Our Cookbook of the Month celebrates one of the great chefs of our time--Jacques Pepin! Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food honors Pepin's 60 years in the kitchen with the best recipes.
BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt had only good things to say: "From golden oldies to the here-and-now, from the classic French to the all-American, everything in Jacques’ repertoire carries his unique stamp and approach—unpretentious yet elegant, pragmatic yet sophisticated."
The following recipe is exactly that:
I cook the apples with the skins on to give a chewier texture. Dried currants (raisins can be substituted), slivered almonds, and dried apricots fill the gaps between the apple chunks and additional apples on top create a flat surface for the pastry to sit on, which gives the tart a nicer shape when it is unmolded.
The tart should be served at room temperature or slightly warm. If you make it ahead, keep it in the skillet. The caramel may stick to the bottom, but the dough on top will stay dry. Then, at serving time, put the tart on the stove over medium heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan to melt the caramel, so the tart will unmold easily.
Combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the water, and the lemon juice in a 12-inch ovenproof non- stick skillet and cook until the mixture becomes a caramel, about 4 minutes. Add the almonds and cook for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, so the caramel hardens. Arrange the apple quarters on top of the set caramel, placing them side by side and skin side down in one layer, making two concentric circles, with a piece of apple in the center. Sprinkle the butter, apricots, and currants on top.
Slice the remainder of the apples thin. (You should have about 3 cups.) Arrange on top of the circles of apples to fill the skillet completely. Add the remaining 1?2 cup water, bring to a boil, cover, and boil gently for 10 minutes. The object here is to soften the apples so they sink down and form a flat surface. Remove the lid and continue cooking over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until there is no liquid visible when you incline the pan slightly. This indicates that most of the water and juices have boiled away and what remains is the sugar and butter, which are beginning to caramelize again. Set aside. (The apples can be made several hours ahead.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it on a board. Sprinkle with a little flour and roll out to a very thin circle (no more than J inch thick). Trim the edges and then fold the dough in on itself to form an edge that is a little thicker all around.
Place the circle of dough on top of the apples. Press it down with your hands so it lies completely flat. Pierce all over with a fork and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons sugar, which will caramelize and glaze the dough during cooking.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool until warm or at room temperature.
At serving time, if the tart has cooled beyond lukewarm, place the skillet back on medium heat and cook, shaking the pan lightly, until the caramel melts. To unmold the tart, place a flat serving dish on top of the skillet and turn the tart out onto the plate.
Beat the heavy cream until firm but not too stiff (no sugar is needed, since the apples are sweet).
Cut the tart into wedges and serve with a good spoonful of whipped cream per serving.
Louis Lambert, owner of five successful restaurants, couples West Texan flavor with high-end sophistication to create "haute ranch cooking" in his newest cookbook, Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook. The result is hearty and unique meals that seem to truly celebrate their ingredients. Read more in our September Cooking column and try the following recipe for a preview of what Big Ranch, Big City has in store:
If using a hot smoker, start your fire and build the temperature to 275ºF. Place the pork butt on the rack with the fat side up. Hot smoke the pork for 6 hours, maintaining the temperature at 275ºF to 300ºF. After 6 hours, increase the temperature to 325ºF and continue cooking until the meat is fork-tender and begins to fall apart, about another 2 hours.
If you are using your barbecue pit, start a small fire to one side of the pit. Bring the temperature in the pit to 300ºF and place the pork, fat side up, on the opposite side of the pit from the fire.
Maintain the temperature in the pit at 300ºF by slowly adding more chunks of wood. After about 2 hours, preheat your oven to 325ºF. Remove the pork from the pit and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the pork in the oven for 4 hours. Increase the temperature to 325ºF and continue cooking until the meat is fork-tender and begins to fall apart, about another 2 hours.
Our Cookbook of the Month for September comes from the Loveless Cafe. If you're not as lucky as we are and can't take a drive down Highway 100--or simply want to bring it home for the family—Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman is a must. Classic Southern desserts belong on every table.
