Red Miso Ginger Salmon is flavorful and delicious grilled or broiled. I admit that I have gotten away from eating fish. First, it’s very expensive in the Midwest unless you are buying lake fish. And secondly I don’t own a grill and making fish in the apartment usually means that I am stuck with that smell for a couple of days.
Atlantic salmon was actually a favorite food growing up. My mother would always get salmon steaks and we kids would fight over the crispy skin that surrounded the flesh. And then somehow I grew away from it. But I was watching Tiffani Thiessen the other night and she made a Red Miso salmon on the grill that looked so beautiful, I decided to give it one more try. And I’m really glad that I did. Mine was cooked under the broiler and had the addition of fresh ginger. Unfortunately cedar planks were unavailable at my store, but we never missed it. So don’t fret if you don’t have it either
This Red Miso Ginger Salmon couldn’t have been easier to prepare and the final product was delicious and a treat for the eyes as well. I served it with an Israeli Couscous salad with roasted vegetables and feta cheese along with Moroccan Beet Salad and homemade hummus and a riff on a Jerusalem salad. This was a perfect summer Shabbat dinner.
2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, rinsed and patted dry (Mine actually had the skin on.)
Heat the oven to broil with a heavy-duty pan inside. (For less mess, line the pan with foil. If you do not have a broiler, heat the oven to 425 degrees F. For grilling instructions, check out the original recipe.)
Combine the honey, lime juice, miso, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl or measuring cup. Mix well.
Lightly oil the pan or foil and place the salmon on top. Spoon enough sauce over the top to cover well. Reserve some sauce to spoon on just before serving.
Cook according to your oven instructions (door open partially or door closed). How long you cook the fish will depend on how thick it is and how rare you like it. I do not like rare fish but I like it to just flake easily. Mine took 15 minutes and was about 1-inch thick. Just keep an eye on it.
This earth-toned Creamy Roasted Mushroom Cauliflower Soup tastes rich and decadent without the guilt! The flavor is earthy and full of umami. The texture is silky smooth and dissolves on your tongue.
I was coming to the end of my two weeks worth of produce and was trying to come up with something for dinner. I still had a cauliflower and 3 largish Portobello mushrooms to use up. Not yet sure what I was going to make, I decided to roast them and thought I would figure it out later.
The roasted veggies smelled soooooo good that I thought why not combine them into a creamy soup. The result was even better than I had imagined and it would be irresponsible not to share it with you. While I did use chicken stock and a little butter, this could easily be made vegan. Just swap them out for a quality vegetable stock and either buttery vegan sticks or a bit more EVOO.
This Creamy Roasted Mushroom Cauliflower Soup makes a wonderful first course or a dinner when accompanied by a salad and some good bread. This is good enough for a special dinner, but easy enough to make on a weeknight, especially if you roast the veggies the day before.
The speckled earth-tones of this Creamy Roasted Mushroom Cauliflower Soup is my idea of beauty. However, if it isn’t yours, just close your eyes, take a spoonful and be prepared to be moved. It’s THAT good.
1 head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds) cut into small florets
3 large Portobello mushroom caps, whole or cut into thick strips
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, preferably unsalted
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or vegan buttery substitute
Kosher or sea salt and flavored pepper like Mrs. Dash
EVOO plus more for drizzling (use garlic, basil or lemon flavored if you have it)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives or oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and raise the rack to the second from the top. You want the vegetables to be 6 to 8 inches from the top of the oven.
Liberally drizzle a baking sheet with EVOO (Just regular good quality EVOO). Toss the cauliflower and mushrooms in the oil. Liberally sprinkle with salt and the flavored pepper. Make sure that the veggies are in a single layer on the pan. Roast for about 30 minutes and then turn the veggies over and continue roasting for 10 more minutes. These can be made a day ahead and refrigerated if you like.
In a 5 quart pot, warm 1 Tablespoon of EVOO over medium high heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more.
