When world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson isn't making television appearances or working at his award-winning New York restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, he's cooking at home. And now you can try your hand at his "truly doable" recipes thanks to his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty.
Black Bottom–Peanut Pie
MAKES ONE 10-INCH PIE
A classic Southern black-bottom pie has a rich chocolate ganache topped with meringue. I make mine more decadent. Yes, it still has the black bottom, but the topping is a gooey, salty hit of peanuts. Inspiration comes from my favorite childhood snack—the Snickers candy bar. When I was a kid, I would treat myself to a Snickers bar on the way to soccer practice. I was convinced that the combination of chocolate and peanuts gave me the energy I needed to play for hours. I don’t eat many candy bars these days, but I still love that combination of flavors.
FOR THE CRUST
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla wafers
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
½ cup sugar
FOR THE PEANUT TOPPING
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
½ cup light corn syrup
4 teaspoons molasses
10 ounces (about 2 cups) unsalted roasted peanuts
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE GANACHE
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cacao), finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
MAKE THE CRUST
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids brown and the butter smells deliciously nutty, about 10 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Take it off the heat immediately.
3. Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the processor, add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4. Turn the oven up to 375°F.
MAKE THE PEANUT TOPPING
5. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then beat in the corn syrup and molasses. Stir in the peanuts and salt.
MAKE THE GANACHE
6. Place the chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour over the chocolate. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
7. Pour the ganache into the cooled pie shell and let it set for 10 minutes. Spoon the peanut topping on the ganache. Use an offset spatula or a table knife to spread the filling evenly over the ganache, covering it completely.
8. Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 325°F and bake until the crust is browned and the topping is set, about 45 minutes.
9. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
When it comes to books, we all know it's what's on the inside that counts. But sometimes a well-designed cover can draw us in better than any blurb or synopsis can, and that's why we wanted to recognize our 25 favorite book covers of 2014!
100 Sideways Miles
By Andrew Smith
Design by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Read our review of this book.
As part of our Best Books of 2014 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
Few writers inspire the fierce devotion that Japanese author Haruki Murakami does, and he’s returned with a novel about the dynamics of friendship. Anchored by a unique blend of existential contemplation and magical realism, the novel follows Tsukuru on his lonely journey to confront his four high school friends and solve the mystery of the friendship’s abrupt end. As with Murakami’s previous efforts, this perplexing yet beautiful journey is well worth taking.
Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for December is Gabrielle Hamilton's debut collection of recipes, Prune. As honest and charmingly conversational as her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, Prune contains 250 recipes complete with the same handwritten instructions she provides for her kitchen staff. From brunch to bar snacks, Hamilton has you covered.
Braised Lamb Shoulder with Lemons, Tomatoes and Cinnamon
Yield: 6 orders (+/−)
Look over the lamb shoulders to see if they need any trimming. What Pino sends us rarely, if ever, needs additional work, but on the outside chance that there is some leathery or dark yellow fat, trim it. Generously season with salt and pepper all over.
Brown the lamb shoulder well on all sides in a hot rondeau with a glug of blended oil. Brown one at a time, giving them room to lie open and flat in the rondeau.
Remove the well-browned lamb shoulder from the pan and pour out the dark fat.
Add the cinnamon sticks and garlic cloves and stir around in the pan, kind of toasting and picking up the fond in a way.
Add the lemons and deglaze, loosening and scraping up the fond with the juice of the lemon wedges as you crush them with your wooden spoon.
Pour in red wine and let it hiss and boil, stirring the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to get any last recalcitrant bits.
Add the tomatoes, crushing each one briefly in your fist to release juices. Add the juice they were packed in as well. Bring liquid to simmer.
Fold the lamb shoulders back into the shape they had before they were boned out, and nestle both of them into the braising liquid, side by side. Cover with parchment round cut to exceed the circumference of the rondeau so that it really seals in the steam. If you are working with a new pot in good shape, covering with its corresponding lid will do. If you are working with one of the dented, warped ones, seal with film, foil, and a lid for good measure.
Set in middle of 350° oven and braise 3–4 hours until the meat separates easily with just the prodding of a wooden spoon.
This is a heat and serve, but take care. On the pickup, make sure each portion gets a nice soft, cooked lemon, if you can. And take a good look to see that you haven’t given anyone an all-fat portion.
As part of our Best Books of 2014 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
In Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead artfully pulls readers into the intensely passionate, grueling world of professional ballet. We follow Joan from her early years in New York to the discovery of her pregnancy, which puts an end to her prima ballerina dreams. Shipstead’s examination of the dancer’s psyche is as well choreographed as one could hope.
