Recipes for Desserts

Three Swell Recipes

September 5, 2015

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The January 1977 issue of Gourmet has three recipes I can’t wait to try. Two are for unusual pancakes. The first, from an article by Fanny Todd Mitchell on the pleasures of Auvergne, are for buckwheat pancakes. They’re served as dessert, usually with jam or honey, but I imagine them with slices of ripe peaches and a dollop of sour cream.

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The next, a reader request for some pancakes sampled at the Buena Vista Hotel in Nassau, are an innocent version of crepes suzettes.

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And finally, a recipe I could not resist, for a basil and fennel-scented chicken stew from La Mere Blanc. This sounds exactly like what I’ll want to eat in early autumn!

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A Fine Souffle

September 4, 2015

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Today's vintage recipe – don't you love this photo? – is from the January 1985 issue of Gourmet. Although it's a winter issue, it's perfect for the current season, when markets are filled with just-picked peppers, young eggplants, scallions and garlic. I'll be making this for Labor Day lunch, using fresh red peppers and tomatoes in place of the jars suggested here. 

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And here, as promised yesterday, is the young Jacques Pepin and his recipe. 

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A Requested Recipe: Fast, Easy, Delicious

August 11, 2015

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"Help!" a friend of a friend wrote.  "I've lost the recipe for an easy cake printed in one of the last issues of Gourmet."

She said the cover was a beautiful apple (actually, it was a beautiful quince).  A group of us scrambled around, trying to find it.  And here it is.  

You could make this with just about any fruit.  Hard to think of a better way to spend fifteen minutes. 

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Perfect Recipe for this Beautiful Day

August 5, 2015

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Peach Upside Down Cake

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This is from this September 1974 issue of Gourmet.  Please not that this cover dates from a time when the magazine had no thoughts of newsstand sales, and was confident that its readers did not need to be persuaded to open the magazine.  (The doors belong to the Beau-Rivage Hotel in Lausanne; inside Joseph Wechsberg "details the delights of this splendid hotel on Lake Geneva's shore.")

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And here, for your further entertainment, is my favorite ad from the issue:

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Chocolate Cake

May 30, 2010

It’s a month away, but we’re having a pig roast for Michael’s birthday, and i’ve been thinking about what kind of cake to bake. As if reading my mind, Twitter provided an answer. Somebody said that they’d found the perfect recipe – and it was mine. It’s a cake I developed when I was living in Berkeley, working at the Swallow, and baking wedding cakes on the side. And it’s the one I baked for Michael’s birthday the first year that I knew him, the one in Comfort Me With Apples. And so here, courtesy of Serious Eats, is what I’ll be baking again – all these years later.

Big Chocolate Cake

Serves 20-25. Adapted from Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl. This recipe makes a lot of cake and so would be perfect for a big party, but it also takes very well to freezing, even with the frosting on: after a couple of days I carved up our remaining cake and wrapped individual slices carefully in plastic wrap to freeze. Either warmed in the microwave or simply left out to come up to room temperature, the defrosted cake seemed (to us, at least) to have lost nothing in the way of taste and texture, even, amazingly, after a few months. If you are having a really big party, you can, Reichl says, double or triple the recipe as long as you adjust the baking timefor whatever size pans you are using.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 13x9x2inch baking pans; line bottoms with waxed or parchment paper and butterthe paper. Flour the pans (you can “flour” pans for chocolate cake with cocoa powder, if you like) and tap out excess.
  2. Whisk together boiling water and cocoa until smooth. Then whisk in the milk and vanilla. Sift together the flour,baking soda, and salt.
  3. If possible in a standing mixer, beat togetherthe butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time,beating well after each addition. On low speed, beat in the flourmixture in 3 batches and the cocoa mixture in 2, alternatingflour-cocoa-flour-cocoa-flour. The batter may look curdled.
  4. Pour half of the batter into each pan and smoothtops. Bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean andthe cake begins to pull away from the pan, 25-35 minutes. Turn thecakes onto racks to cool completely.
  5. Make frosting: melt the chopped chocolate in adouble boiler or in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Cool toroom temperature. Beat together the butter and cream cheese until lightand fluffy (I could not find whipped cream cheese in the store, so Ijust whipped it at home until it looked a little lighter and fluffierbefore adding the butter). Add the cooled chocolate and the remainingingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
  6. Assemble cake only when the cake layers have cooled completely.
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