Results tagged Nick Malgieri from David Lebovitz

Banana Loaf Cake Recipe

I had planned to write up my post-Thanksgiving report, but I decided to wait until the smoke cleared before I tell ‘The Tale’ of what really happened that night…which involved a high-speed car chase through Paris, a few hypodermic needles, and a couple of user-unfriendly hors.

In the meantime, I thought I’d write a bit about what’s been baking around here, which I assure you will be just as exciting.

I’ve been cooking my way through Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Light Desserts which I featured in a recent interview, and have had a great time making many of the recipes from, including this towering chocolate cake I made for the first Thanksgiving I had.
(Yes, we celebrate twice here.)

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Not Banana Cake…but a super-rich Chocolate Rum Cake

Since I’ve been on the subject of leftovers around here, I confess much of this baking was due to a surplus of applesauce I’d made from an apple-picking I did when my friends who live in the countryside complained they had too many apples and didn’t know what to do with them all.

So I thought I would be a very good person, and help them out.

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Interview: Baker Nick Malgieri

Since I’m on an Italian fling here, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to interview Nick Malgieri, whose fabulous recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies I recently featured on the site. Nick is one of the most knowledgeable bakers in the world, frequently hobnobbing with such luminaries as Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan, swapping recipes and baking techniques. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from Nick’s books myself, which range from the ultimate treatise on cookies, to one of the most beautiful books on chocolate in my vast collection.

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Nick Malgieri’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

Recently I bought a sack of delightfully-crispy Boskop apples, my favorite of all French apple varieties.

After a quick rinse, I eagerly took a bite, my teeth breaking through the tight skin, anticipating the cool, crisp-tart flesh of a just-harvested apple.

But instead I spit it out: the flesh had gone soft and my precious apple was completely inedible.

Now any normal person would have tossed the rest of that apple in the garbage and grabbed another one. But not me. Since I am my mother’s son, I can’t throw anything away, no matter how trivial. But being quick-witted, I thought I would combine my frugal nature with my amazing generosity and the need to present a recipe here on the site, which is something I haven’t been able to do in a while due to my travels and travails.

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I’ve been working on an interview with master baker Nick Malgieri, who just came out with a new book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving (whew!). Look for that interview here, which became so lengthy and interesting that I’m still working on it, and will appear in the next week or so here on the site. I’ll talk to Nick about teaching, being the pastry chef at Window’s On The World, why he steals recipes from me, and what it’s like to write cookbooks.

Because the recipes in his latest book have less-calories than regular desserts, several recipes use applesauce as a base. So like the abnormal person I’ve become living alone in my Parisian garret, a reclusive phantom of le gâteau Opera, I made The World’s Tiniest Batch of Applesauce, but managed to turn it into two baking sheets of Nick’s exceptionally chewy, dense, and delicious oatmeal cookies.

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Here’s my adaptation of the recipe from Nick’s book. Although he calls for raisins, I didn’t have any, so instead of actually leaving my apartment, I dug deep into my valuable expat stash for the benefit of my readers (yeah, right…) and substituted tart, bright-red dried cranberries instead. But you could use any diced dried fruit that you want.
I didn’t have any oatmeal on hand either. So I used tofu.

Ok, just kidding (that was for all the ‘substitution’ people…and you know who you are!)
I used a mixture called cinq céréales, a blend of rolled oats, wheat, rye and other rolled grains that I stock up on at Naturalia, which is Paris’ health-food store chain and a great place to explore, and see how ‘healthy’ Parisians eats. (If you’re expecting to see Birkenstocks and draw-string pants, though, you going to be disappointed.) And although I’ve become un pea Parisian, I guess you can take the boy out of America, you can’t take America out of the boy, and I supersized them, making my cookies bigger using about 2 tablespoons of the batter per cookie. I got 16 cookies, which were gone in a flash, since I bribed…uh, I mean…brought them to vendors at my local market who had no idea what an oatmeal cookie was. Needless to say, I got a few more stranger looks than usual yesterday, handing out cookies from a sack, but no one seemed to mind. The French are pushovers for anything delicious, which has made my life a whole lot easier around here, let me tell you.

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Unfortunately, though, I ate quite a bit of the dough before it could be baked. How could I resist? It was like the most delicious, yummiest ‘bowl of’ oatmeal I’ve ever tasted, all bound together with a touch of French butter and golden brown sugar. And although my tinkering with the size probably screwed up the calorie guidelines, they were delicious and I figure I’ll just have one less glass of wine this month to make up for it.
Really.

