This is a perfect dessert to enjoy with friends and family at a summer party or bbq. The meringue is light and fluffy but when filled with sharp yet sweet berries it provides a delicious contrast of flavours.
The roulade is one of my Mum’s favourite desserts to make and everyone always goes crazy for it! She often bakes it for me to bring with to parties and it always goes down a hit. It’s so easy to make and the reward is sweet!
Note from Gabrielle – I can testify to how amazing this is, and I would advise that if you make it for a party you save a piece for yourself before serving it or you don’t stand a chance at getting any!
Summer Berry Roulade
From: Hannah Hayes, Her Mum and a Charity Cookbook
4 eggs whites
8oz castor sugar (Note – castor sugar is a fine sugar sold in Ireland and the UK. It’s not readily available in America, but a perfect substitute is superfine. If you can’t get superfine, or don’t want to run to the store, you can make your own by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulsing it a few times.)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (extract)
1/2 pint (1 cup) cream
Berries e.g. strawberries, rasberries or mixed berries – as many as you see necessary
Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
Beat the eggs whites until they form stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar a little at a time to ensure full incorporation. Add the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence with the last addition of sugar.
Pour mixture into a pre-lined baking tray, ideally 12inch x 9inch.
Bake for 9 minutes at 200 degrees and then at 150 degrees for another 9 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool while covered with a tea towel.
Turn roulade out onto a sheet of greaseproof baking paper that has previously been dusted with icing sugar.
Whip cream and spread gently over the surface. Arrange berries over half the roulade lengthwise.
Roll up the roulade and leave in fridge for about an hour before serving.
There’s something oddly comforting about peaches. Peaches have been a part of my family for years, starting with my father’s allergy to peach fuzz. My mother refused to eat peaches when carrying me, swearing by the old midwives’ tale that consuming peach fuzz during pregnancy causes fuzzy stomach hair on babies. For summers, my mother stored peaches in a plastic bag in a plastic bag in the crisper, tragically excluded from all the other fruits.
Since moving to New York City, peach fuzz has been the least of my problems. Peaches are beginning to end its season, and before it officially puts up its annual “Gone Pitting” sign, they deserve a grand last hurrah. Eating a peach whole sounds terribly drab, so I was excited to learn on Kitchy Kitchen last summer that you can combine peaches and s’mores, the combination dubbed “s’meaches”. S’meaches replace chocolate with caramelized peaches.
S’meaches is not only a great way to celebrate the final wave of peaches, but also great for fall housewarming parties and September kids parties. S’meaches also make an ideal midnight snack, so put down that Tupperware of leftovers and make yourself a s’meach!
From: Soyeon Kim, based on Kitchy Kitchen
2 ripe peach (halved or quartered)
handful brown sugar
pinch cayenne pepper
Pit and halve or quarter the peaches. Skin if you desire, but not necessary.
In a small bowl, mix a handful of brown sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Heat a saute pan on medium stove. Place the peaches, flesh down, on the saute pan. After 2 minutes, sprinkle half the brown sugar-cayenne pepper mix over the peaches and pan. Let the sugar and peaches begin to caramelize for 2 minutes.
Flip the peaches and pour the rest of the sugar mix over the peaches. Let caramelize for 2-4 minutes. Repeatedly pour the caramel over the peaches. Flip once or twice if desired.
Turn the heat off and allow the peaches to sit in the caramel.
Skewer one marshmallow to a bamboo stick and roast the marshmallows over a fire. (If you do not have a fireplace or a barbecue, you can roast marshmallows over a lit, uncovered gas stove on medium heat with the fan on. If you fear marshmallow combustion or gas poisoning, you can roast it over a candle.)
On one half of the graham cracker, place the roasted marshmallow.
On the other half of the graham cracker, place one half of a peach (or two quarters).
Squish the marshmallow-graham cracker half onto the peach-graham cracker half.
It’s been three crazy days since my second year of college officially began. My schedule’s still not complete, but my room’s nearly decorated, I have 5 amazing suite-mates, and most importantly of all… I have a gas stove! A lucky lottery number landed the 6 of us in a legitimate apartment (with a hallway and everything!) and while we had literally no water pressure for the first two days, I hardly noticed because we were making Tilapia Tacos with Lime Guacamole on the first night, then Pesto Pasta with Crostini topped with Goat Cheese and Bruschetta on the second. Ding dong, the meal plan’s dead. Peace out tofu meatloaf, I’ll be seeing you never.
