Below are some photos of meat pies, made benefit of my friend Brad Preznant's recipe, now living in New Zealand. With access to a reservoir of holiday-left goose and duck fat, I whipped up a batch. My first pasty was with chorizo, chicken and potatoes, and the other with Vindaloo. All good.
Suffering from a jones for poppy-seed bread, I stopped into my local Turkish food market and asked for poppy seeds to grind. The guy told me to try "haşhas," a Turkish poppy-seed paste. I'm glad to have taken his advice.
Hashas is a richer brown than the usual store-bought poppy-seed paste. It's also not quite as sweet. It worked quite well for putting together this sourdough babka flavored with walnuts.
My first Pandolce Genovese was made at school where we used baking powder. Below is a recent bake using sourdough. Incorporating several feeds, it's a bit like baking panettone; 1st impasto (first dough), enriched with eggs, and sugar, then sprinkled with candied fruit, raisins, and my favorite Sicilian finochietto salvatico(wild anise). With two long fermentations, it's definitely worth the effort. The taste pays off, and it's quite addictive. Next time thought of adding vino santo. What do you think of that idea?
One of my favorite "all time" favorite holiday desserts is stollen, the famed fruit and nut bread from Germany, Dresden to be exact. Here's a link to its rich history. My aim this year was to experiment using rye, sourdough, yeast, and... marzipan. Adding it was a whim. The whim worked.
My latest panettone was taken from the master of panettone, Francesco Elmi. It's made without commercial yeast. Its ingredients; lievito naturale, butter, citrus and raisins. Here I replaced the rasins with wonderfully spiced chocolate chips - a wonderful gift from spice master Lior Lev Secarz of La Boite . Thanks, Lior! Still need to tweak some issues, but oh so good.
Baba rhum is a rum soaked pastry whose origins were in Poland, by way of Alsace and Lorraine. A relative of the babka, I think of it as much-too-unappreciated classic. Having craved them for the last few months, I made some at work last week. Not having mold, I used muffin tins and it worked. There's nothing as light but also wet like a baba imbibed with rum.
When I was playing micro baker I picked up a book from school and decided to give reverse puff pastry a go. It's a process where the laminated dough is actually laminating in reverse order, what may seem incredibly difficult and yet it's quite simple if managed properly. Having an abudance of farmers market apples and it being fall I decided to go for another try. Results, so flaky, light and the difference with store bought so noticeable; so with minimal work and just time you can do it too. Having an excess I also made a simple lunch with a sausage, or pigs in a blanket with sublime pork and cheese sausage from my butcher Jonel! While perusing my fridge I found some Brazilian guava paste and decided to make cheese and guava paste pastelito's. Tasty even with a split from just some sealing issues, were delicious all the same. And finally some leftover dough to make palmiers with Chinese 5 spice powder, for the tea time snack.
Waste not, want not, no? And thus man goes out from the desert to bake tarts filled with whatever man can find. In this case, the "man" was me. Inspired by memories of our interview with Jacques Pepin, where he reccounted his mother's frugal but wonderful use of discounted vegetables. Yes, they had blemishes, but they were no less delicious. It's a lesson you learn as a chef or cook; use everything and make it special. And so with some clearly riped fruits (let's call it a party of blushing brides), along with scrap of dough, I whipped up an almond frangipani tart. And how was it? Delectable.
Check out Facebook page of Massimo Vitale. Recently he posted what is known as a "ciambella Romagnola," which sometimes translated as a ring cake, reminds me of a torpedo of dough. Massimo posted to enjoy it with white wine, specifically moscato. He's right. Enjoy.
This past weekend I took a class with James Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. The class was labeled as "Three breads, one dough," and based on Lahey's now famous no-knead dough technique. The class was quite simple in theory, but I walked out filled with techniques and ideas. James is a great teacher, story teller, and believer in craftsmanship.