Sunday, July 18, 2010
Ice cream is gorgeous. It's the supermodel of frozen desserts. Sure, its career is fleeting, but it's just so damned photogenic when it's at the top of its game.
I didn't really appreciate this fact until I wrote America's Best Ice Cream Shops, which published today. I've always known ice cream tastes delicious, but just look at the photos in this gallery, and you'll see what I mean. Ice cream transcends the medium, offering the hint of a taste even in its two-dimensional form.
Thanks to Kathryn for the picture!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I like to think of it as the lazy cook's pie. In the equation, I am said lazy cook. There's no trimming rolled-out dough to fit a tin, no weighting down, no crimping, no blind-baking before filling. It's little more than rolling out the chilled dough, heaping it full of fruit, folding up the edges, and baking. But it tastes perfect every time, and it's the pie equivalent of "Supper is dinner with its shirt undone. It's relaxed, languid, louche." (Yes, I just quoted from the Leftover Supper episode of Posh Nosh; watch it here.)
Blueberries seemed like just the thing for the Fourth, so trusty sous-chef (who said she feels like a little sister whenever she cooks at my house) Anna and I, armed with two quarts of pesticide-free blueberries from Stockton, created this one.
Details: After AJ said they don't use shortening at the bakery, I switched my go-to dough recipe from Macrina (which uses shortening) to the Chez Panisse Cafe version. Here it is:
(makes enough for 2 galettes; freeze one and you'll make your future self very happy)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t sugar
1/4 t salt
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
Combine the flour, sugar, salt in a bowl, then cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Add half the butter and work in with fingertips (or in the food processor- this recipe doesn't mention it, but I'm pretty sure I remember Mark Bittman saying it was okay) until the dough has the texture of coarse oatmeal. Add the rest of the butter and work into the dough until the biggest pieces are lima-bean sized. Pour about 1/2 c of ice water into the dough in several stages, tossing and mixing between additions. Don't try to dampen dough evenly; it should look ropy and rough. Stop adding water when there are still a few bits of dry flour remaining. Gather dough into 2 balls and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap, pressing down to flatten each. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before rolling (may be frozen for a few weeks).
Roll the ball into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured board. Refrigerate the rolled-out dough for 1/2 hour before using (I always forget this step, but it still comes out well).
As for the filling, here's a good way to go for most fruit: Mix and sprinkle over the dough the following: 2 T sugar, 1 T ground-up almonds, 1 T flour. Heap about 1 1/4 fruit on top, leaving a 2-inch border to fold over. Spinkle fruit with about 2-3 T sugar. Fold up the border, then brush it with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Cook at 400 for 40-50 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes or so.