When February rolled around this winter, I knew it was my time to host my book club.I just didn’t know what I was going to serve for our afternoon gathering. Besides loving to read, our members are all foodies, so naturally I wanted the spread to be special. I finally decided on making a bowl of broccoli soup with curried crème fraiche that I offered in small portions ladled into ramekins. A quartet of cheeses filled a cheese board along with grapes, apples, and crispy date-studded crackers. On the sweet side, I arranged a bowl of blueberries and raspberries next to a basket of almond and orange tuiles. But, the winning dish turned out to be Apple Napoleons, my twist on traditional French pastries known as Napoleons or mille feuilles that usually include a custard filling.
I used purchased puff pastry, cutting a sheet of the dough into rectangles and then baking them until they had risen and were golden and flaky. The pastries were halved, and the bottom layers spread with lemon- and ginger-scented crème fraiche. Next they were topped with spiced sautéed apple Continue reading
Our family will be with us for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and while our son will pick out the wines, I will, as always, be in charge of the menu. Each year I prepare roast turkey basted with herb butter served with dark shallot pan gravy accompanied by cornbread and leek dressing. These two dishes are so popular with our clan that there would be a revolt should I think of presenting the bird and dressing any other way. I have free range, however, when it comes to the rest of the menu.
This year, for example, I’m adding an Apple and Cherry Crumble with Ginger Crème Fraîche to our dessert table. Far easier than an apple pie, but just as tempting, it is made with diced Granny Smiths and tart dried cherries covered with a crisp golden topping that includes oats, walnuts, and brown sugar. What sets this crumble apart from others, though, is the crème fraîche scented with honey and freshly grated ginger drizzled over the warm meltingly tender baked apples. Continue reading
Early this spring I had a chance to dine at Ottolenghi, an excellent, yet unpretentious restaurant in the Islington area of London. My meal was so memorable that I wrote about it on my blog, mentioning a celestial Apple and Sultana Cake with Maple Frosting.
Back home, I couldn’t get the heavenly cake out of mind, and set out to reproduce it. After multiple tries, including several failed icing attempts, I had a version close to my remembrance of the original. Then, by chance, I found the recipe for the Ottolenghi cake on line, reprinted from one of the chef’s earlier cookbooks. The British cake was made with olive oil, mine Continue reading