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.”
Nothing says “I love you” like a basket of fresh-baked muffins loaded with chocolate.
There are times when I con myself into thinking muffins are just a smidge healthful.
After all, if I choose one with bran or whole wheat or carrots or blueberries, it’s not so very bad, is it?
I mean, it’s not as indulgent as eating actual cake, right?
Yeah, with “Chocolate Chunk Muffins,” I’m not going to attempt to play that game.
That’s because there’s no getting around it. These muffins are rich, tender, and super chocolatey. They are like chocolate-chip cookies in muffin form.
And they’re every bit as good as that sounds.
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).
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.