Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Leigh Beisch
Whenever I need inspiration for a special dessert or a good cookie recipe, I reach for one of Alice Medrich’s books. When Flavor Flours came out I was excited to review it, but I had no idea how much I wanted and needed this book until I recently received a copy.
Alice Medrich is truly a culinary visionary and trend setter. As a young woman she lived in Paris and was given some chocolate truffles. Intrigued by the flavor and uniqueness of the confection, which was essentially unknown in the US at that time, she returned to Berkeley, California and made truffles for sale. The truffles she designed became known as “California Truffles.”
This is a great lemon bar recipe – bright, tart-sweet and with a buttery crust with nice vanilla notes. Meyer lemons aren’t quite as tart as Eureka and other American lemon varieties. If you’re using Meyer lemons, you might need a little extra lemon juice.
I love fresh pineapple! The best part about my infatuation is that pineapple is really nutritious and also reduces inflammation and pain.*
If you have teenagers, you’ll probably want to skip this blog as the main ingredient in trifle is stale cake. If you actually do occasionally have stale (or extra) cake — with or without teenagers — read on!
If you’re unfamiliar with trifle, it’s a British invention for using stale cake. Which does lead one to wonder if stale cake is a common problem for the Brits because their teenagers are sent off to boarding school.
On a journey toward permanent weight loss? Want to kick up your immune system? Looking for new ideas for healthy eating? If so, put fresh pineapple on your weekly shopping list.
Recently I had dessert in a lovely café near where I live. One of their signature desserts is a lemon pudding that tastes as if it may have a cream cheese base. It was so good that I decided to go home and experiment.
Anyone with a stove, a pot and apples can make applesauce. But, really good applesauce? Use heritage apples and a few special ingredients and you’ve got yourself a kick-ass good dessert!
In 1969 I moved to a ridge along the Mendocino coast. Through serendipity I ended up in the second oldest farmhouse on the Coast and it came with 29 heritage apple trees! Needless to say, we had apple everything from early autumn until spring. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cookies, apple cake, baked apples, candied apples and a whole lot of applesauce.
Amazingly enough, I still look forward to autumn for the apples. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like the snap of biting into a crisp apple and feeling and tasting the juices flood your palate!
A few months ago I read about a Facebook friend’s dessert at a Mediterranean restaurant – Apricots stuffed with pistachios and drizzled with pomegranate molasses. My mind could immediately taste this delicacy but I automatically adapted it mentally. It was late autumn, not apricot season, which meant it was made with Turkish apricots.
This delicate, delicious, absolutely-must-make cake recipe comes from Maria Reiz Springer. Now living in Maryland, Maria is from Austria and has an infinite number of amazing European dessert recipes, and usually a wonderful story that goes with the recipe. Maria has a home cooking school and is truly a master baker. The plum cake can be made with other stone fruits as well, but if you are lucky enough to have French plums, they are both the traditional plum used as well as divine in this cake.
It has been over two weeks since I made jam this summer. I really didn’t want to make jam but I had to. Kind of the way that you have to make Christmas cookies. It’s in the genes.
Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
In this book, Alice offers “Fresh Cherries 3 Ways.” I’m providing you with the recipe for one plus her caveat, “Cheating with Frozen Cherries.” For the other two specialties, you’ll need to read the book. (Believe me, it’s worth it.)
Alice says, “These get better and better as they sit in the fridge, drawing flavor from the (Rain’s Choice) vanilla bean.”
The picture for this recipe was made with frozen cherries (it’s February here) so they aren’t as spectacular looking as fresh cherries. That said, they were delicious. Instead of using vodka, rum or brandy, I used raspberry wine to give the cherries a fruity boost. You could also use cherry brandy. I served them over Honey Almond ice cream and they were spot on! (VQ)
Serves 4 as a compote, 6 to 8 as an accompaniment to Vanilla Ice Cream or Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream
This is a delicious way to use an abundant supply of peaches (and your vanilla beans, for that matter). You can process the peaches, following instructions found in canning books or the Internet, give the jars of fresh peaches as hostess gifts, or enjoy the peaches with ice cream, crème fraiche or with Greek yogurt. The peaches will keep in the jars for about a month if kept refrigerated.
Served warm, topped with ice-cream after dinner or for breakfast on a crisp fall day, Caramel Apple Bars are a comforting treat any way you slice them. Perfect for an autumn picnic, these are like a bite of fresh apple pie, conveniently packaged as a cookie bar. If you like caramel and apples, you’ll be sure to love these Caramel Apple Bars.
Courtesy of Didi Davis: www.dididavisfoods.com
Classic butterscotch candy is made with butter, brown sugar, and flavored with lemon juice. Butterscotch sauce is an American dessert topping with the flavors of butterscotch candy.
Courtesy of Didi Davis: www.dididavisfoods.com
The provocative aroma of the vanilla envelops the cranberries in this tart-sweet combination. You may serve the tart with a dollop of whipped cream flavored with vanilla and confectioner’s sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For the pastry, if you do not have cake flour in your cupboard, use one cup of all-purpose flour instead. For the filling, if you cannot find fresh cranberries, use one bag (12 ounces) of frozen berries straight from the freezer. In fact, buy several bags of cranberries when in season and freeze them for use throughout the winter months.
Courtesy of Lauren Groveman: www.laurengroveman.com
This is my absolute favorite way to make fruit tarts. Baking the formed tart (technically a galette) without a pan and directly on top of a hot pizza stone, creates the crispest, most wonderful pastry crust. Having a pizza peel is helpful to transfer the galette to and from the oven
Orange salad is a typical Moroccan dish served along with lamb and vegetable soup (Harira) during Ramadan. It can also be used as a refreshing, light dessert for any festive celebration.
Courtesy of Lois Laidlaw