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April 2009 Bakers Stash

April 2009 Baker's Stash
Featuring Spring Recipes, Easter and Passover

  

 Art by Ann Elizabeth Schlegel, Free  Best Ever Chicken Soup and Matzoh Balls  
 


Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,
 
 
April’s Fools would be such a fun holiday (it’s short, sweet, mischevious and calorie free) but as it is only one day, it generally is quickly outpaced by the holiday focus and preparations of the month –namely Easter and Passover. Otherwise I would indeed dally with a slew of whimsical recipes. A little of the April lst Food Section in the Washington Post chronicles my foolish attempts, years ago, to poach salmon in a dishwasher. They interviewed me on an experiment in alternate cuisine which did, as it turned out, make an April Fool out of me. Nuff said. Speaking of the Washington Post, you will find a very special and beautiful Passover chocolate cake and photo online and in print, that I created for the Washington Post Food Section (it should be in print on April lst and online at www.WashingtonPost.com). On April 8th, tune in for a segment on Passover cooking and baking when I visit on Martha Stewart Sirius Radio (8 am, Eastern Standard Time).

My thank you for this month’s art goes to Ann Elizabeth Schlegel who was kind enough to create this original art. When have you ever seen a box of Manischewitz matzoh ball mix look so good? It's positively inspiring and the art is for sale too. To learn more, visit
www.annelizabethschlegel.com and
http://paintingeachday.blogspot.com. If you want original art at an accessible price (she does amazing Animal Cracker Boxes, Boston Red Sox Baseballs - anything at all!), just ask.

As I mentioned in my last note, I am hard at work on gorgeous new editions of my first two cookbooks. This fall you will see both A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking and The Best of BetterBaking.com back on the shelves – in new editions, featuring added new, recipes and photos. Later this month, a photography crew, courtesy of the publisher, Whitecap Books, will descend on the BB kitchens for a week long photo shoot of my favorite recipe picks. These are the recipes I hand chose for the books - the ones that are particularly pretty as they are tasty. I am also delighted to be hosting a visitor who is an integral part of this site and my cookbooks, a person I know well but have never met in person, my own test kitchen manager Ellen Fuss. "Help!" I told Ellen, I have 50 recipes to bake and shoot! Help is on the way. Ellen volunteered to cross the American Canadian border and come give me a hand with the photography crew. (But I did promise her a whirl wind tour of Montreal before we get to the tasks).  A photo shoot is physically challenging and I've been baking since February to get ready. At ay rate, all this means that the BB Test Kitchen, my test kitchen manager Ellen Fuss, and our testing team has been busier that ever, testing some 70 new recipes that are going into the new editions of my books. We were hard at work on A Passion for Cooking but I switched gears to get these cookbooks ready to go to the ball again. 
 
Oh, and if you hear an indignant shriek from somehwere in New York State, it is indeed my Test Kitchen Manager Ellen Fuss, cursing me for ladling her and the rest of my Test Recipe Team quadruple copies of recipes. I tweak, edit, and change things - I am the queen of waffling and adjusting recipes; what can I tell you – guilty as charged), of a cookie or a cake I wanted tested yet again or yet another version of something I already emailed twice before. In short, Ellen has her hands full with a baker who changes direction every other week. What you need to know about Ellen is not only is she precise and wonderfully exacting but she has a dietician’s degree and sensibility. For her to oversee testing of the lavish desserts I create and not quite pale in horror is a feat in itself. She’s too good. Actually, she is the first one to tell you – enjoy your treats and don’t forget to go to Spin Class more often. She loves her treats, is unreasonable about chocolate and believes in balance –not starvation and she is not about hiding the treats.

I am also reading an intriguing book on ‘not’ dieting which you might want to take a look at (since we bakers always want to stay svelte and enjoy our own baking). It is by Beyond Word Publishers and it is The Gabriel Method, by Jon Gabriel and it has to do with the body holding onto to its extra weight to protect us. When it feels under siege (or otherwise unhappy; i.e. the body cannot differentiate between psychic or physical threats), no matter how much dieting you do, the body does its best to defend itself with the 'armour' of excess weight. Lose weight without dieting? This along makes The Gabriel Method worth looking at (also Martha Beck mentions something similar in this month's Oprah Magazine). Visit
www.BeyondWords.com or Jon Gabriel's own site, http://www.jongabriel.com.au/ This is fascinating material and makes so much sense and will be a total relief to those who bulge up and slim down or feel starved and barely lose. Here at last is a common sense, gently written, information book that might explain far more than dieting science has so far.
 
