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.
Wednesday is the one day of the week that I actually have what I call my ritual "moment to myself lunch" with the New York Times Dining Section. This past week, I grabbed the morning paper as it arrived at the bakery and searched feverishly for the section. I knew it would be devoted to Christmas and I just couldn't wait until lunchtime—my recent lunches have been pretty short; almost non-existent due to my busy baking schedule. This particular morning, I headed to my office paper and coffee in hand and closed the door. The article was titled, The Gifts? I Forget. But The Meal! I loved reading all the food memories and recipes from nine of the most respected food writers of our time.
When I came to Kim Severson's contribution, I was extremely moved. It wasn't what I had expected or wanted to read. Kim's mom Anne, suffers from Parkinsons Disease. I experienced my own mother's 25 year battle with this debilitating disease. Kim shares her mom's recipe for Gingersnaps and expresses her hope that maybe her mom can muster up enough strength, to roll the tender balls of dough between her shaky hands, just one more time.
I quickly tweeted Kim and made Anne's Gingersnaps the next morning. As you can see from my photo, they came out great. These slightly soft and delicate cookies are perfectly spiced and are exactly what you would expect from a classic ginger cookie. In honor of my mom, Dore Blume, who would have loved these cookies and as an homage to Anne Severson, Merry Christmas.
Recently, while working in the bakery, I noticed a pile of tart dough scraps on the marble work bench. The bakers had just finished lining small tart pans with dough. We make lots of tart shells, the scraps were plentiful, and they were just about to clean the bench and discard them. Our dough is rolled out twice, as over handling activates the gluten and makes the tarts tough. Unfortunately, some dough is discarded. We try to minimize the waste by cutting the dough circles very close to one another. That morning, the thought of throwing out the delicious pile of perfectly good scraps, tugged at my heart strings. I just couldn't bear to waste all that dough and l quickly grabbed the scraps. I did not rework them, instead, using a pastry wheel, I cut the dough into smaller pieces and mixed a few handfuls of our muffin streusel into the dough, wondering what they would be like if they were distributed through out the dough. Next, using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter plain cookie cutter as a mold, I pressed a 1/3-inch layer of the mixture into the cutter to form a round shape and then I removed the cutter. I had enough dough to make several dozen cookies. After chilling them 30 minutes, I finished them off with sprinkling sugar and a touch of coarse sea salt. If you like roasted cashews, chop a few and put them in with the mix. Omit the salt if you use salted cashews. Pop them in a 350°F. oven and bake them until golden brown, about 18 minutes. They were really terrific. Having the streusel crumbs through out the entire cookie, and the fact that you can break small little pieces of the cookie off like a puzzle piece, and pop them in your mouth makes them fun to eat. Tart or cookie? If you serve them with ice-cream on top—a tart. If you eat them as they are—a cookie. Break them up and fold them in your favorite ice cream, heavenly—I call them Scrookies.
To My New Baking Friends and Family,
Wishing you a Happy Passover filled with chocolate macaroons and candied lemons. Please come and visit the bakery for your holiday sweets. If you see me through the window, come in and say hello.
Now join me in the kitchen and lets make macaroons...
Purim is the springtime Jewish festival celebrating the Jews freedom from persecution. King Ahashuerus was almost tricked by his advisor Haman to annihilate the Jews of Persia. Esther, who became his new queen and her uncle Mordecai, the new advisor, helped the King save their people. Haman and his followers were sent to the gallows. The tradition of making hamantaschen has continued throughout Jewish history and they are meant to be shared with family and friends. They are called shalach mones, which is the Yiddish expression for the giving or sharing of food. Shaped into triangles to signify the hat of Haman, these little cakes or cookies can be stuffed with a poppy seed, prune or fruit filling. I add orange juice for the steaming of the dried prunes and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, and of course vanilla.
My granddaughters, Sammijo, Lilli and Chloe, always remind me when the holiday is coming. I love that they continue the family heritage of their great-grandmother Margaret and me, using the family recipe to bake their hamantaschen at home. They fill them with Sarabeth's Peach-Apricot Spreadable Fruit.
Christmas is almost here, and as usual I can be found in my favorite place, the bakery "baking my buns" off. I have been making gingerbread cookies all week and I surprised myself by finding the time to break down this recipe from the very large batch that we make at the bakery. I wanted you to have the recipe in time for Christmas, and I did it! In my previous post (lesson), I teach you how to decorate your favorite Christmas cookies by dipping them in tempered chocolate and then sprinkling them with dragees (silver balls). I love gingerbread and would probably make it all year round if they weren't considered by many, to be a Christmas cookie.
There is a wonderful biscuiterie in Brussels called Dandoy, that specializes in biscuits (cookies) and speculaas (gingerbread). I have been to the shop several times—never leaving without several bags filled with boxes of cookies. I adore the thin and crispy ones and prefer them to the thicker cookies that are made by pressing the dough into a decorative wooden mold. I think they are the best I have ever eaten. (Dandoy has been baking speculaas everyday of the year since 1829.)
I love cookies and adore making them. Most of all I love to eat them. For me, the perfect cookie is always crispy, very buttery, not too sweet, has a hint of salt, and lots of vanilla flavor. When Christmas rolls around gingerbread cookies take center stage at the bakery.
My cookies are very crisp and have a real snap when you bite into them, not to mention the right amount of ginger flavor. I always decorate these cookies with chocolate as I am not a lover of royal icing and food coloring. These ginger tree cookies are dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with small silver candy balls (dragees). The important thing to know is that you must temper the chocolate. You can use this technique for decorating your own favorite cookie recipes.
TO ALL OF MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HOLIDAY, FILLED WITH POTATO LATKES, AND DELICIOUS SHORTBREAD COOKIES.
MY BEST TO EVERYONE,
Yesterday morning began like any other day. I arrived at the bakery and passed through the retail area, said good morning to the girls at the counter and whipped around the bend into the bakery kitchen. The production room was bustling with activity and my mind was whirring with thoughts of chocolate dipped Christmas cookies and getting ready to make the stollen.