So what does this mean for you? It means a year full of budget-friendly, schedule-friendly, super flavorful recipes. Because we’re not going to let our small city kitchen, busy schedules and utter lack of money get us down – we’re going to bring you apartment gourmet at its finest. I didn’t exactly pick my suite-mates for their culinary sensibilities… but that’s probably I’m friends with them in the first place.
Unfortunately, the card reader for my camera got lost in the moving process, so the kitchen escapades will begin as soon as I can get a new one. Meanwhile I’d like to share a recipe we developed in the final days of summer. Mom, Isabella, Francesca and I went to Le Cirque this past July, because we wanted to celebrate (belatedly) Isabella’s middle school graduation, and Francesca’s impending birthday… and because we are not the types to let $25 prix fixe Restaurant Week deals at (arguably) the city’s finest restaurant pass us by. Between the four of us, we ordered all of the desserts… except the ricotta mousse cake, which sounded kind of mediocre. Yet somehow, at the end of the meal, we had Plum Tarts in front of mom and me, Rocky Road Panna Cotta for Isabella, Crème Brûlée for Francesca (I kid you not) and a Ricotta Mousse cake in the middle of the table. Now, I’m not sure how that happened – kitchen mix up, superior charm, or divine intervention – but all I know is I have never tasted such a perfect cloud of wonder in my life. It was smooth, it was creamy, it was light, it was airy, it was pretty much Heaven… only it was a food.
It was only a few days later that Isabella suggested we start a series called “Sweet Dreams,” to share our favorite baked goods. And when she said that, all I could possibly think of was this mousse. Then Vinny, the cheese guy at our local Italian store started bragging about how amazing their ricotta was, and all the pieces fell into place. And so the recipe that you see before you was born. And can I tell you a secret? It’s probably the easiest dessert I’ve ever made. So moral of the story? Your kitchen has the potential to be a five star restaurant. So as you wait on pins and needles to hear more college adventures (you know it’s true) whip up a batch of this ricotta mousse, and impress all your friends. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they. I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, sweet dreams!
My roommate this year had a pair of purple Crocs that followed me everywhere. If I was at my desk, the Crocs were underneath, if I was by my bed, they were under my ladder, and if I was walking across the floor, I could be sure that the Crocs would be right smack dab in the middle. I think most people would be annoyed, or creeped out, if a pair of shoes were stalking them. But I’m a big believer in fate (one day I’ll tell you the story of how my parents met, and you’ll understand), so I knew it must be a sign of… something.
So it made perfect sense when, in March, I got an email from John Moore, who works with none other than Mario Batali, asking me to write a post on one of Mario’s recipes. At the time I was still in New York – so close to Eataly but so far from my kitchen – but I hurriedly immersed myself in the vibrant Babbo Cookbook so I could get cooking as soon as I got home.
Picking a recipe was next to impossible. Goat Cheese Tortelloni with Dried Orange and Fennel Pollen sounded so decadent, but then again homemade Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragù was reminiscent of the first meal I ate out in New York. I read about Duck with Chicory, Preserved Lemons and Kumquat Vinaigrette, Asparagus Vinaigrette with Black Pepper Pecorino Zabaglione, and even a Saffron Panna Cotta that sounded perfectly indulgent. It wasn’t actually until I got home that I could even make a decision. But when late May came around, and the sun began to shine, and the thermometer hit 90, and I got out my shorts and skirts and began to spend my days building fairy houses in the backyard with Francesca and Isabella, the answer was clear. “This weather clearly calls for a Peach Crostata with Honey Butter and Honey Vanilla Gelato,” I thought to myself, “I wonder if Mario has a recipe for anything like that…”
And you can imagine my utter shock when Mario had a recipe for exactly that…
(Just kidding) (I fudged the details of that story a bit)
I ran out to pick up some beautiful Georgia peaches, turned on Andrea Bocelli Radio (which is the only thing you can listen to while making Italian food, or really just while making food) and got to work baking. And I should warn you – making all the parts of this recipe will take you a good part of the day. But I can promise that it is ridiculously worth it. And even if you can’t, for example, make the gelato because you haven’t got the time (or the gelato maker), please make the Crostata. It is the perfect Italian twist on Peach Pie (or to use Mario’s words, what happened when “the perfect summer pie happened to take a little ride uptown”) and it brings summer wherever you are.
