Jim Lahey: an Occupy Wall Street Bread Donor.
Since I'm pretty obsessed with finding great desserts, I spend a lot of time examining pastry menus from all over the country. Here are some of the biggest trends turning up on early fall menus.
© Tina Rupp
1. Black pepper. Salt continues to be popular, but now pastry chefs are experimenting with pepper, which adds a mild heat to desserts like tuiles, sablés and even cheesecake.
2. Brown sugar. Obviously brown sugar is nothing new, but now it's being called out as the title ingredient in pavlovas, tea cakes, pound cakes and cookies. This recipe for simple Iced Brown Sugar Cookies from Baked in Brooklyn is a great way to embrace the trend at home.
3. Chocolate crémeux. The French word just translates to "creamy." The silky, pudding-like dessert seems to be the new darling on pastry menus. For an Italian take on this classic, try this Milk Chocolate Cremoso recipe.
4. Duck fat, lard and foie gras. These fatty faves are adding a savory element to cookies, profiteroles and even s'mores.
5. Upside-down cakes. Pluot, peach, blueberry, black plum, and of course pineapple are some of the fruits starring in this easy cake. The most interesting fruit in rotation has to be tomato, seen at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. Here's our recipe for the perfect upside-down cake.Related: 30 Beautiful Desserts
Delicious Chocolate Desserts
Fabulous Apple Dessert Recipes
The October issue celebrates France. Here, new U.S. shops and mail-order sources that let you taste exceptional French desserts the easy way.
© Kate Mathis
Creme Brulee in a Jar
Dessert in a Jar: Petaluma, California–based Rob Waddell sells the silky dessert in three flavors. You'll need to blowtorch the top to get a restaurant-style crackly crust. ($40 for six 4-oz jars; sweetcremebrulee.foodzie.com).
Delicate Pastry: The layers of cream and puff pastry are too fragile to ship, so a visit to Olivier Dessyn's NYC shop is the best way to try his signature sweet. (552 Laguardia Pl.; millefeuille-nyc.com).
© Kate Mathis
Mail-Order Patisserie: Macarons
Champion Cookie: F&W editors tried macarons from seven bakeries and liked the ones from NYC's Macaron Café best: crisp but chewy almond-flavored cookies sandwiching intense fillings. Our favorite flavor: caramel. (From $15 for six; macaroncafe.com).
Pâtisserie Legend: Paris's Maison Ladurée, the pâtisserie credited with creating macarons in the early 20th century, finally opened an outpost in New York City, its first in the US. (864 Madison Ave.; laduree.fr).
Bordeaux-Born Cake: Gil Ortale has built his Philadelphia bakery business around a French regional sweet: the cannelé, a caramelized, fluted miniature cake with a custardy interior. ($25 per dozen; marketdaycanele.com).
Here, Baked co-owner Matt Lewis explains how you can do wrong by his number-one passion in our new blog series called What Not to Do.
© Tina Rupp
Malt-Ball Cake by Baked.
This is my relationship with cake: Cake is kind of my obsession, and I probably eat too much of it. I much prefer cake to cupcakes (the frosting/sponge/filling ratio is more to my liking), and I prefer cake for breakfast as opposed to a post-dinner sugar binge (cake goes extremely well with that first hit of coffee). I will eat almost any type of cake—but I really like dark-chocolate versions. As much as I want to love every cake, though, it's not always easy. Sometimes we do things to cake that we normally wouldn't do to things we love. Here, five ways to ruin a cake:
1. Put toilet-paper rolls in it. The disturbing trend of treating cake as a Michael's craft experiment is kind of gross and completely unappetizing. Do people actually eat cakes filled with chicken wire? Would the food world rise up if this trend started hitting other foodstuffs (i.e., salmon molded into the shape of your favorite cat, or pork chops twisted into a Prada purse)? Leave cake alone.