Once the veggies are roasted, add them to the onions in the pot along with the stock and butter. Bring to a boil, partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool down to simply warm. While you can use an immersion blender (And I do love them!) you will get a smoother texture if you use a standing blender. Place the mixture in the blender and blend on low until smooth. Do not try to do this with very hot soup or you will have a mess on your hands!
Chocolate Stout Gingerbread Cake is everything that makes the fall and winter cold worthwhile. When I baked this cake my house smelled of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and molasses. And did I mention chocolate? Every time I lift the cover on my cake plate the scents of mulled spices waft up and fill me with the smells of cozy snuggles in front of the fireplace.
This incredibly moist, dark, rich – and yet simple – cake is the perfect dessert for those long, chilly evenings that will be with us for the next several months. Eat Chocolate Stout Gingerbread Cake as is or warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. And if you can’t find chocolate stout, any dark stout will work here. While this gingerbread certainly is not complicated, you can also try the James Beard Gingerbread which is so easy and quick that I used to make it for my son to enjoy after I returned home from a long day of work.
3/4 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I used Canola)
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a cooking spray with flour such as Baker’s Joy, generously coat a 10-cup bundt pan. Be sure to use one that does not have a lot of grooves or the moist cake will be more likely to stick.
Heat the molasses and stout in a deep, medium saucepan until it comes to a boil. (You need a lot of headroom in the pot!) Turn off the heat and stir in the baking soda. The contents will whoosh up so be prepared. Allow the foam to subside and the mixture to cool a bit.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and all of the dry spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the granulated and brown sugars until there are no lumps. Then whisk in the oil until smooth.
Now whisk in the molasses/stout mixture and then gradually whisk in the dry ingredients just until mixed through. Stir in the fresh ginger. The batter will be rather liquidy but don’t worry – it’s the way it should be.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. This can take anywhere from one hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Allow the cake to cool most of the way in the pan – until you can easily handle the pan with your bare hands. Gently run a thin spatula around the edges of the cake. Then turn the cake out. I had to give it a few good bangs onto my cake plate but it came out cleanly. Now enjoy! My husband especially loves eating the cake warmed up in the microwave for about 10 seconds with vanilla ice cream and old-fashioned fruit compote on the side.
Tarte Citron Mama appeared in the June, 1979 Bon Appetit magazine. It was described as a 14th century French dessert and wasn’t quite like any other dessert I had ever seen or tasted – then or since. I have not been able to find anything like it online, although it does sound as if it may be similar to a recipe found in The Lutece Cookbook. Thankfully I wrote the recipe down years ago because I can no longer locate the magazine in my bookcase….
This is a lemon and almond tarte but without conventional pastry or custard. And while I am not normally a huge fan of meringue, when it is mixed with the ground almonds, I found it transformed. The resulting tarte is just a little bit sticky, a little bit chewy, incredibly moist, bright and light with the fresh taste and fragrance of citrus and almonds. Tarte Citron Mama is theperfect ending to a rich meal.
While it is easy to come by ground almonds these days, I like to grind my own for this recipe. The almonds won’t be quite as fine when I do it, but that is part of their charm. Making this dessert takes a bit of patience, but the steps are easy to follow. And unlike a lemon meringue pie, the meringue here is a relatively thin layer. On the day I made it, there is a little crispness to the meringue and each of the layers is easily discernible, whereas on the second day some magical alchemy takes place and all of the layers meld together. However you enjoy it, this luscious tarte won’t last long.
And while I made use of 21st century appliances, since this dates back to the 14th century it can be made entirely by hand – and with a LOT of elbow grease! So when you have a little time and you want to give your friends or family a delightful and totally surprising dessert, try this 14th century tarte.
I don’t know what lemons were like in the 14th century, but I find that most lemons these days – even organic ones – tend to have thick skins, a lot of pits and pith and not a great deal of fruit. Meyer lemons are sweeter, thinner skinned and less acidic, which is perfect for this recipe. It’s seeking them out if you plan to try this. And I encourage you to do so.