I began a bit scared because I have very little experience in tart doughs. But this one, to my shock, took about 10 minutes, and it smells and tastes, like an amazing cookie. I kept on calling my family over to smell it while I was making it. Which is a weird thing to do with a tart dough. But it really smelled that good. And, in fact, I actually made cookies out of the extra dough, and filled them with spekuloos (although in the spirit of Italy, I’d actually recommend using Nutella instead). They’re a bit tougher in texture than the tart shell, since you have to knead them and roll them out again, but it’s so much better than letting the dough go to waste.
There are just a few important things to remember. First of all, freeze your butter after you dice it so that your crust will be nice and flaky. It’ll only take a few minutes, but it makes a big difference. Second of all, if your refrigerator has a tendency to freeze things, as ours did the day I made this, then only chill the dough for three-four hours, rather than overnight, so it doesn’t have a chance to freeze. Otherwise you will have a very interesting time trying to roll it out. If it does for some reason, freeze, you have little choice but to let it thaw a bit, so just be careful to make sure the thawed dough doesn’t stick to your work surface. Put down a little flour underneath when you roll it out, but if it does still stick, carefully run the blunt end of a chef’s knife underneath the dough to separate it from the countertop. Then just pick it by draping it over your rolling pin, and lay in the tart pan.
With the crust behind me I moved on to the filling and the gelato. Everything went off delightfully without a hitch. The almond filling is about as simple as a buttercream (and the process is very similar), and the peaches just need to be tossed with a few things to accentuate their flavor and texture. And as for the gelato, just remember – making gelato is quite a bit like making a creme brulée, or a creme anglaise – it’s very important to temper your eggs by whisking in a little bit (1/3 cup or so) of your cream, before slowly pouring the yolks into the cream, whisking all the while. That’s the best way to avoid fancy scrambled eggs (unless you like that kind of thing). But that’s the hardest part of the recipe, and it’s really not as scary as it sounds. Then just freeze the gelato in a better gelato maker than my $30 disaster (there are horror stories, but you don’t need to hear them… they involve cursing and a kitchenaid), and you’re done!
I hate to say it, but I always expect to have to change something when I use a restaurant cookbook, because professionals often don’t measure when they cook, making their recipes difficult to transcribe. So you can imagine my actual surprise (as distinct from the fake surprise of before) when everything came out the first time, without editing anything. This recipe translates beautifully from restaurant kitchen to home kitchen, which I think is one of it’s chief successes. The other thing I love, is that while there are many steps, none of them are too difficult, which perfectly illustrates the Fig philosophy, that a recipe doesn’t need to involve ridiculous techniques and liquid nitrogen to be absolutely perfect. The essence of good cuisine lies in knowing the best way to accentuate an ingredient, or in understanding how to blend flavors, which this recipe does perfectly. So whether your summer is here, or right around the corner, this Crostata is the perfect way to welcome it in. Serve it warm, or chilled, with a scoop of gelato and a drizzle of honey butter. Put on your favorite pair of Crocs, turn up Andrea Bocelli, and love your life. If you can get local fruit, even better – I can’t wait to make this after the first time I go peach picking. But even if you can’t, this quintessential, sophisticated summer dessert is tutto delicioso e tutto perfetto. Buon Appetito!
Peach Crostata with Honey Butter and Honey Vanilla Gelato
From: Reprinted with permission from Mario Batali’s The Babbo Cookbook
1 recipe Tart Dough (see below)
1 1/2 cups blanched, sliced, almonds
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched, sliced Almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 medium ripe peaches
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 pints Honey Vanilla Gelato (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll the chilled Tart Dough into a 12-inch circle, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the sides and trim the top so that the dough is flush with the tart pan. Place the pastry shell in the refrigerator and chill until completely firm, about 30 minutes.
To make the filling: spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not powdery.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the confectioners’ sugar until very smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla and the salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Thoroughly beat in the ground almonds. Set aside.
To make the streusel: Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Place the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the melted butter and pulse to form pea-size crumbs. Spread the streusel out onto a cookie sheet and chill briefly.
Peel the peaches and cut into 1/4-inch wedges. In a large bowl, toss the peach wedges with the lemon juice, vanilla, flour and sugar. Spread enough of the almond filling on the bottom of the tart to completely cover it, and arrange the peach slices densely on top. Sprinkle the streusel crumbs over the tart. Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch any juices and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust and streusel are nicely browned and the juices are bubbling. Allow to cool completely before removing the tart from the pan.
To make the honey butter: In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the insides of the split vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the hone is reduced by 2 thirds. Whisk in the butter until it is completely incorporated.
Serve with a scoop of the Honey Vanilla Gelato and drizzle with the honey butter.
