Sarabeth Levine - Goddess of Bakedom
 
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HOLIDAY CRANBERRY-APPLE PIE

 

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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. 

                                                                                               


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A MORNING COFFEE INDULGENCE + CARAMEL APPLE CAKES

 

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The first  morning cup of coffee is always the best. The pillow-like foam is so easy to make—the Nespresso Milk Frother is the perfect tool. The secret to good foam is organic 2% milk. Now you know how I start everyday before I go to the bakery! And wait until you see the Caramel Apple Cakes that would be perfect with a coffee anytime of day...


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PECAN MOONS AND MY BELOVED "COOKIE"

 

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My mother, Dore Blume, was not only beautiful, but she was smart. She was a trendsetter, a fashion plate and could add  4-digit ledger columns in her head. She raised five children, owned a retail fur shop and later became the buyer/manager of Macy's fur department for 25 years. Shortly after her retirement in 1983 (age 67), our eastside restaurant had only been opened a few months, when our manager decided to relocate without any notice. I called her that morning. "Mother, the manager just quit and you have to come and help me at the restaurant for two weeks. Only two, just until I find a new manager. I have too much to take care of and your the only one who can handle the restaurant." Two weeks turned into ten years. Still not ready to retire, we transferred her to our restaurant at the Whitney Museum to handle the bookkeeping, and finally to our bakery at the Chelsea Market, where she retired at the age of 87— twenty years later. Mother died this past October at the age of 94. 

There isn't an item in our bakery that Dore didn't love— and she could tell you every ingredient in each, as well as how much she liked it. These Pecan Moon cookies were her favorite and she ate one or two every day, always with a comment. "These are delicious", sometimes followed by, "it's going to rain today and the cookies are not crisp". This post is a tribute to her, my beloved "cookie", an amazing human being.


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SABLES-THE CHAMELEONS OF THE COOKIE WORLD

 

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I have loved this cookie forever. The luxury to just grab my jams off the shelves and pop them in my cookies is just the best. The cookie dough for this recipe is simple to make. The French call them sablés. They are sandy in texture, light and buttery in taste, with an extra touch of lemon and salt to brighten their flavor. To be more traditional, you can replace the lemon with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean. Some people liken this dough to shortbread, which has no eggs, but I think this dough has a finer crumb and are more sophisticated—after all, they are a little bit French!

This particular dough has found its way into many of my cookie recipes. (Sometimes I even use it as a tart dough.) In my baking book, I sandwich the cookies with marmalade and dip them in chocolate. You can transform them by substituting cocoa powder, or almond flour for some of the flour, or fill them with chocolate ganache. Or, simply egg wash them and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and finely chopped pecans. Whenever I bake these at Sarabeth's, I always leave a dozen plain and sprinkle them with a little sugar just before placing them in the oven. If you happen to be passing by our bakery, you might just see me through the window, popping a few off the cooling rack into my mouth!


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LEMONY "PEAR-SNICKETY" PRESERVE MAKES NEW FRIENDS

 

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I like to keep my apartment on the cool side, and lately, I have added a cashmere scarf and socks to my sleeping ensemble of comfy warm pajamas. I usually rise around 6:00 in the morning, but lately, it has been so cold and snowy outside, and I have been extra toasty in my bed and the extra half-hour passes quickly. By 6:30, I am off to the kitchen for my predictable cappuccino—two in fact, a toasted, grained bread, plenty of cream cheese, and a very large serving of my orange-apricot marmalade. This morning was different; my mind was filled with ideas for the new Sarabeth's which we plan to open in Tribeca this spring. I was sipping my  second cup, enjoying my new whole-wheat scone covered with the Lemony Pear- Pineapple Preserve, and reflecting on my recent visit to the restaurant job site. Everything is coming together and the kitchens are almost ready for the equipment to arrive and be installed. Can't wait for the brick oven and thinking off all the flavorful dishes that we can cook in it. Brick oven dessert too—what a thought! P.S. I am sure this preserve will find its way there.


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SARABETH'S PUMPKIN WAFFLES

 

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This waffle was inspired by the flavors of our popular Pumpkin Muffin. I remember my first attempt at this slightly sweet, accented with spices, breakfast treat.  I had just finished preparing our Pumpkin Muffins, when I thought, hmmm—what if I place a scoop of the batter in my waffle iron? The flavor was perfect, but the texture and lightness needed work. I persisted and my efforts paid off.  This has become the signature waffle at the Sarabeth's restaurants, and I have received many requests for the recipe—here it is!


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WHAT SHOULD I MAKE FOR BREAKFAST?

 

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IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, you are always thinking about what to make for breakfast on Sunday mornings. This is a recipe I make for my family and it will be on our menu in the near future. It is quick, easy, and delicious, and you won't have to wait on line at Sarabeth's for an hour to have it. Make sure you select good cheese, it really does makes a difference.
 
I love supporting our local farms and so I chose a strong flavored, soft goat cheese and a firmer raw Jersey cow milk cheese like, the Rupert from Consider Bardswell Farm in Vermont, which is similar to Gruyère and Comté. (The farm is owned and operated by Angela Miller, who is also my literary agent.) 

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