This pie is one of my favorites. Quintessentially tart, yet perfectly sweet, with just the right balance of spice—andthe ruby like color is spot on for Christmas or New Years. Use your own recipe for a double crust, or try my recipe for Tender Pie Dough. The beauty of this delicious streusel topped pie is that you are going to create a double crusted pie with only one piece of dough. It is a quick and easy technique that I use every time I make a fruit pie. You will love this method and I know you will use it on all of your pies as well. This pie will not disappoint!
Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.
I love this bran muffin and it alarms me that sometimes a great old recipe can unknowingly slip away or be forgotten by the excitement and fickleness of finding a new recipe. Our bran muffin at Sarabeth's has undergone very few changes since its debut in 1981. In fact, every January I review our recipe books and reprint the pages so that we can start the new year with a fresh copy minus the fingerprints of butter and the flour that has found its way between the pages. Sometimes the bakers will make a note or two in the margins; adjustments to the baking time and temperature depending on how large the batches are and how full the oven is. There are also recipe edits that I have made during the year in my own handwriting. These tweaks are subtle—more vanilla, extra lemon zest or a different chocolate.
Last week while working with the evening bakers, I noticed something was not quite right with our bran muffin. (Anyone who has had our muffins knows how particular I am, not only with the taste but with their appearance.) I decided to do the bake off that evening and keep an eye on them myself. I was on a mission and stood in the oven room and watched. To my dismay, the muffins began to spread and they took too long to bake. When they came out of the oven I became impatient—wanting to taste them right away, I restrained myself. You can't judge anything correctly right out of the oven. When I did finally break the muffin opened, I was surprised how overly moist the inside was.—much too wet and although it tasted ok, but it did not have the wow factor of the original muffin.
I opened our recipe book and turned to the recipe. To my surprise I discovered a change in one on the ingredients. It was buttermilk instead of the original whole milk called for in the recipe. How does such a thing happen? Many times the bakers will say" Sarabeth, you made the change", and sometimes they are correct— but not in this instance When one uses buttermilk, there is usually the addition of baking soda to calm the acidity from the cultured milk. That was the tell tale giveaway, there was no baking soda in the recipe. Still puzzled, I turned to my recently published baking book to compare the recipes—as I suspected, whole-milk. As much as I love tweaking and trying to improve recipes— if it's not broken, don't fix it.
I love being in our bakery. In fact, I find it difficult to leave at the end of each day, especially when the bread puddings are just out of the oven and cooling on the rack. I think these are the most decadently-delicious, magically- beautiful desserts I have ever eaten. For me, it is all about the crme anglaise— I have been known to sip it straight from the bowl, or seen pouring some over a slice of chocolate cake, and always churning it into my favorite ice cream. What you will need to make this winning dessert, is good quality bread, crème anglaise and some raspberries. Don't think of these as dinner parties desserts only— you can surprise everyone at your Super Bowl Party next week. If you think the ball game will put your friends over the edge—screaming for joy over the score, wait until you hear the wows, groans, and sighs while they devour the 'gold team line-up' in the photo above. You will be the one with the winning score. Here is the recipe from my cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours.
The frenzy of the holidays has left me in a "full throttle" baking mode and yes, I am still going strong. I made these cookies for the first time about two years ago and fortunately remembered them last week and quickly whipped up a batch to sell in the bakery for New Year's. A spin off of my traditional shortbread, I have added an egg yolk to the dough to give the cookie a more delicate, less "snappy" texture. In keeping with my motto, keep plenty on hand, "There can never be too many cookies waiting in your favorite cookie jar". They are my new favorite and will be available in the bakery on a regular basis in case you don't feel like making them yourself (recipe below).
My baking mantra has always been "less is more". There is nothing more beautiful than a 2 1/4- 2 1/2-inch diameter cookie like this Chocolate-Cherry Shortbread, or a proper sized muffin to feed one person, or a perfectly proportioned 8-inch chocolate birthday cake. If you have my recent book, Sarabeth's Bakery, you are already familiar with smaller sized cookies, pies and cakes that have been my signature for many years. The Pecan Moons are just one bite and the Chocolate Marmalade Sandwich Cookies, approximately 1-3/4 inches across the the top, are impossible to share.