From: Reprinted with permission from Mario Batali’s The Babbo Cookbook
2 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
grated zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons heavy cream
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and orange zest.
Add the cold butter cubes and toss lightly to coat. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and heavy cream, and add it to the flour-butter mixture.
Pulse to moisten the dough, then pulse until it begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand.
If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of heavy cream.
Shape into a small disk, wrap, and chill thoroughly for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
From: Reprinted with permission from Mario Batali’s The Babbo Cookbook
9 egg yolks (*note from Gabrielle – save the whites, we’re going to do something with them in an upcoming post)
1/2 cup honey
pinch of kosher salt
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons sugar
Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk together with the honey and salt.
Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla bean and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the milk and cream come to a rolling boil, quickly whisk some of the boiling milk into the egg yolk mixture, then return the egg yolk mixture back tot he pot. Whisk well to combine the rest of the milk with the egg yolk mixture. Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer and save the vanilla bean for future use.
Chill the custard completely, then freeze in a gelato maker according the the manufacturer’s instructions.
Mom and I once took this great class on canning in Chestertown, MD. It was, in fact, extremely educational and highly inspirational. But somehow we clearly missed the memo that you’re supposed to can your fruits and vegetables and not your… sometimes foods.
You see, today was Francesca’s fake birthday, so her class could celebrate her turning six exactly two months before she actually does, and I was assigned the task of the red velvet cupcakes (I know, we’re so typical, but at least we use the best red velvet recipe ever). But since it was early in the morning, 9:30 I believe, I wasn’t thinking straight and I joyously underestimated the momentous quantity of batter a doubled version of this recipe can make. Twenty-four servings of cake, you see, is not the same as twenty-four cupcakes. And so rather than face seventeen kindergarteners with a pile of cupcakes the size of Mount Everest, I decided to keep the excess and get creative. I started with the classic cake-in-a-cup I’ve wanted to try for so long. And while it was fun (and in my mind ever so clever, which I can say because I didn’t come up with it), the only oven-proof mugs we had were white, and oh so opaque. I knew that if I covered the top with frosting, nobody would ever get to see the beautiful red we love so much. Because seriously, what’s the point of using a whole bottle of food coloring if nobody gets to see it?
And then I remembered. Tucked away in the next room was a huge box of Ball’s Canning Jars. I bought them to use as drinking glasses in my suite next year, but if I’m going to take ownership of the glasses, certainly nobody would object to me baking a little cake in them first, would they? And thus the canned cake was born. (Question – does anyone know why it’s called canning when it’s clearly done in jars?) These cakes are pint sized, which seems to lend itself perfectly to large individual servings. Any smaller would be sad, any larger would take a millennium to bake.
To make these fill the jars up approximately 1/3 with batter and then just bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes. (The original recipe called for 30 minutes for a normal cake layer in a pan. You can bake these with any kind of cake you want, but remember to add 5-10 minutes to cooking time, and monitor them closely because it may vary by cake). And they’re fine to put in the oven because canning jars are made to be boiled! Just don’t dip them in a pool of ice water when they come out of the oven and you shouldn’t have to worry about cracking. Then just fill the last third with whipped cream or frosting and screw the top back on for nostalgic effect. The end. As easy as cupcakes, and so much easier than pie.
We’ve had these twelve mangoes lying around the test kitchen for days now, which were off limits because Mom was going to use them to make mango soup. But they were getting ripe and I was getting impatient, and while the weather here isn’t exactly warm (at all) it’s going to be soon (I hope) and I knew that someday soon I would need to be refreshed and it would just stink if I let the opportunity to develop a perfect mango lassi recipe pass me by.
So I pulled out my trusty blender and got to work. There are several difficulties to successfully pulling off a mango lassi. The first is the mango. Many recipes call for Alphonso Mango Pulp, a pre-sweetened puree that you can buy on Amazon or at Indian Supermarkets. This is certainly the most authentic way to go about doing things, and it’s made with super-flavorful Alphonso mangoes, that only grow in India. But I opted out for several reasons. First of all, I had twelve ripe mangoes sitting in my kitchen. Second, canned Alphonso mangoes are kind of hard to get, and really expensive if you do have to buy them online. And since I would never wish expense anyone (remember, I’m a college student), I decided to go with fresh. To mimic the sweetened puree, and maximize mangoey-ness, I mashed the mangoes first, to release the juices, and then mixed them with a little bit of sugar (but not too much) to intensify their flavor but not sweeten them too much. It worked perfectly.