Be sure to check out our front porch interview with Hunstman, then try your hand at this peachy-keen recipe. Yum!
2. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the granulated sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll out one piece on a lightly floured board or parchment paper into a 10-inch circle. Carefully invert the dough onto one of the lined baking sheets. Scoop 2 cups of the peach filling into a mound in the center of the circle of dough, leaving a 11?2- to 2-inch margin all around. Fold the edges of the dough in toward the center, pleating as necessary; do this all the way around so that the peaches are visible in the middle.
4. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the coarse sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough, peach filling, egg wash, and coarse sugar.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
The American casserole is back on center stage "with a healthy helping of retro-chic and gourmet flair," thanks to The Casserole Queens Cookbook by Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock! Featured in our September Cooking column, the cookbook by two Austin gals shares recipes for "one-dish wonders" for weeknight cooking.
2. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the chicken, bell pepper, and shallots, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, tarragon, and black pepper. Add the milk and cream, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, peas, carrots, and potatoes and stir until heated thoroughly, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the hot chicken mixture to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Place the puff pastry over the top of the casserole dish. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash and press against the side of the casserole dish, then cut slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash—this will help the puff pastry brown evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Here are two other great ways to make our chicken pot pie:
Make individual pot pies! Portion out the filling into 6-ounce ramekins. Top each ramekin with some puff pastry and freeze. Cook at 425°F for 20 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. So cute!
Use store-bought pie dough and make empanadas! Using a 3-inch circle pastry cutter, cut 12 circles out of the dough. Place a large spoonful of filling on one half of each circle. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash, then fold in half to make a half-moon shape. Press the edges together firmly and crimp with a fork. Put the empanada on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
One of our September cookbooks comes from West Texas--but these aren't your everyday ranch-style meals. Louis Lambert shares "haute ranch cooking" in Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook, which "blends the bold, simple flavors of his cattle-ranching heritage with sophisticated cooking techniques, a rustic repertoire touched with elegance."
If you enjoy this recipe, you'll love the rest Big Ranch, Big City has to offer. It's out today! Enjoy!
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, the salt, white pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Evenly slice the potatoes 1/8 inch thick and place in the bowl with the seasoned cream, stirring to coat the potatoes.
Arrange the potato slices in the casserole dish, overlapping them like shingles on a roof. Pour the cream mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over the potatoes; the cream should come almost to the top layer of potatoes. Press down on the potatoes to evenly compact them into the cream.
Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan over the potatoes and then dot the top of the cheese with small pieces of the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake the gratin, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the gratin rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
It's times like these when BookPage staffers are really proud to be in Nashville -- when we're enjoying the most amazing desserts from the Loveless Cafe. The iconic Southern restaurant is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a new cookbook, Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman, which is our Cookbook of the Month for September!
Before bringing home a little Southern charm for yourself, check out pictures from our recent visit to the Loveless and the following interview with the author on the Loveless front porch:
2. Combine the remaining 21?2 cups milk and 3?4 cup of the
sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. With the tip of a knife, scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan; toss in the pod as well. Bring to a boil over medium heat; immediately reduce the heat to low.
3. Slowly whisk about half of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to warm it. Then whisk the hot egg mixture into the remaining milk in a slow, steady stream. Continue to cook, whisking, until the pudding comes to a gentle boil. Boil for a minute, remove the vanilla pod, remove from the heat, and scrape into a bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming; refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
4. To assemble the dessert, spread a thin layer of chilled pudding in a trifle dish or other deep glass or ceramic bowl. Top with a layer of overlapping banana slices and then a layer of ladyfingers. Cover with half of the remaining pudding, another layer of bananas, reserving a few slices for garnish, and then the rest of the ladyfingers, reserving 2 or 3 for garnish. Top with the remaining pudding. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to a day in advance before serving so the cookies soften completely.
5. Shortly before serving, whip the cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until soft peaks form. Top the banana pudding with dollops of whipped cream, a sprinkling of the reserved ladyfingers, crumbled, and a few slices of banana.