Recipe slightly tweaked by me
Yield: One 9-inch tarte (about 6 generous portions)
3 extra large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of one lemon
1.75 cups raw almonds with skins, finely ground with 2 teaspoons of the sugar
1 Tablespoon of flour
Generous pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Approximately 6 lemons (Meyer lemons work best, in my opinion), with all of the skins and pits removed and cut into thin slices
2 extra large egg whites (Use the left-over yolks in your next omelette)
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
For garnish (Optional but really nice)
Strips of lemon peel with all of the white pith removed (I use a boning knife to achieve this) from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons granulated or castor sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. VERY generously grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Pay special attention to the inside rim.
Combine the 3 yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl and whisk until the yolks become very pale and will “ribbon” when you lift up the whisk. Add the lemon zest, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and mix through.
Blend in 1 cup of the ground almonds and the Tablespoon of flour.
Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the yolk and almond mixture to loosen things up. Then carefully fold in the remainder of the whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned.
Remove the base of the tarte from the oven, but leave the oven on to maintain the temperature.
Cover the top of the tarte base with the lemon slices, overlapping them slightly.
Beat the remaining 2 egg whites until soft peaks form, Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the remaining ground almonds.
Using a spatula dipped in cold water, carefully spread meringue evenly over the top, covering the lemon slices completely.
Return the tarte to the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the meringue becomes golden.
Remove the tarte from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before trying to remove it from the tart ring. Don’t worry if the meringue cracks. When completely cooled you can add the garnish to the tarte.
Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water in a small pot on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the thin strips of lemon peel and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes. The peel should have softened.
Remove the peel from the syrup and roll the pieces in the granulated or castor sugar. Spread the sugared peel on a piece of waxed paper to dry. This same process can be used to candy orange peel. The remaining flavored simple syrup can be refrigerated to use later in a variety of mixed drinks or even added to homemade lemonade.
After seeing four separate blog posts come up on my Google feed for Tomato Tarte Tatin, I figured I had to try one of them. The caramelized corn and tomato tarte tatin simply was too pretty not to try it. And as farmer’s markets and grocery stores are stocking a bounty of tomatoes and corn, this recipe seemed a natural to make.
The most difficult part of the recipe for me was lifting the heavy cast iron pan to turn out the finished tarte. My husband had to perform that task. But everything else really only took minutes to prepare and none of the ingredients is hard to find. Of course, I had to tweak it to my tastes. This particular version called for Everything Bagel Spice and I preferred to use Za’atar. You can make your own or buy very good ready-made versions online and in many grocery stores. It is a Middle Eastern spice mix that can be used in so many ways that I really recommend keeping it on hand. Lately I have been having farmer’s cheese on brown rice cakes with halved grape tomatoes liberally sprinkled with za’atar for breakfast and I’m not tired of it yet.
Next time you have pita or naan, brush it with some EVOO and sprinkle on za’atar. Pop in the oven for a couple of minutes and enjoy. It’s also great on grilled meats, over eggs and on yogurt.
The tarte is best eaten warm from the oven. And if it sits too long, the pastry will get a bit soggy from the tomato juices. It makes a great appetizer or summer luncheon or dinner with a green salad. The flavor is both sweet from the corn and tomatoes and savory from the cheese and spices. The corn lends a nice bite to each mouthful. This simple preparation is loaded with umami.
My husband and I did get distracted and we left my tarte in the pan too long before inverting so the tomatoes continued to cook. If you turn it out after only 5 minutes the result will be brighter looking than my finished product. It was, however, still delicious.
If you are looking for another wonderful use of summer’s bounty, check out the tomato and plum galette. This recipe seemed like a surprising combination to me and yet it worked perfectly. After all, tomatoes are fruits.
