Saturday, August 29, 2015

Buttermilk Peach Coffee Cake

A lovely woman from Philadelphia emailed me the other day to tell me she had made the Buttermilk Peach Coffee Cake from The Cake Book and loved it so much that she was determined to make every recipe in the book. I told her to keep me posted on her 

progress—I hope her family likes cake!
            Inspired by my new friend in the City of Brotherly Love and the bounty of peaches that are now in season, I decided to make the very same coffee cake the other day, and it was as wonderful as I remember it to be. The cake has a tender 

crumb (thanks to the buttermilk) and a filling of juicy peaches and crumbly nut streusel. There’s streusel on top, too, along with a drizzle of sweet white glaze. It’s an easy cake to make – no need even to peel the peaches, just slice them thinly and layer them over the batter. I won’t guarantee that you will be inspired enough to make the rest of the cakes in The Cake Book, but do let me know if you are! I’ll send you a prize of some sort (maybe).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blueberry Cornmeal Scones from Flavorful: 150 Irresistible Desserts in All-Time Favorite Flavors

It’s been a few months since my last post, but this time I’ve got a legitimate excuse for my absence: I’ve been busy working on the final stages of my new book, Flavorful: 150 Irresistible Desserts in All-Time Favorite Flavors (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). The official pub date is September 29, but it’s available for pre-

order now on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites. This book was two years in the making, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It’s beautifully designed, and full of great recipes and enticing photos. Here’s one of the simpler recipes from the book, a tender Blueberry Cornmeal Scone that’s not too sweet and has lots of berry 

flavor. The photos here are not from the book, they were done specifically for this post by moi (the ones in the book are way better!). These scones are great on their own and even better served warm with a French or Irish lightly salted butter. 

Blueberry Cornmeal Scones
From Flavorful: 150 Irresistible Desserts in All-Time Favorite Flavors by Tish Boyle

It’s difficult to find a good scone these days, even at respectable bakeries. Most are dry, tough, and flavorless. The solution is to make your own, using a good recipe and a light touch. These scones are tender and bursting with juicy blueberries, just right for a weekend breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snack. The yellow cornmeal gives them a slightly nutty flavor and hearty texture that stands up to the berries, while a little lemon zest offers a bright note. This recipe makes eight triangular scones, but you can cut out rounds from the dough if you prefer — just pat the scraps back together and cut out more scones until you’ve used up all the dough. I like to eat these with nothing more than a smear of soft Irish butter, but add your favorite jam and clotted cream, if you like.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Key Lime Macarons

It always gives me a small thrill to discover a new (and sometimes better) way of making a classic recipe. For years I’ve made lemon and lime curd the same way – that is by combining the egg yolks, citrus juice, sugar and butter in a saucepan and cook, stirring, until thickened. My new favorite method is based on a method by 

famed pastry chef Pierre Hermé.  I combine everything but the butter in a stainless steel bowl and cook it over simmering water, whisking constantly, as one would for a sabayon. When it’s thickened to the consistency of thin mayonnaise, I remove it from the heat and whisk in the softened butter and citrus zest. Hermé actually puts 

the custard in a blender and then adds the butter. Either way, the result is a very creamy curd that makes an ideal filling for tarts or, in this case, crunchy, green-hued macarons. As an optional garnish for the macarons, I brushed the tops of some with a little watered down gel color and let it dry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hot Cross Buns

Though I love to make bread, rolls, and basically any yeast-based dough, I’ve somehow never gotten around to making hot cross buns, the sweet rolls you see in bakeries throughout Lent. Growing up, hot cross buns from the bakery were a staple in our house every Sunday in the weeks leading up to Easter. They are wonderful 

plain – after a short warm-up in the toaster oven — or split in half and toasted, topped with a good salted butter and a little marmalade or jam. There is a good deal of folklore and superstition associated with these little buns, which over the years have been said to bring the ill back to good health; protect against shipwreck on sea 

voyages; protect against fires when hung in the kitchen; and ensure friendship to recipients throughout the coming year. In 16th century England, the sale of hot cross buns was even outlawed except for burials and on Good Friday and Christmas. Nowadays you can enjoy them every day of the year, though they do require a bit of 

effort to make. To ensure tender buns, make sure not to over-knead the dough when adding the dried fruit and when rolling the buns into rounds.

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