WHY THE HELL DO I SUCK SO BAD AT BAKING?
Or, more to the point, How do I get myself some help, ’cause we won’t be covering this in couples therapy this week. Answers, Straight Up is a section of this Greek Tragedy blog, where I typically answer your questions. Sometimes, though, I have my own needling preguntas. So, today, we begin with one of my questions.
My husband Phil and I met you and Elizabeth the other night at Laura & Jamie’s dinner party. I cannot stop thinking about your dessert. It was outrageous. You are one very talented man. I must know, Senor Science, what are your favorite baking cookbooks? And from where, oh where, did that recipe come? I heard you made it three times prior to the dinner party, just to perfect it… that takes serious dedication. I’m way impressed. Please share!
NEW FRIENDS MIGHT BE AS GOOD AS DESSERT & WINE
My two baking gurus are Rose Levy Beranbaum (author of The Cake Bible, The Bread Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, and Rose’s Christmas Cookies, all of which i won and which you are free to borrow if you want to give them the once-over); and Alice Medrich (Bittersweet, Pure Dessert, Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts– i own the first two). Beranbaum is not only an artist/baker, she’s a food scientist, and wrote her master’s thesis on the properties of yellow cake. her recipes are flawless, and she really understands food at a chemical/physical level. i make a variation of her matzoh (i blend rye, wheat, and all-purpose) that will knock your socks off; she has a wonderful butter cream that she formulated to eliminate the need for using a candy thermometer. and so on… medrich is the goddess of chocolate, and opened her doors to the world in berkeley, i believe, and pushed out truffles that people still talk about. Pure Dessert is not as challenging as Bittersweet in terms of equipment needed, specialty ingredients, and things of that sort; that said, buy them both or borrow mine. that warm mocha tart came from ‘bittersweet’ and takes about an hour to prepare. i don’t know how much of a baker you are, but in the event you want to drop over with or without Phil to make one of these (or anything else) chez moi, say so: i spend most of saturday and sunday baking when i’m not riding my bicycles, and elizabeth just hangs out, doing yoga. we’re a simple people :) Let’s try to hook up one of these weekend afternoons, pick an item or two….i do a killer cream puff, and can get you on a nice pate choux and working a pastry bag in no time – let me know your schedule, we’re free and usually just hang out on the weekends. failing all that, we ought to get on each other’s rolodexes as i like to have the occasional sunday afternoon drop-by for sweets and wine.
Next Sunday, I’ll be stopping by early, spending the day with my new friend, letting him teach me his secret pastry bag tricks (this sounds like a dirty euphemism, but it’s not). Phil will join us later to sample all the sweets. More than sweets, I love making new friends, and perhaps more than that, I LOVE learning new skills!
GOT QUESTIONS? NEED ADVICE?
If you have questions or need advice on anything from where to eat to how to get over the bastard, just email your question to my advice email address.
5 YEARS AGO: Portovenere