In case you hadn't noticed, we really love Jeni's ice cream and couldn't be more delighted for our August cooking column's top pick, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. The following video and this week's recipe are great reasons to fall in love with Jeni's, too:
Without further ado, Jeni brings us the perfect summer treat:
I’ll never forget the day Adam Welly at Wayward Seed Farm cut open his favorite variety of watermelon for me to try. A bunch of folks from our kitchen and I were at the farm one Saturday, picking huckleberries for a winter jam to use in one of our holiday flavors. As Adam hacked into the sun-bloated melon with a large soil-crusted machete, its juice streamed out everywhere. The warm melon tasted of sunburned cheeks, warm sidewalks, and sunshine and all the summertime memories of my childhood. We made watermelon lemonade sorbet as soon as we returned to the kitchen.
This sorbet is perfect on a hot summer day, and we like to toss a few black watermelon seeds back in for fun.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Heartland by Judith Fertig, one of our cookbooks from the August cooking column, celebrates good, down-home American Midwest cooking. Whoever sits at your table -- whether friends, family or just you -- will find bread made from fresh dough to be out-of-this-world. The following recipe is keeping with the spirit of Heartland: a good all-American recipe in half the time, with half the work!
Can bread dough be a pantry staple? Yes, if you consider your refrigerator as “pantry.” With a bowl of this versatile made-ahead dough on hand, you’ll be already halfway to yeasty breads, rolls, and coffee cakes. Busy Heartland farm wives in the early part of the twentieth century had two yeast dough recipes they used regularly. One was for bread and one was for dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes. This streamlined approach made life easier for them, and it can still make things easier for us today. Plus, there’s also another way to streamline bread baking.
Adding more liquid to a dough eliminates the need to knead. You can simply stir the dough together, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and bake when you’re ready. So why not have a baking day, and then wrap and freeze your wares for up to 3 months?
A Danish dough whisk features a mitten-shaped metal mixing end on a wooden handle and makes short work of mixing any dough. Measuring is an important step to assure that your bread turns out right, so follow the directions exactly.
Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finger, then dump the flour into a 16-cup mixing bowl.
Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk. Mix the honey, oil, and eggs together in a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough warm water to reach the 4-cup mark and stir together. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture, stir to combine, then beat for 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72°F) for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen to about 2 inches below the rim of the bowl and has a spongelike appearance.
Use that day in your favorite recipe for sweet bread or rolls, or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. If you like, write the date on the plastic wrap so you know the bake-by date for your dough.
We have been excited about Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home (our Cookbook of the Month for August) since May—and one of our editors had some Jeni's ice cream at Hot N Cold the day before the "rapture" (just in case). Making Jeni's delicious ice cream at home takes some careful reading and "a modicum of self-control to keep from becoming a hopeless but happy ice-creamaholic," but it's worth it. The following recipe is for Jeni's signature ice cream flavor.
Danger! This is the dry-burn technique. I don’t add water to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream. Here is an overview of what you are going to do:
Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color—like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 14 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.
Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Reduce the salt in the ice cream to 1/4 teaspoon, then make and freeze the ice cream. Pack it into the storage container, layering it with 1 cup coarsely chopped smoked almonds.
One of our cookbooks from our August cooking column combines an appreciation for the amber waves of grain with being super time-friendly. Heartland by Judith Fertig "celebrates its farm-to-table traditions, grounded in the bounty of the land and laced with the ethnic accents and pioneering spirit of the settlers." Read: you'll be cooking up the soul of America in a 2011 minute.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture until well blended. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and add the scallions to the skillet. Sauté the scallions for 1 minute, then transfer to the cornmeal batter. Crumble the bacon into fine pieces. Stir the crumbled bacon and melted butter into the batter, then spoon the batter into the hot skillet.
Immediately, wearing oven mitts, place the skillet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.
Note: Turn leftover cornbread into croutons for Prairie Panzanella (page 147) or other salads. Cut the cornbread into ¾-inch cubes, spread on a baking sheet, and toast in a 350°F oven until the edges turn golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.