Frankies co-owner Frank Castronovo's wife, Heike, a talented home baker, created Prime Meats' outstanding jam tart with cocoa-flavored pastry. "If she entered it in a country fair in her hometown in Germany, she'd win a blue ribbon," says Frank Falcinelli. "But she has an unfair advantage, since her father is a professional baker in Freiburg, Germany."
This pudding is made with finely milled rice flour, seasoned with cinnamon and caraway and garnished with walnuts, pine nuts and slivered almonds. Known as meghli, it is traditionally served at birthdays and holidays, including Christmas. Rita Nakouzi is eager to make it for her own children one day. "I've been attempting my family recipes more now that I'm pregnant," she says. "Because my kids will be born in America, and their dad's American, I think food will be a great way to teach them about Middle Eastern culture."
For Fabio Trabocchi's Spanish-born wife, Maria, it isn't Christmas without polvorones, crumbly Spanish almond cookies traditionally made with pork fat. Trabocchi developed this all-butter version while he and Maria were living in London and unable to find the Spanish original.
For a simple but elegant dessert, Countess Florence Daniel Marzotto chose to serve a basic sponge cake baked with fragrant almond flour, split in half and filled with a layer of tender pears. Cooked in butter in a covered pan, the pears steam in their own juices, releasing a syrupy sauce all their own.