My new favorite bread.
I am madly, deeply, crazy as a loon in love.
With this bread.
It’s a solid loaf. It has a beguiling character owing to an unusual backbone of arborio rice. It has every quality you’ve dreamed about in the perfect bread. In short, it’s a keeper.
And I was smitten at the first chewy bite.
Naturally, the recipe comes from one of my favorite bread bakeries — Della Fattoria in Petaluma, where owner Kathleen Weber and her family turn out artisan loaves baked in a wood-fired oven on their ranch. They are breads full of flavor and integrity. Among the first restaurants they supplied was the French Laundry in Yountville, which tells you just how extraordinary the products are.
“Arborio Rice Bread” is from their new cookbook, “Della Fattoria Bread” (Artisan), complete with 63 recipes for everything from Della Fattoria’s signature Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne Boule to Spicy Cheddar Crackers to Sticky Buns.
It appealed to me for its intriguing use of risotto-style rice and because it’s one of the more streamlined recipes in the book as it doesn’t require a starter.
Making bread always takes time and patience. It’s never a quick process. But this particular recipe doesn’t require much heavy-lifting. It also makes two loaves, so you’re amply rewarded after an afternoon of work.
Yigit Pura’s sublime cake that’s flavored with warm spices and nuts.
There’s no shame in going simple. Not even during the holidays.
Take this lovely cake, for instance.
“Spiced Hazelnut-Almond Mirliton Cake” is the easiest cake recipe in San Francisco Pastry Chef Yigit Pura’s repertoire. But that doesn’t mean it’s not special.
On the contrary, it’s everything you want in a cake — moist, airy and delicately fragrant. It’s a most elegant, light spice cake imbued with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and citrus zest. It’s also gluten-free, owing to the fact that it’s made with hazelnut and almond flours, which are roasted in the oven to really bring out their wonderful nuttiness.
The recipe is from Pura’s debut cookbook, “Sweet Alchemy” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.
Would you believe this is gluten-free?
Pura, the inaugural winner of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and the owner of San Francisco’s Tout Sweet patisserie, has created a book that builds on the fundamentals as you go along. Learn how to make Citrus-Scented Panna Cotta and Blood Orange, Grapefruit & Campari Gelee. Then combine both in a gorgeously layered Negroni Creamsicle. Learn how to make a basic Crepe Cake. Then add on Vietnamese Cinnamon Brittle, Butterscotch Sauce, Orange Flower Water Diplomat Cream and Bosc Pears Roasted in Caramel & Indian Spices to create the knock-out Layered Crepe Cake Brulee.
Delicious whale tail-shaped cookies from Honolulu Cookie Company.
Bypass all the craziness of crowds at the mall today — and still give a whale of gift to friends and family this holiday season.
Honolulu Cookie Company’s newest creation is exactly that — a shortbread cookie shaped like the tail of a Hawaiian Humpback whale.
The Hawaiian Islands boast one of the most important Humpback whale habitats on the planet. The whales migrate to Hawaii each year to reproduce.
The cookie company will be donating a bevy of its whale cookies to fund-raising and educational events hosted by Pacific Marine Life Foundation, a non-profit that supports marine research and conservation in the Pacific basin.
Besides drawing more attention to the whales, the cookies are just plain delicious, as evidenced by the sample I recently had a chance to try.
Have you had your Pan dei Morti yet?
All Saints Day, Nov. 1, and All Souls Day, Nov. 2, just got a little sweeter.
Thanks to Emporio Rulli, that is.
In commemoration of All Saints Day, which honors all saints, and of All Souls Day, which is a day of prayer for the deceased, the Italian bakery is baking a new bread, Pan dei Morti.
I recently had a chance to try a sample of this new treat, which will be available through December at all Emporio Rulli locations, plus on its online site.
Yup, the pastry meister behind the Cronut is coming to town.
Join yours truly as I host a Q&A with the legendary Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Williams-Sonoma in Palo Alto’s Stanford Shopping Center.
Yes, the man who started the Cronut craze is coming to the Peninsula to sign copies of his new cookbook, “Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes” (Simon & Schuster).
Ansel, a James Beard Award winner, was classically trained in Paris and was formerly executive pastry chef at Daniel in New York.
The one and only Dominique Ansel. (Photo by Lam Thuy Vo)
He opened his eponymous bakery in New York in 2011. Since then, throngs have lined up each day before dawn, hoping to snag his irresistible mashup of a croissant and a doughnut. Or a Cookie Shot. Or a Waffle Affogato. Or another of his wildly whimsical concoctions.