2. Experiment with food coloring. Perhaps I worry too much, but I think ingesting a cake that is neon red is not good for you—and I really do think some food colorings/gels add a slightly weird chemical-ish taste to cakes and icings (especially in large quantities). I love some of the natural brands, like India Tree, and I really appreciate the lighter shades that less food coloring imparts—they just seem more eatable.
3. Fetishize frosting. Bad cake cannot be covered up, and good cake should not get lost in mounds of frosting. Frosting should complement a cake, not overpower it in sweetness or in weight. By the way, icing shots are gross (think of salsa shots). Let's not encourage this trend.
4. Bake it to clean out the pantry. This goes for almost any recipe. Make sure you use fresh ingredients—baking soda and baking powder lose their potency over time, and old spices are ineffective and will impart an "off" taste. Also, if you are making a chocolate cake, make sure to start with a really good chocolate, since it is the star of the show.
5. Roast it. Most ovens are off by a few degrees at best, and wildly inaccurate at worst. Buy a cheapo oven thermometer to gauge your true oven temperature and adjust accordingly. Oven temperature is key to good baking. Overly hot ovens can cause cakes to be crispy on the outside and goopy on the inside, while your cake might not rise properly in a cooler oven.
Matt Lewis is the co-owner (with Renato Poliafito) of Baked in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He doesn't eat enough leafy greens. Oh, and he co-wrote two cookbooks: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Baked Explorations. He is currently very behind on his third book, due out in October 2012.
© Tina Rupp
As American as Cherry-Berry Pie.
The offer still stands through July 31. Tweet the hashtag #pieku @fandw @fwscout with your own pro-pie haiku to be eligible. For pastry envy and inspiration, here's a sampling of the poetic Tweetstorm:
@cettedrucks: tucked in crust, bubbling/crimped edges, lattice top or/a la mode. slice served.
@ashleyzink: Grandma taught mom how; Her pie recipes passed down; I'm the baker now!
@rthnnthrntn: dearest apple pie / my tastebuds are so thankful / but my hips are not
@melagustin: Buttery, flakey / Cradling sweet juicy cherries / This is my heaven
@ddavila: Fresh Key Lime Pie Dream Bright & Light Whipped Cream Delight. So Tart & Tangy
@Justinchapple: berry pie, good pie; peanut butter, better pie; pumpkin pie, favorite
@msvallis: Crust not overworked, blueberries firm and lemon tart, eat you in a day
Bloggers around the country are turning off their computers and getting their hands floury this weekend to raise funds for Share Our Strength, a D.C.-based nonprofit that fights childhood hunger. The Great American Bake Sale, now in its ninth year, has raised over $6 million to date to support S.O.S.’s mission to make sure no child in America goes hungry. A huge network of fantastic bloggers are hosting bake sales, like the folks behind Peanut Butter and Julie in Nevada, Green Eats in Durham, NC, What’s for Dinner Mom? in Alaska and Rhubarb and Honey in St. Louis. You can find a bake sale near you on the Great American Bake Sale website.
© kate krader
Gramercy Tavern's Springtime Lemon Meringue Pie.
The pie is the brainchild of GT pastry sous chef Alex Ray, whose grandmother made it for every holiday. Ray obsessed about everything from the meringue (she went classic, not Italian, which is made with boiling-hot sugar syrup) to the pastry (she went with sweet pastry, as opposed to more savory pâte brisée) to the burning question of whether to serve the pie with ice cream. And if so, what flavor. At press time, the answer was salted-cashew ice cream. “But that’s negotiable,” says Olson. “If someone wants vanilla, we can do that. This is Gramercy Tavern, it’s like Garanimals here. Mixing and matching is our game.”
© Kana Okada
A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops
She’s giving in to her pregnancy cravings by cooking and eating comfort foods like “smothered pork chops, collard greens, red beans and rice and pecan pie with homemade whipped cream,” says her husband, Nick Cannon, in an interview with People magazine.
Check out more super-satisfying recipes in our Southern Comfort Food slideshow.
© Kristin Donnelly
Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.