Looking for some gift ideas for the serious binge-readers in your life? Check out the list below for boxed sets and full collections from some of the biggest block-buster authors from the past year.
For those who prefer award-winning mystery and suspense, look for the boxed set of the first three books in Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series set in snowy, French-steeped Quebec.
Fantasy and Romance collide in The All Souls Trilogy, where Diana Bishop—a scholar and a witch—navigages an enchanted underworld with a dashing vampire geneticist—Matthew Clairmont.
Green has been making waves in the YA world since his debut, Looking for Alaska won the Printz award in 2005. Pick up this collection for YA fans, especially those who were captivated by the recent, wildly successful movie adaptation of Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
Follett, best-selling author of The Pillars of the Earth, recently wrapped his ambitious trilogy of historical novels. Spanning the entire legth of the 20th century and following the stories of five intertwined families from five different countries, Follett takes readers through the most pivotal moments in recent history.
Don't forget to check out our full BookPage gift guide for recommendations for any reader on your holiday shopping list!
Margarita Carrillo Arronte presents more than 600 tantalizing recipes from each distinct culinary region of her country in Mexico: The Cookbook. Ever wondered about the secret to the perfect bowl of guacamole? Arronte shares her fool-proof recipe below.
Region: All regions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Put the tomatoes, if using, onions, chiles, lime juice and cilantro (coriander)into a bowl, stir well to mix, and season with salt. Gently fold in the avocado, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the olive oil and mix. Serve with tortilla chips.
Note: It is best to prepare guacamole minutes before serving to avoid discoloration. Instead of incorporating the chopped tomato you can use it as a garnish, arranging it around the edge of the serving bowl.
The Thanksgiving leftovers have finally run out and December is here, readers! Have you started your holiday decorating yet? If you're looking for an easy, yet elegant alternative to a store-bought wreath this season, then try this Ilex wreath from Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo's The Wreath Recipe Book.
Ilex Recipe 3: Wreath
1. Start with a loosely woven honeysuckle wreath frame.
2. Tuck in three ilex branches on the top left side of the frame.
3. Place the redwood branches facing in opposite directions on the bottom of the wreath and wire in place. Tuck the remaining ilex branch into the bottom of the wreath on the right side.
4. Tuck the holly branches into the bottom of the wreath so that they arc out in different directions.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Throw out that can of gelatinous goo and step up your cranberry game this year with this recipe for a Cranberry Crackle Tart from Dorie Greenspan's unfussy guide to French baking, Baking Chez Moi.
Cranberry Crackle Tart
Makes 6 servings
When the weather gets cold and Americans in Paris start thinking of Thanksgiving, there are chestnuts galore for stuffing, pecans for pie (although you usually have to shell them) and, if you know where to look, even some fresh cranberries. Cranberries are a little easier to find now than they were when I first started living in France, but they’re still treated like precious exotic fruit and priced just as high. In fact, they’re sold in containers so small the only thing you might be able to do with your stash is to make this tart, which requires just a handful or so of berries.
The tart has three layers, each adding something different to the mix: The crust is sweet and crisp and so purposefully low I think of it as a platter. The thin layer of thick jam is there for flavor, texture and insulation: It’s like a barrier island between the dry base and the moist crown. The topping is a fluff of marshmallowy meringue and fresh cranberries, a mixture of sweet and tart that bakes to a crackle finish. I love the contrasts and the way the surface of the meringue turns crunchy, while underneath it remains soft and snow white.
The tart looks homey, but it’s oddly sophisticated in its own way and not-so-oddly very satisfying, particularly after a hearty meal, like a Thanksgiving feast.
For the filling
Butter a 9-inch pie pan (I use a Pyrex pan) and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll it out until it is a scant 1/8 inch thick. Don’t worry about making a beautiful circle, because you’re going to trim the dough.
Fit the dough into the pie pan, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Gently press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan and then, using a paring knife, a pizza wheel or a fluted ravioli wheel, trim the dough to about one third down from the rim of the pan. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes. (The leftover dough makes a nice turnover.)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line the crust with a piece of parchment or a buttered piece of aluminum foil and weight it down with rice, dried beans or light pie weights. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and weights and bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. The crust will have shrunk, but that’s fine. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.
When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Spoon the jam into the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they turn opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a very slow, steady stream, then keep beating until the whites are shiny and form peaks with pretty, droopy tips; they will look like marshmallow.
