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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Sullivan Street Bakery Occupies Wall Street

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Jim Lahey: an Occupy Wall Street Bread Donor.

By now you know, the Occupy Wall Street crowd isnt in any danger of starving. In Jeff Gordiniers excellent article in last weeks New York Times, a protester said hed gained five pounds in 12 days. Among the enviable food thats being served at Zuccotti Park: pastrami and corned beef sandwiches from Katzs deli, Ben & Jerrys ice cream and cookies from a former Birdbath baker (which means those are some good cookies). All the carbo-loading protesters have got some terrific bread to snack on, too. Sullivan Street Bakery owner Jim Lahey, who is gearing up to open both his University of Bread and his new Ninth Avenue bakery this winter, has been supplying the protesters with bread for three weeks now. Right now, the deliveries are overage loaves that get delivered around 3 a.m., but eventually Lahey wants to bake directly for OWS. Maybe he can create a special No-Knead No-Greed loaf.
 

Restaurants

Top 5 Trends in Restaurant Desserts

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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.

Upside-Down Cake Recipe

© Tina Rupp
Upside-Down Cake.

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

 

Baking

Mail-Order French Pastries

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The October issue celebrates France. Here, new U.S. shops and mail-order sources that let you taste exceptional French desserts the easy way.

 

Creme Brulee in a Jar

© Kate Mathis
Creme Brulee in a Jar

CRÈME BRÛLÉE

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).

MILLE-FEUILLE

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).

French Macarons

© Kate Mathis
Mail-Order Patisserie: Macarons

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).


CANNELÉS

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).

Related:
The Best Paris Bakeries
Amazing French Dessert Recipes
A Vermont Bakery's Perfect French Tarts and Desserts

Baking

5 Ways to Ruin a Cake

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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.

Malt-Ball Cake by Baked

© 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.

Related: Malt-Ball Cake Recipe by Baked
More Wonderful Cake Recipes

Baking

Greenspan’s CookieBar Launches Delivery

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© Courtesy of CookieBar.
WANTED: Joshua Greenspan spotted trafficking in deliciousness.

Author and baker extraordinaire Dorie Greenspan, with son Joshua, just started New York delivery for CookieBar, their pop-up series and online bakery service. Testing production on a seriously small scale, Joshua personally messengered orders in Manhattan last Friday and will continue in the coming weeks.

Just four signature flavors are available, but anyone who’s tried the crumbly, butter-rich pucks at one of the temporary shops in the last two years will be eager to order two dozen at a time—the approximate minimum. “We did favorites: World Peace; Espresso Chocolate Chip, really chocolate shard—it has pieces of hand-chopped chocolate in it; Sugar-Topped Sablés; and Coconut Limes,” says Dorie. World Peace Cookies are all Valrhona chocolaty and touched with fleur de sel, while the other flavors are tall, with smooth, browned edges that come from being baked in metal rounds. Here, Dorie and Josh delve into the real-world details of an artisanal food business and what legendary artist already scored one of the cookie deliveries. 

What’s the delivery process?
J: The minimum order is $48, but generally people have been ordering two-dozen cookies. They're $2 each, or $2.75 for World Peace.

D: And there's a $5 delivery charge, but you don't have to tip the deliveryman.

J: There was only one delivery where I actually had to go up four flights of stairs and knock on somebody's door and personally hand them a bag, so I'm not too worried about it.

D: You did have a delivery to a famous artist and you got to tour his studio.

Which artist?
D: LeRoy Neiman—he just had his 90th birthday. He did, and still does, a lot of sports paintings. I remember as a kid when the Olympics would show and he would do live paintings. They would say, “OK, back to LeRoy.” Somebody ordered cookies for him as a gift, so Joshua got to tour the studio and see 50 years of paint on the floor.

How did you work out packaging for such beautifully crumbly cookies?
J: What we learned is that we are still looking for packaging. We're looking at custom boxes.

D: You're straddling the need to protect the cookies and the fact that you want people to open the box and say, “Wow!” You also don't want people to open the box and see crumbs. We have these gorgeous designs for the most fabulous boxes you've ever seen, and no one says they're buildable.

Any pop-ups in the works?
D: We'll be at the NYC Wine & Food Festival at SWEET to benefit Share Our Strength on September 30.

J: The hope is that we'll also have something pop-up in September, maybe during Fashion Week, and at least one or two more times before the end of the year.

Many people dream of opening a food business. What’s it like so far?
D: There were so many times I thought, I'll just open a little cookie business. For anyone who bakes, it really is a dream, and then at some point you think, this is crazy. I won't do this. Then you have a kid, and the kid says, “You know, Ma, I always give your cookies to my friends, and they think you should open a shop.” And you think, I'm old enough to know better. We'll get the kinks out, but between the dream and actually getting the cookies out, it's a whole lot of practical stuff. It's good to have help, though. Thank you, Joshua.

(Orders for this week have to be placed today.)

Related: F&W's Best Cookie Recipes

Baking

Write a Pieku for Print

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© Tina Rupp
As American as Cherry-Berry Pie.

Last week, Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin (@fwscout) challenged Twitter followers to write a "pieku" for the November issue: "While developing a story on Pie, we created a new literary form: the Pieku, haikus abt pie. Anyone want to try writing 1 for print?"

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

Events

Nationwide Sugar Rush for a Cause

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Great American Bake Sale


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.

Chefs

It's Official: Lemon Meringue Pie Equals Spring

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© kate krader
Gramercy Tavern's Springtime Lemon Meringue Pie.

Spring officially started on Sunday, March 20. But for me it begins today, when Nancy Olson and her awesome pastry team at Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern introduce their lemon meringue pie to the menu. Of course it’s amazing—a towering piece of pie that’s roughly 50 percent sweet-tart-velvety lemon curd and 50 percent toasted, pillowy meringue with some extra percent flaky-crisp pastry.

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.”

Recipes

Mariah Carey Pregnancy Food

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A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops

© Kana Okada
A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops

Being pregnant with twins seems to have grounded singer Mariah Carey, who at one point reportedly ate a diet of only purple foods.

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.

Baking

Skull Cake

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© Kristin Donnelly
Skull cake.

I would never have called Wilton, the bakeware maker, edgy. The company has entire categories of cake decorations devoted to Dora the Explorer and Spider-Man and makes 15 different kinds of heart-shaped pans. So I was shocked when they sent me an incredible cake mold that forms a three-dimensional skull. It’s part of their Halloween line “for grown-ups” that also includes a skull-shaped ice mold. I made the skull cake last weekend and brought it to a party, where we set it in the middle of the table. As a centerpiece, it straddled the line between hip and gruesome until we sliced it; then, it was nothing more than pumpkin-spice cake.

In honor of Halloween and my new cake pan, here is a slideshow about the history of skulls and another about making skull cake.

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