a risky method indeed, when so close to the bubbling amber) which worked! I think, much like custard, caramel only yields to you once you devote time to learning it's subtle signals. Just think of all the variations, liquors and spices, chocolates, and flavors that await. My only advice is get lots of sugar and cream, so you do not feel bad if you screw it up and wear an oven mit when pouring the cream and butter into your pot. Hot cream hurts like a hornet.


* 1 cup heavy cream
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup water

Special equipment:
parchment paper, a deep-fat thermometer

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.
Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.


I have been trying to tame the wild caramel this weekend. I will post my final results soon. This was take two. I think it set, still have to cut and wrap into individual pieces for Halloween treatses!

Dessert flight at Felidia


A perfect end to a wonderful meal.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This weekend was very apple filled. here are some shots from last night's Enid's Apple pie contest. My pie, "Beso Mi Mutsu" is the one smiling at you. It did not place, but as I watched people devour it, I knew I had done right by it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Yeah this is the same tart that's been all around town ...well kinda. Mine is filled with blueberries and raspberries, not concord grapes. Mind is kind of sloppy, but it's punk.


Hello out there!!!! Do you like to make desserts? Or eat them? Do you want to talk about it? Are you an avid baker? A novice? A member of this blog? A non member? Talk to me. Tell me your thoughts. Bring me your tried, your poured over recipes, Your huddled doughs, yearning to be eaten.....
As a matter of fact let's talk doughs for a sec. Let's talk bread. Let's talk quick bread. Schnick and I made a glorious pumpkin bread with cranberry apple sauce (from Kat!) and dried cranberries. It was quick and delicious. The recipe was from my new favorite blog, bread and honey. It makes two loaves so Schnick took one and I brought one to Christophile and we toasted it and ate it for breakfast!The photographs are divine. The two authors are darling. Check it out. Then come back here and tell me your favorite quick bread recipe. It is the season for swapping breads! Hey! Ho! Let's Dough!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Concord Grape Jam Tart

This is from the October issue of Martha Stewart Living (which is pretty all around amazing). I know, I know, I went a little overboard with the photos. I've been sick all week so my productivity happens in spurts and thus it took me two days to make this dessert–plenty of buffer photo time. Not quite sure what I was doing there with the star placements, kinda reminds me of the Alaskan state flag??? I was watching the VP debates last night....hmmmm! I swear it was not intentional!

Concord Grape Jam Tart

from Martha Stewart Living, October 2008

serves 8-10

For the Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

1/4 cup ice water

For the Jam:

1 1/2 pounds Concord grapes, stems removed ( I used about 2 pints)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup granulated sugar


1 large egg, lightly beaten

Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Crème Fraîche, for serving

1-Make the dough: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together. Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

2-Make the jam: Combine grapes and lemon juice in a medium non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until grapes release their juice, about 7 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing the grapes to release all the juice. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of juice (discard solids). Return juice to a saucepan over high heat, stir in sugar and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the temperature registers 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. (I didn't have a candy thermometer at first and my jam was too liquid, so later I put it back on and simmered it forever and I think it got way too thick and gooey-oh well). Let mixture cool, stirring occasionally.

3-On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each disk of dough to 1/8" thickness. Transfer 1 round to a baking sheet lined with parchment, and fit the other into a 9 1/2" tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim edges flush with tart pan. Freeze both until firm, about 15 minutes.

4-Using the wide base of two pastry tips (one 3/4" in diameter and one 1") cut clusters of holes in the dough on baking sheet to create a bunch of grapes. Using a paring knife, cut a stem at the top. Freeze until firm. (I modified the cutout design to create my Alaska tribute, haha)

5-Preheat oven to 375º. Spread 1 cup jam over the dough in tart pan. Brush top edge of dough with egg. Slide remaining dough round one top, centering the design. Press edges to seal, and trim excess dough. Brush top with egg, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

6-Bake tart for 15 minutes, then gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles. Return to oven, and until golden brown and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Unmold, and transfer to platter. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche!

AMAZING. Happy Fall Everyone!

Nigella in NYC, OMG, OMG.

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who carries a deep fascination/torch for Nigella Lawson but I had to pass this on. She's going to be signing books at the Williams-Sonoma in Chelsea (7th ave & 16th) next weekend. I'm going to be out of town (boo!), but thought some of you locals might want to know.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Marcee's recipe came in the mail today! How darling, it looks and how incr-EDIBLE it sounds. I am definitely investing in some butter and giving it a try