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or Pomegranate Molasses
1 tablespoon honey
2 ears yellow corn, kernels removed from cob
1/2 cup shredded Havarti or provolone cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons Za’atar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a 10-inch heavy duty oven-proof skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes, shallots, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes begin to pop, about 4-5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey and continue cooking another 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Remove from the heat and gently push the tomatoes into an even layer, covering the surface of the skillet. Sprinkle the corn over the tomatoes and then add the cheese.
Place the pastry over the top of everything and press down gently to secure, tucking the sides of the pastry under the tomatoes as best you can. Brush the top of the pastry lightly with water and sprinkle with Za’atar spice. Using a sharp knife, make 3 small cuts in the center of the pastry.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes and then place a serving plate over the skillet. Carefully invert the skillet and allow the tarte tatin to fall out onto the plate. Garnish with thyme. Slice, and serve warm. Enjoy!
So what’s a galette, you say? Very simply, it is a free-form tart. It can have a sweet or savory filling and is usually referred to as “rustic.” The galette is unfussy. But my favorite aspect of a galette is the lovely filling that gets hidden under the part of the crust that is folded over. So when I take that bite, I get all of the luscious, fruity filling nestled into the buttery, sugary crust. It’s kind of like a pop-tart – if it were made by the goddess Hestia.
Now nothing says summer like fresh, gorgeous, purpley blueberries. I have been using them in my yogurt, on cereal or right out of the box. So, of course, it followed that the next dessert I made would include them. And since I recently discovered this wonderful and easy to work with pastry dough, a galette was the perfect response. It’s the same dough that I used for my apricot frangipane tart. This dough was a revelation.
I have been making pie dough for decades. Now don’t get me wrong. My Crisco vegan crust still makes a wonderful pie crust – but it is a bit temperamental. A LOT of patching is frequently involved and occasionally a few tears.
But this all-butter crust is tender and crispy with sugar crystals on top and just plain yummy. And BEST of all – it is fool-proof. I have made it several times this summer and it works out perfectly each time. The dough comes together easily and rolls out beautifully – no patching involved! Valerie Bertinelli deserves all of the credit and I am happy to give it to her.
Throw the dough together in the morning or the night before and bake up this luscious galette for dinner.
Note:Yes, that is an apricot in the middle of the galette. I discovered it in my fruit drawer as a left-over from my Apricot Frangipane Galette. It was past the point of eating fresh so I decided to throw it on top so it wouldn’t go to waste. It is NOT essential to the tart although the color contrast was nice and the apricot was delicious when baked. That dark brown on top is simply caramelized butter and sugar.
Yield: About 8 servings
1.5 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 stick (8 oz.) cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon distilled or apple cider vinegar
4-5 Tablespoons ice water (I used 5 T every time)
18 ounces blueberries, washed and dried
1 apricot cut into quarters (Optional)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon (About 2 Tablespoons)
pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
1 rounded Tablespoon berry jam
2 slightly rounded Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup crushed amarettini cookies
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment.
For the dough
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter cubes and give 10 quick pulses. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs with some lumps of butter.
Drizzle in the vinegar and 4 Tablespoons of the water. Pulse just until the dough comes together and begins to ball up. If necessary, add up to 1 more tablespoon of the water but use as little as possible. [I used 5 T every time.] Gather the dough into a ball on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Flatten into a thick disk and refrigerate for at least one hour but up to 3 days.
When you are ready to bake, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet or pan lined with parchment.
For the filling
Gently toss the blueberries with the zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, jam and 1/3 cup of sugar just before you are ready to fill the pastry.
Scatter the crushed amarettini cookies over the dough leaving about a 2-inch border. Carefully pour the blueberries over the crushed cookies. If you are using an apricot, place the quarters in the middle of the blueberries. Dot with 2 Tablespoons of the butter.
Fold up the edges of the dough, gently pleating them where necessary to close the “circle.” Melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter and brush it all over the pastry edges. Sprinkle liberally with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar. If you have a coarser-grained sugar, you can use that.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Remove the pan to a cooling rack and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting. This gives the juices time to be absorbed. It’s wonderful on its own or with a little vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.