This summer, BetterBaking.com is slated to be overhauled into a new streamlined site. Due to the demands of cookbooks and other books I am working on, I will also probably take that occasion to switch to a recipe a month and a short note. Don't worry- the Complete Recipe Archives, for those that use them, will remain open and subscriptions will continue as they do now. This should occur in August or before.  I am not going away – just finding a way to keep in touch, offer the recipe resource but create books of all sorts. If you ever want to see BetterBaking.com in its old days, or any other website, visit http://www.archive.org/web/web.php. (The other good news about BB going slick and simple will be a far more stable site (no more weird fonts!) and easier to navigate.)

Stay tuned too, for some special Mother’s Day Gift ideas and special product reviews from restaurant style toaster ovens, to gorgeous fountain pens, and a moisturizer that makes you look 15 years younger. 

In the meanwhile, I am delighted to share some favourite spring recipes in tones of strawberries, maple and rhubarb, and things sweet and eggy, as well as some treasured Easter and Passover recipes.

With warm wishes for Spring-at-last, for Easter, Passover and those moments in-between,


Marcy Goldman
Editor and Master Baker
www.BetterBaking.com


Spring Recipes

Mock Mille-Feuilles 
Just in time for April Fool’s day! Mille-feuilles, in French, means one thousand sheets, or layers. The steps required to make this luscious version of the classic pastry can be counted on one hand. 24 hours chill time is recommended. 

Maple Cream Muffins
The flavors of new maple rock in this cream cheese crown, fawn-hued pure maple muffin. If you can find some maple sugar, grate some up on top before the muffins hit the oven.

 Alsatian Rhubarb Tart 
A sophisticated ode to Spring by the pastry chef in residence. This is so-French but so springy, with its rosy rhubarb overtones, set in a custard-filled sweet tart crust.

Starbucks Style Maple Orange Oatmeal Scones
Big, bold, oat goodness in a cafe-style scone. This is good with coffee of course but one bite usually makes you forget the coffee is there.

Strawberry Filled French Crepes 
Goodbye plain old flapjacks, hello Paris bistro. These are part white flour, part rustic buckwheat crepes, filled with tart-sweet new strawberries and anointed with warm maple syrup.


Galaktoboureko or Copenhagen Pastries 
I can’t really figure out how this ambrosial combination of semolina or cornmeal enhanced pastry cream and filo and a touch of syrup came to be called Copenhagens in some circles (even in some Greek cookbooks!) but one precious bite of this pastry wonder and you will not care. Sweet, golden, eggy – it’s perfect for Spring.

Cherry Cake Doughnut Coffeecake with Cherry Fondant Glaze



Cherry Cake Doughnut Coffeecake with Cherry Fondant Glaze
This is a cherry cake doughnut but in a pan. And what else? No frying! All the great taste of a doughnut shop classic but no fuss or bother or staling. If you mix the cherries in to well, they tint the batter pink but that is fine. If you are more delicate about incorporating them, you get that scattered cherry look and taste but more of a confetti or dotted-with-cherries batter. Shortening makes this more authentic but if you use it, opt for the new Crisco no trans fat one.
Broil or grilled, this makes an outstanding, light entree of fish. The maple brings out the subtle salmon taste and helps it caramelize on the edges just so. Serve with asparagus and wild rice. Maple, soy and sesame collide in a West meets East with Northern Exposure accent.


My Best Cream of Asparagus Soup 
Most cream soups begin the same way. Simmered vegetables go into a chicken or  vegetable or water stock. This is then amalgamated with a cream base, usually made with a classic flour-butter roux, to which milk and cream is added. The soup is then seasoned, the softened vegetables and creamy broth get pureed, and voila: cream soup in any flavor you choose. You can play around with the herbs and spices but mostly, this is the sort of recipe that suits whatever vegetable you prefer or what the market or season offers.  For spring, of course asparagus is my choice.


Easter Recipes

Deluxe Hot Cross Buns with Sundried Cherries, Cranberries and Vanilla Fondant 

Moist sweet buns, like out of a Main Street Bakery or a tiny English village - only done up with cranberries and sour cherries (in case citron and currants aren't your thing)

Hot Cross Bun Biscotti 
Crunchy spice and a touch of fondant. A great company biscotti.

Golden Daffodil Filo Cheesecake !!FREE!!

A beauty of a bloomin' spring cheesecake. Daffodil Cake is a standard from yesteryear’s Fanny Farmer and other such cookbooks. Here, a similarly mellow and  yellow toned cake makes a come back as a spring cheesecake. It's a golden, creamy wonder all set in crisp, buttery filo pastry.
 

Passover Recipes
Best Ever Chicken Soup and Matzoh Balls

Deep Dish Passover Apple Cake Free!!!
Matzoh Caramel Buttercrunch (c) !!Free!!
 
 
 
 

Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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