Archive | June, 2012

Join the pie of the week club!

25 Jun

Pie of the week clubI always wanted to be in a club. When I was a young girl in Wisconsin, I’d devour the Babysitter’s Club books, as well at the Sweet Valley Twins (remember the Unicorn club?!). My friends and I would create clubs that would flourish and die within a day. There was the sexy club (our idea in 1994 of being sexy was wearing pink scrunchie socks), the skirt club, the pink club, the brothers and sisters club…rules were made, vows were taken, all within the 15 minute constraints of recess. And membership was always highly exclusive.

In honor of my optimistic, pig-tailed 10 year-old self, I’ve decided to create a pie of the week club, for all you pie lovers!

How does it work?

1) Subscribe to the pie of the week club on my pastry page.

2) Receive an update every Sunday directly to your inbox with the new pie of the week.

3) Place your order through my order page with at least 24 hours of anticipation.

4) Pick up your pie, or if you live in Palermo Hollywood or Soho, we’ll deliver it directly to your doorstep!

So, what are you waiting for?! Sign up for the pie of the week club and wait for our first pie of the week update, this Sunday, July 1st (no pink scrunchie socks required.)

 

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Taste! Or rather…devour.

22 Jun

Taste - Tartitas de arandanosJust a quick note about the Taste event yesterday, before I jet off to Santiago de Chile for the weekend (work hard, play hard, right?) First of all, a huge GRACIAS to the organizers who made this event possible, especially to BA Delivery who allowed me to showcase my talents in the form of blueberry tartlets.

It was a great time being able to finally meet some of the people that I know only from the internet world and also meet some new ones. My blueberry pies were a hit and seriously were flying off the table. There was a moment when I couldn’t keep up and was furiously trying to serve more and more tartitas y la gente estaba locaah! It was crazy. But that’s what happens when you tempt people with free food, no?

Now that Taste is out of the way, I’m focusing all my energies into winning the 2nd annual BA Chili Cookoff. Oh yeah. And even if I don’t win, I do, because there will be bourbon pecan pies and firecracker cornbread for sale as well (made by moi, of course). And for those of you who weren’t able to snatch a blueberry pie at Taste, there’s a rumor that there will be a limited number for sale at the cookoff! (I’m starting this rumor, please spread it.)

One final thought about the Taste event: a vendor’s table is not a garbage can, and yes, I did just see you throwing that pile of trash with curry, soy, hot and who knows what other sauce dripping out, onto my beautiful blue and white checkered tablecloth.

Why I cook and other revelations

19 Jun
Why I cook

Offering my 1st medialuna to the gods (you)

If you know me in real life, you are familiar with my crazy, anxious (some say overly-exaggerated and aggressive) personality. If you’ve ever cooked with me, you know that I’m one to bite if you get in my way, take the spoon out of your hand if you’re stirring wrong, and spank you if I feel like it. But you also know that I’m critical, demanding and hold myself and what I make to high standards and also very, very generous when it comes to feeding people carbs and sweet things.

I loved the idea of cooking from a young age. My mom had a huge red and white checkered Betty Crocker Cookbook. To me, it seemed like the bible, and I treated like that, reading through the recipes almost every day, drooling over the glossy photos; from pies to roast meats to canning fruits, this cookbook had it all. It was a revelation to me: this is how food is made! I never did try anything out, at that age, I liked the cookbooks, but cooking wasn’t my forte. Continue reading

The Lowdown on Pie Crusts

17 Jun

Someone recently asked me what my favorite thing is to make. That’s a no-brainer: pies. I absolutely love making pies for two reasons:

1) I love using my rolling pin

2) I love the millions of pie fillings you can create

The world of pie crust doughs can be broken down into three types (all with French names because, you know, translating anything into French automatically makes it good ma petite conasse), and when to use them is key to making an absolutely fabulous pie.