Pour the cranberries into the bowl and, using a flexible spatula, fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t try too hard—you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Turn the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam will sneak up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.
Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and most probably cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it longer or put it under the broiler.) Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. If you’d like, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Serving: Just before serving, it’s nice to sprinkle the top of the tart with confectioners’ sugar. In France, I’ve seen some meringue tarts served with whipped cream and some with ice cream. I thought that adding whipped or ice cream would be too much—I was wrong.
Storing: The tart is best served the day it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice a day later. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering only the cut part with a piece of wax paper or plastic film.
Sweet Tart Dough
Makes one 9- to 9½-inch crust
Used by so many French pastry chefs for so many French tarts, this is the dough that I turn to automatically when I’ve got a tart on my mind. Known as pâte sablée, it’s really a sweet cookie dough, the one you’d use to make a tender sablé or shortbread cookie.
I always prebake the crust even if it’s going to get another long bake with the filling, because I like the resulting color, flavor and texture—and the fact that the bottom won’t be soggy.
I use a fluted tart pan with a removable base. If all you’ve got is a pie plate, don’t let that stop you.
A word on rolling versus pressing: You can roll the crust out and fit it into the tart pan or just press it in. I roll the dough. Rolling gives you a thinner crust than pressing, so if you press, you might occasionally find yourself with a little filling left over.
To make the dough: Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely—you’ll have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk just to break it up and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is incorporated, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads-up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
To incorporate the butter more evenly and to catch any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing, separate small amounts of dough from the pile and use the heel of your hand to smear each piece a few inches across the counter. In French this is called fraisage, and it’s the ideal way to finish blending a dough.
To make a rolled-out crust: Shape the dough into a disk and put it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough out evenly, turning it over frequently and lifting the paper often so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases. Aim for a circle that’s at least 3 inches larger than the base of your tart pan. The dough will be 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick, but it’s the diameter, not the thickness, that counts. Slide the rolled-out dough, still between the papers, onto a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze it for 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; wrap it airtight to freeze.)
When the dough is thoroughly chilled, put it on the counter and let it rest for about 10 minutes, or until it’s just pliable enough to bend without breaking. Remove the dough from the paper, fit it into a buttered tart pan and trim the excess dough even with the edges of the pan. (If you’d like, you can fold the excess over and make a thicker wall around the sides of the tart.) Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To make a press-in crust: Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You won’t need all of the dough if you want to make a thin crust, but I think it’s nice to make a thickish one so that you can really enjoy the texture. Press the pieces of dough in so that they cling to one another and will knit together when baked, but don’t use a lot of force—working lightly will preserve the crust’s shortbready texture. Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
When you’re ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil snugly into the crust. If the crust is frozen, you can bake it as is; if not, fill it with dried beans or rice (which you can reuse as weights but won’t be able to cook after they’ve been used this way).
To partially bake the crust: Bake for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil (and weights). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
To fully bake the crust: Bake the crust for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil (and weights). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
Storing: Well wrapped, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, I prefer to freeze the crust fitted into the pan but not baked and then to bake it directly from the freezer—it will have a fresher flavor. Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
Bonne Idée—Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts: Reduce the all-purpose flour to 1¼ cups and add ¼ cup almond or hazelnut flour (or very finely ground pecans or pistachios). Proceed as directed.
Thanksgiving is almost here, and although the turkey gets most of the credit, the side dishes deserve just as much attention. Luckily, Southern chef Sean Brock is sharing his simple, yet rich and flavorful recipe for Creamed Corn. Check out our review of his new cookbook Heritage—our Top Pick for November!
My grandmother made creamed corn the old-fashioned way: strip the kernels from the cobs, scrape all the milk from the cobs using an old box grater, add a little salt, and then process in Mason jars in a canner. These preserves would be saved for special occasions, like Thanksgiving dinner. At Husk, I gussy up the recipe a little with a bit more cream and butter. You can also serve this as a soup by adding a little milk to thin it out. Either fresh or preserved under glass, nothing says summer like sweet corn from the garden, even when you’re eating it in the dead of winter.
1. Cut the kernels from the corn; set aside. Using a box grater, scrape the “milk” from the cobs into a wide bowl; set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the corn kernels, the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots and garlic have softened considerably, about 7 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Working in batches if necessary, transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
4. Add the remaining corn kernels, the reserved “milk” from the cobs, the thyme and butter to the pan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the creamed corn has thickened and the whole kernels are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme, season with salt and white pepper and serve.
The creamed corn can be made up to 2 hours ahead and held at room temperature; gently reheat over low heat. Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.