When you have lemons, make lemonade. When you have beautiful, fresh-off-the-farm, golden yolked eggs with gorgeous, naturally hued, make…rice pudding. The eggs were a gift from my friend and cooking teacher Sue Sell, and they were so pretty that it was difficult to find the resolve to crack them open. (Check out the photo to see how the yolks contributed to the yellow color in the finished dessert...and yes, that is a feather.) But why rice pudding?
On March 25, the long awaited (and long delayed) Season Five premiere of Mad Men will occur, and many fans will return to the tradition of the Sunday night Mad Men dinner. The key to these dinners is choosing food that you can prepare easily so you don't miss a thing on the television. My vote for dessert is Cherries Jubilee, which, if you want to show off, can be done in a chafing dish, or made ahead and warmed and flamed in the ktichen. The dish is traditionally made with kirsch or brandy, which you may not have in the house because they don't feature in many cocktails. Now, bourbon...that's another story! I have lately been adding Four Roses Bourbon (my favorite brand) to the recipe, and it goes down pretty easily! Here's the recipe, a sneak preview from my THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD SIXTIES COOKBOOK, which will be released in April.
My friend Bruce Aidells wrote a great book on cooking with beer (look for a used copy), and he asked me to come up with a contribution. I offered this stout gingerbread, and the recipe now makes an annual appearance on my Christmas baking list. The caramel notes in the stout work beautifully with the molasses and brown sugar. It keeps forever...but it doesn't last more than a couple of days in our house. Make it as a single cake, and it is a perfect addition to a holiday potluck. Bake it in individual mini-Bundt pans and they are terrific gifts. One tip that I have recently learned that I want to pass on: Never put a Bundt pan on a baking sheet for baking. The inner tube must get hot to bake the cake properly, and the baking sheet would block the heat.
Fans of my book KAFFEEHAUS (or more specificially, Austro-Hungarian cooking), often ask me when a new edition is going to appear. All i can say is...I'm working on it! Until that day arrives, here is a torte in the Hungarian tradition worth bringing out a $500 bottle of aged Tokaji for. That's what my friend Arto Szabos did last week. He found a rare bottle of the Hungarian sweet wine tucked away in his house, and decided to open it. Arto, whose late wife Ella was one my mentors when I was writing the book, asked me to provide a recipe that would go well with the wine. His friend, Dee Lewis, made this Hungarian Apricot-Hazelnut Torte, which I created for an article on wine pairings in Bon Appétit a few years ago. And, as the picture proves, it turned out pretty well! Make it for a special occasion...or a a special wine.
Bûche de Noël is one of my first choices for the Christmas dinner dessert. It has a traditional feel, and looks seasonal, and everyone at the table loves it. While there are two versions, vanilla and chocolate, I usually gravitate to the later because it is easy to embellish with secondary flavors like orange and peppermint. This year, Black Forest bûche, is making its debut. With some chopped cherries (available canned or frozen--I have never seen Black Forest cake made with fresh cherries!) and cherry liqueur (kirschwasser is typical, but any cherry booze will do), this will be a Christmas dessert that will require seconds. Interested?
For tea lovers who also have a passion for chocolate, these cookies will be heaven-sent. Rounds of chocolate sugar cookies are joined with Earl Grey tea ganache, which adds the citrus-like taste and perfume of bergamot orange to the filling. Milk chocolate is used in the ganache, as bittersweet could overpower the tea. Rather than roll and cut out the cookies, the dough here is formed into a log, refrigerated, and sliced into rounds, so allow time for the dough to chill.
I am thrilled to announce the publication of my latest books, Tea and Cookies and Coffee and Cake. They are like fraternal twins--you will see some similarities, even if they aren't identical. Both start with lots of information about how to shop for and make your favorite caffeinated beverages, and then offer perfect pastry partners. This recipe for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes is bound to become a favorite at your house, just as it is at ours.