I enjoy fruits in whatever season, but there is just something about summer fruits that sets my baking heart singing. These gorgeous apricots were in the market and immediately I knew what I was going to make for Shabbat dessert.
Apricots pair beautifully with almonds – as do many fruits. And having always been a sucker for marzipan and frangipane, I knew what I had to do. So I looked up a few different recipes and then came up with this lovely tart.
Putting a Recipe Together
The pastry comes from Valerie Bertinelli and is an all-butter crust. It is very easy to prepare and even easier to work with. While you could use this dough any time you are making a pie, sweet tart or galette, feel free to use any favorite pastry crust you prefer, including a vegan crust. There is no need to be afraid of making your own pastry, but if you must, you can use a good store-bought pie dough.
Almond paste (which is different from marzipan) can be purchased and used instead of the frangipane here. However, the frangipane will give you more of a custardy filling. I have several frangipane recipes, and lots of almond flour in my freezer. In the lead-up to Passover, I always go a bit overboard in stocking up and then search for ways to use up the extra nut flours for months! After checking out David Lebovitz for a summer galette, I tweaked his frangipane recipe, which didn’t have enough oomph for me after trying it out with a blueberry galette.
Don’t get scared off by the length of the recipe. The different pieces can be made ahead or at different times. No single piece of the recipe is difficult. And the actual assemblage is fairly quick. The frangipane prevents even juicy fruits from reducing your crust to a soggy mess.
Changing it up
This Apricot Frangipane Tart is perfect. But use it as a jumping off point to experiment. Switch out the apricots for cherries or blueberries or apples or pears in the fall and winter. Make a free-form galette instead of the slightly more fussy tart. The point is that you too can learn to look at recipes to create your own signature desserts.
4-5 Tablespoons of chilled water (I always have used 5 Tablespoons)
For the frangipane
3/4 almond flour
4 ounces room temperature almond paste (Left-overs can be wrapped well and stored for another use)
1/4 (4 Tablespoons) cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached flour
Generous pinch of kosher salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 large or extra large egg
For the topping
About 1.5 pounds of apricots, halved and pitted
3 Tablespoons apricot jam, melted
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon almond slices (optional)
For the pastry
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter cubes and give 10 quick pulses. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs with some lumps of butter. Drizzle in the vinegar and 4 Tablespoons of the water. Pulse just until the dough comes together and begins to ball up. If necessary, add up to 1 more tablespoon of the water but use as little as possible. Gather the dough into a ball on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Flatten into a thick disk and refrigerate for at least one hour but up to 3 days.
For the frangipane
In a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, smush the almond paste until it is softened. Add the almond flour, 3 Tablespoons of the sugar, softened butter and the flour. Mix it as much as possible and then add the egg and almond extract. Mix through until you have a fluffy, creamy product. If you wish to make this ahead you can refrigerate it. Bring it to room temperature when you are ready to assemble the tart.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment to catch any drips and to make clean-up easier.
If you are using a tart pan with a removable bottom, roll out the dough to about 1 to 2-inches larger than the pan. Roll the dough back onto the rolling pin and unroll it into the pan. Fold over about 3/4-inch of the excess dough and either smooth the top or slightly flute it. There are many places online where you can see how to prepare pie/tart dough if you have never done it before.
Using a spatula, spread the room temperature frangipane across the bottom of the tart shell. Then depending on the size of your apricots, either place halves, cut-side down nestled on top of the frangipane, or cut the halves into quarters or thickish slices. You want the fruit to pretty much completely cover the top of the frangipane. You can also add cherry halves in the spaces in between if you like.
Dot the apricots with the butter and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the fruit.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until the pastry is browned and the fruit is cooked. Allow the tart to cool for about 10 minutes. Then using a pastry brush, carefully brush the fruit with the warmed apricot jam. Scatter the almond slices over the top, if using.
