After all this merciless rain — including the destruction it has wrought even as it’s vanquished our years-long drought — it’s a relief to experience some sunshine, isn’t it?
Yet even on the dreariest, gloomiest day, there’s an ideal way to brighten things up majorly.
Just bake this “Lemon Espresso Pie” that dazzles and delights with a burst of bright sunny citrus in its thick, pudding-like filling, as well as in its crowning layer of velvety lemon curd.
The recipe is the cover star of the cookbook, “Justice of the Pies” (Clarkson Potter, 2022), of which I received a review copy.
The cookbook is by By Maya-Camille Broussard, chef-owner of the Justice of the Pies bakery in Chicago and member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Established 9 years ago, this is a social mission-based bakery that proudly started the “I Knead Love Workshop,” which provides elementary-aged kids from lower-income communities instruction on nutrition and basic cooking.
For months, I’d heard inklings about just how fabulous the Petaluma Italian bakery, Stellina Pronto, was. Then, when a good friend, whose pastry bar is as high as mine, raved about it, I knew I had to make a beeline a couple weeks ago when I was in Sonona Wine Country.
All you need do is look for the line out the door to find it, as there almost always is one.
It’s no wonder, because this bakery, which opened last summer, is first-rate.
That’s no surprise when you realize it was opened by Chef Christian Caiazzo and his wife, Katrina Fried, who owned the highly regarded Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station until its closure in August 2020.
The glass cases are filled with all manner of sweet, buttery treats, most of them sweet, but with a surprisingly wide variety of savory ones, too. Look for pizza to make its debut in the future, too.
During the pandemic, when everyone who was anyone was fussing over their sourdough starter like a new puppy, I was not.
I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger to tend to a starter that needed caring, feeding, and coddling, day in and day out. After all, I already had a husband who needed all of that. (Kidding, sort of.)
So, when it comes to my sporadic bread baking, I rely on packaged dry yeast instead, which is convenient enough to buy at any supermarket and to keep handy in my fridge when the urge strikes.
But along comes 2019 James Beard Award-winning “Outstanding Baker” and head baker at Chicago’s Publican Quality Bread bakery, Greg Wade, who shows how to combine both dry yeast and a preferment for even better results, as evidenced in his recipe for sensational “Oat Rolls.”
It’s all in his new cookbook, “Bread Head” (W.W. Norton), of which I received a review copy. It was written with St. Louis book collaborator Rachel Holtzman.