Dessert — Prune-style.
Some cookbooks possess that magical gift that makes you feel as if the author is actually speaking directly to you in your very own kitchen.
“Prune” (Random House) takes a different tack. In her new cookbook of which I received a review copy, Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of New York’s beloved Prune restaurant, gives you the impression that she’s talking directly to her crew in the kitchen. The delightful part is that you feel as if you’re scrunched in a corner, ease-dropping on everything that goes on there, from the prep to the service.
Possessing an MFA in fiction writing, Hamilton is a proven storyteller. Besides her singular voice, the recipes come with drip spots on the pages, as well as notes scribbled on torn pieces of tape that look as if they’re stuck to the pages.
You can be a bit of a lazy bone when making this tart. Just a little.
Have you ever rolled a vacuum cleaner over and over and over a dust ball on the carpet, knowing full well if you just bent over to pick it up with your fingers, it would be a whole lot quicker?
Oh yeah, been there, done that. I bet you have, too.
“Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart” is made for times like that — when you’re feeling lazy. But only a tad.
After all, you still have to put the tart together and bake it.
But it does have an ingenious step-saver when it comes to making the filling. It’s all blitzed in a blender. That includes an entire Meyer lemon. Yup, rind, seeds and all. The whole kit and caboodle.
The recipe appeared in Food & Wine magazine’s January 2015 issue. The recipe is by Mary Constant, a Food52 member and winemaker of Napa’s Constant Diamond Mountain Winery, who adapted the crust from the “The Joy of Cooking.”
Just pickle it. Persimmons, that is.
This is one of those home-made treats that makes people take notice.
It adds just a little something special to a charcuterie or cheese platter. And it makes for an eye-opening host/hostess gift.
Now’s the time to get acquainted with “Pickled Persimmons.”
I shamelessly admit I got the idea for making these from Chef Bradley Ogden when I recently dined at his new Bradley’s Fine Diner in Menlo Park. His pickled persimmons accompanied slabs of country pate. The duo together was so good I practically couldn’t stop eating it.
I learned from Ogden only that he used vinegar and Fuyu persimmons (the squat variety that can be enjoyed while still crunchy unlike the Haichiya type that must be eaten only when squishy ripe).
Stuffing that doesn’t have to weigh you down.
Think of this as Thanksgiving stuffing-lite.
Oh sure, it still has half a stick of butter in it.
But there’s no sausage in it. Nor any milk, cream or eggs. It gets moistened with chicken broth instead.
It also gets crunch from a profusion of pistachio nuts. And it gets a grown-up touch with dried figs that have been macerated in sweet white wine overnight. But don’t worry, they don’t come out tasting overly boozy. The alcohol tempers the fruit’s sweetness and adds a rounded depth. If you don’t have the Mucscat or Essensia called for in the recipe, you can improvise. I actually ended up using Canadian icewine I happened to have on hand.
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbook writers, Molly Stevens. It first appeared in the February 2007 issue of Bon Appetit.