A financier is an almond and brown butter pastry baked in a small mold. These light and moist pastries have a crisp eggshell-like exterior and traditionally were baked in small rectangular molds that resemble gold bars. They became a favorite of bankers in the Paris financial district.
While popularized in nineteenth century France, these delectable little pastries date back to the Middle Ages. They were originally made by nuns of the Order of the Visitation and were called a visitandine.
Turning Flour Into Gold
When you bite into one of these delights, the combination of brown butter and almond flour explodes with an instant burst of caramelized deliciousness. Financiers are deceptively simple to make, but unlike the classic Madeleine, they don’t disappoint. Marcel Proust has A LOT to answer for!
I have looked at numerous recipes for the financiers and they are all pretty similar. By some wonderful alchemy, these simple ingredients bake into pure pastry gold. The following recipe comes from the Joy of Baking and makes 12 little pastries. Since the financiers are best warm from the oven, this number was perfect for me.
Don’t worry if you don’t have rectangular or boat-shaped molds. These work out fine using small muffin cups.
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter plus 2 Tablespoons melted for brushing the tins
1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 cup (55 grams) ground almonds (can use almond meal/flour)
3/4 cup (90 grams) confectioners (powdered or confectioner’s) sugar sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large (90 grams) egg whites lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh berries (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) with oven rack in the center. Place 12 shallow, rectangular or boat-shaped tartlet molds (or mini-muffin cups) on a baking pan. Brush each tin with melted butter.
Place the 1/2 cup of butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over medium heat. [You need to be able to see the color of the butter change so please don’t use a dark pan.] Melt the butter and allow it to come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils, you will notice foam coming to the surface. Continue to cook the butter until it starts to look clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan. The butter will turn a golden brown. [This happens all of a sudden so do not walk away!]
Immediately remove the butter from the heat and pour it through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth.
Allow the now clarified brown butter to cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup of brown butter for the recipe. I didn’t have any left over, but if you do you can use this to brush the tins.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Be sure to break up any lumps from the ground almonds.
Make a well in the center and fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla and the brown butter.
Fill each mold almost to the rim. Bake the pastries for 5 minutes or until the batter is set around the edges but still soft in the center. [I originally baked it for 4 minutes so my berries sunk a bit more than was perfect.]
Remove the pan from the oven and place raspberries or blueberries on top, if using, which I recommend. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the financiers are golden brown and springy to the touch. Ovens vary but mine took an additional 7 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Once cool enough to easily handle, the financiers should easily pop out of the tins. These are best served warm, but they can be stored for a few days, covered, at room temperature.
About 10 years ago, I brought a group of Catholic High School teachers to Israel for a program that I created. Among the many wonderful things that we did during that visit was to travel to the Catholic Maronite Palestinian village of Fassuta on the Lebanon border in the Upper Galilee. We were given a tour of the village by the then mayor, who seemed to know everyone there. We were unable to move more than a few feet without someone greeting us and inviting us in for fruit or coffee or juice. One older woman had a small but beautiful garden with fig trees and grapes. We happened to be there at the exact moment of fig ripeness perfection and she immediately started plucking these plump beauties right off of the tree and passing them around. I probably ate six or eight of them before I had to cry “uncle.” I have been spoiled for fresh figs ever since and have never been able to find any in my market that even come close to tasting like those figs from a garden in Fassuta.
However, I was watching a video from POV Italian Cooking about making fig bread from slightly over-ripe fresh figs and decided that the figs that I could find in my market would probably work for this recipe. I made a couple of small changes, including adding toasted walnuts and the result is an AMAZING “tea” cake. If I close my eyes, it can make me conjure up that beautiful garden in the Galilee.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 Tablespoon cognac (Even though there is vanilla in the Lievito Pane degli Angeli, I like to add additional vanilla.)