Then I had to think about the yogurt. A bunch of recipes swear by goat yogurt, which I find a bit suspect. But I tried it anyway, and frankly, even if it were more authentic (which it’s not) it doesn’t taste that different from cow yogurt – just a bit more like goat cheese. It’s delicious, but it’s also much runnier than regular yogurt, so it hurts the lassi’s texture. Regular yogurt, on the other hand, passed both flavor and texture tests.
Finally I had to consider what other ingredients they might need. Some recipes call for only mango and yogurt, several call for cardamom and many others call for milk. I made one with just mango and yogurt. It tasted delicious – like a fantastic mango smoothie. But it didn’t taste like a lassi. I tried adding the cardamom – also delicious, and decidedly Indian, but definitely not a lassi. I decided to try one last time, eliminating the cardamom and adding a cup of milk. It was perfect. It was tangy, mangoey and creamy – everything a lassi should be.
Rest assured this recipe has been meticulously tested and adjusted to taste just like it would at your favorite restaurant – we would never stand for sloppy imitations. These are super healthy, and super easy to make. And they’ll be perfect for keeping you cool when, any day now, summer shows up.
From: Gabrielle Siegel
2 cups mango in 1-inch cubes
1 tsp sugar
1-1.5 cups yogurt (less yogurt will taste more mangoey, which I prefer, but more will taste a bit more authentic)
1 cup milk
Mash mangoes in a large bowl, and stir in sugar. Let stand for 20-30 minutes. There should be around 1.5 cups of puree.
Pour mangoes, yogurt and milk into blender. Blend until completely smooth. I recommend going on your blender’s highest setting, because otherwise the mangoes can end up stringy, which is gross.
Pour into glasses and try not to drink all of them yourself.
People often ask me if we sell figs or only teach classes that feature dishes made with figs. It’s fair question considering the names of this blog and my business, The Fig Cooking School, LLC. The truth is that the name was actually inspired by my three charming daughters, Francesca, Isabella and Gabrielle. But we also happen to adore figs and love cooking and baking with them when they’re in season, which is, sadly, oh so fleeting. We are now fortunately now in the height of fig season here in Connecticut and we’ve been cooking up a storm with them.
We thought we’d share with you one of our favorite recipes for honey roasted figs that is extremely versatile. Roasted figs on French bread paired with cheese and a bit of arugula and nuts make elegant hors d’oeuvres. They can also be used in a salad made of mixed greens, French string beans and fruits, or as a side dish with any roast in the early fall. Enjoy these recipes and tell us what you think. We’d love to get your feedback!
Honey Roasted Figs with Haricots Verts and mixed greens in a Shallot vinaigrette dressing
From: Heide Lang
One batch of honey roasted figs (see above)
1 pound of string beans
2 cups mixed greens
2 cups arugula
4-6 ounces goat cheese, dolce Gorgonzola, or blue cheese
1 large apple or pear sliced thin
½ cup toasted walnuts or almonds
1/3 cup dried apricots, cherries or cranberries (optional) or another favorite fruit
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
¼ cup balsamic (either traditional or white) or champagne vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Cut the ends of the French beans and place into pot of boiling water for just two minutes (do not overcook)
Quickly drain string beans into pot cold water with ice. Let string beans cool completely in the ice water in order to prevent the string beans from cooking further.
When cool, dry the string beans in a tea towel or paper towels
Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes until just slightly browned. Put aside.
Wash arugula and mixed greens and place in a large bowl or platter along with the string beans.
Add the fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts; toss gently
Mix in a small bowl or measuring cup the shallots, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over mixture and gently toss again.
Arrange the figs on top of the salad along with the cheese, making sure that each guest receives some figs and cheese when served.
Basic Honey-Roasted Figs
From: Heide Lang
14 figs (about a pound)
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Slice figs in half and place cut side up on cookie platter lined with foil and lightly greased with olive oil
Brush figs with honey and sprinkle rosemary or thyme evenly over them (herbs optional)
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the honey begins to caramelize. Let figs cool to room temperature
Honey roasted figs with French bread
From: Heide Lang
One batch of honey roasted figs (see above)
28 thinly sliced slices French bread
6-8 ounces of your favorite goat cheese, dolce Gorgonzola, blue cheese, St. Andre, or mascarpone
¼ cup coarsely coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
28 arugula leaves
Spread cheese on the French bread and place one arugula leaf on each one.
Place one honey roasted fig on each bread slice and top with a few pieces of chopped walnuts