Results tagged almond extract from David Lebovitz

Cherry Compote

Fresh Cherry Compote recipe

I think I have something wrong with me. I seem to be afflicted with a particular malady that forces me to buy way too many summer fruits when they’re in season. It gets particularly dire when faced with apricots and cherries, two fruits whose seasons are much shorter than the others. The first fresh apricots I saw were back in upstate New York, around the 1980s, and I’d never seen them before. Someone brought us a basket of the tender, squishy little orange fruits to the restaurant that I worked at, and I remember being completely taken off guard, as the only apricots I’d ever seen were the dried ones. And while I loved the crinkly dried specimens, those fresh beauties with a red blush were a whole other taste entirely.

Fresh Cherry Compote recipe

Then, when I moved to California, I discovered how abundant fresh apricots are (or can be), as they are in France. But no matter how abundant – or not – cherries are when the season is in full swing, I always consider them extra-special fruits and give a prominent place in my kitchen. At the beginning of the season, they’re incredibly expensive and rarely good. Then, as the season moves along, they start showing up in larger mounds at the market, and the prices get gentler, coaxing me to buy as many as I can heft.

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Almond Cake

almond cake

Seeing as I don’t get out as much as I’d like to, I’ve never really thought about what would be my “desert island” cake. Or should I say “dessert island” cake? As in, what is the one cake that I would want with me if I couldn’t have any other kind. Chocolate figures largely into the equation, but as much as I love Chocolate Orbit Cake or a custard-filled Coconut Cake, I’d have to say that this Almond Cake would be the one that I would choose to sustain me through thick and thin.

We made almond cake at least once weekly when I baked at Chez Panisse, which I’ve adapted from one of my baking bibles, Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere. Lindsey was the executive pastry chef of the restaurant, and co-owner, since the beginning, and she told me she used cook and bake everything in a home oven stowed away in a shed behind the restaurant, which is those days, was akin to the backyard in Berkeley. I always imagine something like a kid’s rickety fort, except one that smelled a little better.

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French Pear & Almond Tart Recipe

french pear tart with cherries

I’ve been living in France for almost eight years and in all that time, I’ve yet to make even one of these classic French pear tarts. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a bakery that didn’t have wedges of this tart in little paper footings, ready to take out and be consumed right away. So I guess because I could always buy one, why make it? But since I had a kilo of almond paste that I bought for another project, a batch of poached pears on hand, and an unbaked tart shell waiting it’s turn in my freezer, I decided to give one a go.

This is a wonderful tart: pears fanned out in a golden-brown, buttery pastry shell that’s been spread with almond cream, then baked. And after I pulled this one out of the oven, I realized why it’s important to make this yourself; because it tastes amazing when still-warm from the oven, and you can use your own poached pears so you can vary the spices to your taste. (However you can use canned pear halves, which many of the French pastry shops do.)

Aside from the almond paste, I also had a jar of quick-candied sour cherries on hand from another baking project (if it seems like I have a lot of baking odds and ends on hand, welcome to my world…), so I used them as well, which is something I haven’t seen in any French bakery. I’m thinking of suggesting they use them on my next visit.

poached pears peartartb&w

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Chocolate Milkshake Recipe with Coffee & Almond

If you’re thinking that you’ve been ‘set up’ by the previous post for Chocolate Sherbet, je suis coupable. (I am guilty.) You likely know Adam Ried as the man who obsessively tests equipment and recipes on America’s Test Kitchen. He was also an editor at Cook’s Illustrated for ten years. So when I saw his new book devoted to milkshakes, because I always have a freezer full of ice creams, sherbets, and sorbets, I was delighted to have a fool-proof collection of well-tested recipes—and my blender has been begging for mercy ever since.

Because he’s super-sweet, I asked Adam if he’d like to share a recipe from Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, his all-new collection of milkshake basics, plus everything from Malted Caramel to Mango, Chile, and Lime. I was delighted when he agreed.

So get out those blenders, and welcome Adam Ried!.. dl

milkshake

Shake de l’Opéra

“Opera.”

Quick….. what leapt to your mind when you read that word? For the culture vultures among us, maybe it was Monteverdi. Or Mozart. Or Wagner.

For me, it would be chocolate (which, admittedly, often comes to mind no matter what words I’m reading), followed immediately by coffee, and then almond.

This winning flavor trifecta defines gâteau de l’Opéra, an ever-present stalwart of pâtisseries from one end of Paris to the other. Most gâteaux de l’Opéra hew pretty close to this alluring formula: thin layers of almond cake, soaked in coffee syrup, alternated with layers of coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache, all hidden under a cloak of glistening chocolate glaze.

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