1 cup toasted and coarsely broken walnuts
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack in the center. Lavishly butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (preferably non-stick) and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper which you then also butter. Pour 2 rounded Tablespoons of granulated sugar into the bottom. Carefully angle and tap the pan so that the sugar coats the bottom and sides. This gives a lovely sugary crust to the outside of the bread.
Cut off the bottom and stem of each fig. Split the fig into quarters and cut the quarters into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size of the fig. Place in a bowl and with the back of a fork, slightly mash the figs. Take 2 tablespoons of the flour you will measure out and toss it with the figs. This will prevent the fig pieces from all falling to the bottom. Set aside.
In a standing mixer (or by hand) cream the softened butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix through.
In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, salt and Lievito Pane degli Angeli or the baking soda and stir through to mix.
In 2 or 3 additions, mix the dry ingredients with the butter, sugar and egg mixture until you have a fairly thick batter. Fold through the walnuts and figs by hand. Don’t worry too much about smushing the figs, although try not to over-do it!
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top is a lovely dark brown and the smell is intoxicating. And yes, when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean! Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a cooling rack. By then you should be able to handle the pan with your bare hands. Run a thin spatula or knife around the edges of the pan. Turn the bread out onto the rack, remove the parchment and allow it to cool completely (if you can wait that long.) The bread is then ready to eat.
I’m not into fussy foods or fads. I don’t want my dinner misted by my nose or constructed in such a way that to touch it is liking destroying the Mona Lisa. I appreciate the artistry but it just isn’t me. I enjoy dishes with ingredients I can identify and that I can dig into with joy and abandon. So when I saw this recipe for another olive oil cake with simple ingredients I knew that I wanted to try it. But don’t be fooled or misled by “simple.” It also means that you need to use the best quality ingredients because there is nothing masking the taste or distracting you from the elements. Only use a really good quality fruity olive oil here and preferably one like Sciabica’s Orange or Lemon-flavored Olive Oil.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite food sites – Food52, although it really originates from the Maialino Restaurant in New York City. The Roasted Strawberries is from the forthcoming Genius Desserts Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, September 2018). The cake is so moist and fragrant that it is almost like eating a pudding and a cake. It is wonderful on its own, but the addition of the roasted strawberries and some freshly whipped cream does make it amazing. The roasted strawberries are wonderful and can be used in so many ways – on pancakes or waffles or over yogurt to name a few, and they store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. If you are new to olive oil cakes, you might also want to try the recipe for Olive Oil Cake with Orange, Pine Nuts and Rosemary. While I made the cake with orange juice, zest and Grand Marnier, I saw that readers successfully made it substituting lemon juice, zest and Limoncello for a lemony take. Either way you can’t go wrong.
Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake
Yield: One 9-inch round cake (at least 8 servings)
Slow Pan Roasted Strawberries (See recipe which follows at the end of the post)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil, butter or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2-inches deep (The batter will go almost to the top so they really mean “at least 2-inches deep!”) Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray or oil that as well.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt and Lievito Pane Degli Angeli. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, zest, juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and whisk until just combined. Do this all by hand and do not over-whisk.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Run a knife or thin spatula around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto the cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow the cake to cool completely – about 2 hours. Re-invert the cake onto a cake stand or plate and dust with powdered sugar.
Michelle Polzine’s Slow-Roasted Strawberries
Yield: About 1.5 cups (450 gr.)
2 pounds (900 gr.) of fresh, ripe strawberries
1/2 cup (100 gr.) of granulated sugar (You can add 2 additional Tablespoons if the strawberries are not especially sweet on their own.)
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Rinse and hull the berries. Leave any tiny ones whole and either quarter or halve the rest so the pieces are all about the same size.
In a non-reactive pan (I used a stoneware baking dish) that will hold all of the berries closely packed in a single layer, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar.
Roast slowly in the oven, uncovered for 3 to 6 hours, gently moving them around occasionally with a wide spatula. Mine took 5 hours. They are done when the juices have reduced to a syrup but not darkened into caramel and the berries are jammy. They can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar or container for up to two weeks.