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Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
About 36 cookies

Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs (HarperCollins).

  • 1 cup flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins (or dried cranberries)

2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, foil, or silicone mats

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the egg, applesauce, and vanilla.

4. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.

5. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.

6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they “look dull on the surface but are moist and soft”, according to Nick. Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.

(I made mine bigger, so whatever size you make them, just bake them until they look as directed by Nick.)

Storage: Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Kugelhof Recipe

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One thing that does seem to cross international lines successfully is baking.
I never visit a country without sampling their baking. I visit bakeries and want to try everything, from Mexico’s delicious tortillas served warm with butter, to Indian naan breads just from a tandoori oven.

Here in France during the winter, the windows of pastry shops are lined with all sizes of Galettes de Rois, disks of caramelized puff pastry filled with almond paste. Alsation bakers offer sweet, doughyGugelhofs with plumped raisins and toasted almonds with freshly-grated citrus peel. And even though the world is mired in cultural misunderstandings, wars, and hostility, perhaps the United Nations might consider sending an International Baking Brigade around the world to promote cross-cultural baking traditions.

So while that ain’t likely to happen in my lifetime, I was thrilled to receive a new book from Nick Malgieri of baking recipes from around the world. I was fortunate to meet Nick years ago when I was starting my career writing cookbooks and he was overtly generous giving me advice about writing and publishing. Fortunately for bakers everywhere, Nick shares his vast knowledge of baking in his many well-written books. He perhaps knows more about baking than anyone I’ve ever met and is one of my heroes.

His latest cookbook, A Baker’s Tour, is a terrific and comprehensive overview of the world’s most delicious baked goods.

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So when last week I trekked out to Vandermeersch for their amazing Kugelhof, I was distressed to learn they’re only available on weekends. (Of course, being in France, if I had gone out, say…Thursday, I would have discovered, “Desolé Monsieur, We make kugelhofs every day…except Thursday.”)

I was delighted to find a recipe in Nick’s book and decided to bake a yeasty Kugelhof myself. It also gave me also the opportunity to use the beautiful ceramic Alsatian Kugelhof mold that I found while pickling through some neglected boxes at a vide grenier, a neighborhood flea market, a few weeks ago in Paris.

Nick calls this a Gugelhof, which is the Austrian name for this cake. He advises to measure flour by spooning it into a graduated measuring cup, then leveling it off. I made an orange flower water syrup to soak the cake, an inspiration from Vandermeersch bakery, as suggested in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Paris Sweets.

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Kugelhof

Adapted from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri and Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan.

Sponge

½ cup milk
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Dough

  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (see note below)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, for lining the cake pan

One 6- to 8-cup kugelhof pan (or you can use a bundt pan)

1. Maker the sponge by warming the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until it’s tepid. Pour into a bowl, and mix in the yeast then the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the raisins and the rum, then set aside.

3. In a standing electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and salt with the paddle attachment until soft and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.

4. Beat in the egg yolks until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, add the sponge, then beat another minute.

5. Drain the raisins then beat the rum into the dough, then beat in the flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes.

6. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.

7. Slowly beat in the raisins and chopped almonds.

8. Scrape the dough into a butter bowl and turn it so the top is buttered. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough just begins to puff, about 20 minutes.

9. Butter the kugelhof mold well the scatter the sliced almonds over the inside of the mold, turning to coat it evenly.

10. Scrape the dough into the kugelhof mold and cover with a towel or buttered plastic wrap.

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Let rise until doubled.

11. About 15 minutes before the dough is fully risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the kugelhof until it’s well-risen, and deep golden, about 40-45 minutes.

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Cool the kugelhof for 10 minutes, then unmold.

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To make a nice, moist syrupy glaze; bring 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar to a boil. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved and add 1 ½ teaspoons orange flower water and 2 tablespoons finely ground almonds (optional, but good).
Liberally brush the syrup all over, on top of, and around the cake.

Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Note: To peel your own almonds, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the untoasted almonds and let cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain. Once the almonds are cool enough to handle, the skins will slip right off.

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Toast the almonds until golden brown for best flavor before using. I snap one in half to make sure they’re crispy all the way through.

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Most nuts benefit from being toasted in a 350° oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Continue Reading Kugelhof Recipe…