APPLE BRETONNE TARTLETS
This could be one of my all time favorite desserts. What I love about these tartles are the multiple flavors and textures that you can experience in just one bite. First, comes the crunchy almond topping on the roof of your mouth and then the buttery flavor of the crisp crust crunching between your teeth. Next, so smooth and tasty, is the unexpected almond cream surrounding the slightly tart apples. Last, but not least, is the intense flavor of the fresh vanilla bean. The tart shell is very special—the texture and flavor are exactly what you would expect to find at the best bakeries in Paris. I have been using this particular dough recipe for all of our tarts at Sarabeth's for over 30 years. For this reason alone, you must give them a try. This special occasion dessert is definitely worth the extra time it takes to make. Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with good health, happiness and many new delicious things to eat—Sarabeth
These could be the most beautiful and delicious apples I have seen or eaten in a long time. These Macouns are just huge and I couldn't wait to bring them to the bakery to make my first apple pie of the season. They are crisp and juicy, not too sweet —great for eating as well as baking. The visit to the local farm out East was a family affair. My daughter Tina and my three granddaughters, Sammijo, Lilli and Chloe where there to help choose our favorite variety. It was an easy decision because we sampled right from the trees before we made our final decision—these were the winners across the board.
Celebrate the Fourth of July this year and buy yourself an ice-cream maker. Once you make your own, you will never steer your shopping cart down a supermarket ice cream aisle again. This is the best chocolate ice cream I have ever eaten— and I am not apologizing for self praise. It is made with bittersweet chocolate (61% cacao) which produces the most chocolatey-smooth ice cream ever. Splurge and buy Valhrona— it really makes a difference.
The job of an ice-cream machine is to provide a very cold environment that will freeze the liquid mixture in a metal canister into a semisolid state. A turning paddle churns the ice cream, which incorporates air during the freezing process and lightens the mixture. My favorite ice cream machine is electric and has a Freon insert which must be stored in the freezer overnight before churning.
Photograph by Quentin Bacon
These luscious strawberries are the first of the season on the East End of Long Island, and if they are an indication of what's to come, we are in for a yummy crop. When I arrived at Billy Zaluski's farm stand, Billy was taking berries from the rear of his truck and placing them on the farm stand table. It was a good thing that I was having a lengthy chat with Holly, the manager of the stand, or I would have missed the berries. I bought enough for a big potful of jam and off I went feeling very happy with my purchase. They were so ripe and juicy that even my gentle handling of them didn't prevent the berries from coloring my finger tips. It's a good thing our cottage is only a short distance from the stand because I devoured an entire pint on the ride home.
SARABETH'S BAKERY: From My Hands to Yours, by Sarabeth Levine with Rick Rodgers, Forward by Mimi Sheraton and Photography by Quentin Bacon (Rizzoli October 2010)
I am so thrilled to have been nominated for the 2011 James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in the Baking and Dessert category. I was rolling out chocolate palmier when I received the phone call from a friend who had been following the announcements live on Twitter. What an extraordinary amazing moment.
Thank you so much to those of you who were entrusted with the difficult task of selecting this years books. Congratulations to all the talented and wonderful nominees, especially Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain and Fany Gerson, My Sweet Mexico—I am very honored to be included with both of these great books. A very heartfelt thanks to Rick Rodgers, my co-author and dear friend, without his amazing help and experience, this book could not have made it to the printing press. l am keeping my pastry bags crossed.
Here are a few photos that are definitely worth checking out. I decided to photograph this easy technique for you to see how simple it is to roll out and blind bake (pre-bake) a pie shell. This will be very helpful when you want to make a lemon meringue, banana cream, or chocolate pudding pie —or any pie that requires a baked shell that will be filled and chilled to set before serving. Use this technique with your favorite pie dough recipe, or use the Tender Pie Dough recipe from my baking book, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours. I know you will be very pleased with the results.
Blind baking is when you bake a pie or tart shell partially or completely before you add the filling. The shell is at its personal best when baked this way. It allows the pastry to bake completely and achieve its signature light and flaky texture.
Mother met father when she was 22 years old. Joe was a furrier and Doré was a fur model. This photo was taken shortly after they were married and they were attending a black-tie ball in 1939. They loved to dance and were really quite good— my Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. What a stunning couple—if only I could see them on the dance floor one more time.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
HERES LOOKING AT YOU, COOKIE!
YOUR LOVING DAUGHTER, SARABETH
LINZER HEARTS —A PERFECT PAIR
LIKE GINGER ROGERS AND FRED ASTAIRE
LINZER HEARTS (Click here or on the photo for the recipe.)
From Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, Rizzoli 2010
Thank you to Liete's Culinaria for posting my Linzer Heart recipe on their site.
(Linzer Hearts photograph by Quentin Bacon)
BELOVED MARBLE CAKE, every time I pass you sitting on our bakery counter I feel a pain in my heart that you were excluded from the final round up of the "Everyday Cakes" chapter of my baking book. It was not an easy decision. Oh, so tender, moist and chocolaty; scented with a hint of almond, and a touch of coffee. How I love your beautiful brown and golden swirls. This morning as I looked at you, it came to me quite naturally, why not include you in the blog? Let me hurry and prepare you in your beautiful pan for your debut and take a photo. Now, everyone will enjoy you.
Having returned from Cancun with a wet, ruined camera, a lost cell phone, a busy week of work, and another snowfall, Bill suggested we go out to the cottage and chill out for the weekend. I didn't need much convincing and off we went the next morning. It was a beautiful day, and as we were driving, I began thinking about dinner. Roast beef seemed like a great idea. Yes, a nice boneless rib eye would be perfect, and with that settled, we went straight to the market right after we arrived. Buttermilk biscuits and a toasty fire, that would to be the extra treat. I added buttermilk and firewood to my list, and as my luck would have it, the market was out of buttermilk. I was not going to be railroaded. I could still make the biscuits by using a simple substitution, a legal one. What you do is simply, place a small amount of lemon juice in whole milk and let it stand for about 20 minutes. It will sour and is a good alternative for buttermilk. Buttermilk is nothing more than milk that has been soured by adding a culture (lactic acid bacteria). Sour cream and yogurt fall into this same category.
The day before Christmas, I arrived at the bakery around 5:30 A.M. The scones were already in the oven and the bakers were organizing the orders for the first delivery. I decided to make some last minute maple muffins as well as finish my Bûches de Noël. I wanted them to be very fresh for the holiday so I decided to come in early to complete my orders. What a surprise I had when I went into the retail area of the bakery to help the girls restock the jam racks and display our bakery items for our biggest shopping day of the year.
Permanently propped on her nose, was a handcrafted miniature replica of my very own gold- rimless eyeglasses. Stacked on the tray were two of my new books, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours. What an incredible surprise! Jackie, our retail manager, had arranged with the gift-giver to have it secretly delivered the previous evening after I had left the bakery. My spiritual-meditation teacher, Baba Ganapati, had found "her" at a swap meet in Escondido, California, where she was meticulously refinished to her original condition by fellow students. Her eyeglasses were handcrafted in Ghent, Belgium, brought to Esondido, where they were placed on her face. She was shipped to New York City, assembled on her pedestal and delivered to the bakery. There she stands 4-feet tall and quite a beauty. Stop by and see her and have a cup of hot chocolate while you are there. If you see me in the window of the baking room, wave at me and I will come out and say hello. Happy New Year.
and what better time than now, to enjoy Stollen. If you asked most people about Stollen, they would say " Oh no, I don't like fruit cake, not for me". That is because they have never tasted a good one or should I say an authentic one. You see, it is really a holiday German bread with a cake-like texture, which is due to the prodigious amount of butter in the dough. I vividly remember the first time I ate a real stollen; the dried fruits had been perfectly plumped before incorporating them into the yeasted dough, and the nuts had been lightly toasted to bring out their true flavor. My friend and fellow baker Michael London carefully taught me how to form the traditional shape. As you can see in Quentin Bacon's photo, the folded edge is prominent on the top of the stollen. That is the classic look which you rarely see anymore; anyone who really knows stollen will agree. You will see the photo I took of myself making this fold in the recipe below.
Fall is here and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I am at my country hide-away, looking out the window at the remaining orange colored leaves on our trees. Like a streak of lightening, my mind transports back in time to thirty years ago when we opened Sarabeth's Kitchen to make my family's secret recipe–the Orange-Apricot Marmalade. It was around the time of our first Thanksgiving at the bakery on Amsterdam Avenue in 1981. We had recently opened the bakery and people in the neighborhood were excited about our shop. Bill (Mr. Sarabeth, as he calls himself) would arrive every evening at the same time to remind me that it was time to come home. Often we would dash around the corner to Zabar's to pick up a delicious dinner, which was carefully packed in a sturdy white bag with its bold, bright orange graphics printed on each side. On one of those evenings, walking home on our usual route past the shop, we stopped for a last minute peek. There were two people looking in the window at the large display of orange-apricot-marmalade. We moved closer to eavesdrop on their conversation and this is what we heard. The woman said to her friend, "A jam store in Manhattan?" She harrumphed, "She'll never make it!" Bill and I looked at each other in surprise, shrugged our shoulders and went home to eat our dinner. Blink–its thirty years later and we proved her to be wrong.