Pâte brisée

Blueberry pie with pâte brisée

Blueberry pie with pâte brisée

How it tastes: Rich, buttery flavor with a crisp and layered texture

When to use it: Both sweet and savory pies, quiches etc. My favorite is using it to make blueberry pie, which I’ll be serving up in mini-proportions this Thursday at Taste!

Difficulty: 5/10 (this is your average pie crust dough, it’s not like making a cake, but it’s pretty foolproof.)

Pâte sucrée

Plum tart made with pâte sucrée

Plum tart made with pâte sucrée

How it tastes: sweeter than a pâte brisée and with a lovely cookie crumbly texture

When to use: this crust is best with fruit and cream fillings, if you want to fill a pre-baked crust with a non-bake filling, this one is great.  I made this pie with plums and a vanilla glaze, but honestly, it lacked moisture…would have been perfect with a dollop of whipped cream

Difficulty: 7/10, this dough is much softer than the pâte brisée and more difficult to roll out.  Usually, I just get out the ol´hands and press the dough into the pan…forget the pin on this one!

Pâte sablée:

Lime coconut tart with pâte sablée

Lime coconut tart with pâte sablée

My absolute favorite pie crust ever.

How it tastes: divine, elegant and rustic a la vez. Flaky, sandy and buttery, complete indulgence.

When to use it: this is a great crust to make rustic free-form tarts, think plums scented with vanilla, apples with cinnamon and cloves….

Difficulty: 9/10… this dough is a pain to roll out, but that’s why they invented the word rustic. It’s the perfect cover-up for finicky dough. I used this flaky crust for the lime-coconut tart I made for NOLA chef’s Mexican pop-up this month.

What’s your favorite pie?

Easy as pie: Whisky-Coffee Chocolate Truffle Recipe

13 Jun

Chocolate TrufflesIf you’ve ever made a pie, you know there’s not much that’s easy about it. There’s the crust: making it from scratch, letting it rest, rolling it out…the filling: de-skinning the fruit, slicing even pieces…and if you’re going for a lattice top,  you might as well tack on an extra half-hour and a few &%$! moments when the weave inevitably breaks or disintegrates.

In my opinion, the saying should be “easy as truffles”, because really, it doesn’t get easier than this. Chocolate truffles are your basic ganache (chocolate and cream), chilled until solid and rolled into little, uneven balls and coated with your favorite topping. The result is a decadently, creamy chocolate ball that instantly melts in your mouth. If you know a chocolate lover, these are also the perfect birthday gift….easy to make, but they don’t know that.

Here are a few ganache tips that I’ve learned over the years:

-Chop your chocolate reaaaallllyyy tiny. I’ve been lazy and just used big chunks and have had to reheat the entire mixture…ugh.

-Use high-quality chocolate, you can really note the difference. In Argentina, I recommend Fenix brand chocolate. You can buy it at Doña Clara.

-Go wild and add extracts and liquors to your mixture to give it an extra kick (add these after the mixture has cooled down a bit, otherwise it will just evaporate.)

Whisky-Coffee Chocolate Truffle Recipe (adapted from Joy of Baking)

8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream – crema doble, in Argentina

1-2 tablespoons Whisky-Coffee Extract (I keep this on hand always, just combine 4 tablespoons of Bourbon Whisky with a teaspoon of instant coffee powder)

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream until boiling, and immediately pour onto chocolate, mix with a rubber spatula until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Wait til it cools down a bit and add the whisky-coffee extract to taste.

Put mixture in fridge (or if you’re in a hurry, just stick it in the freezer) until firm.

Scoop out small balls with a teaspoon and shape quickly with your hands into more or less even looking balls (careful, it melts! but then you get to lick your hands….) toss in cocoa powder, toasted nuts, toasted coconuts, sprinkles, powdered sugar or whatever suits your fancy. Stick in the fridge again until ready to serve.

When Pecan Pies come to Buenos Aires

2 Jun

Pecan Pie in Buenos AiresI have a genetic disorder. It was handed down to me from my mother’s side, which with almost every single woman had been infected. I’ve got the dreaded…pie-making gene, even worse, I’ve got the pie-eating gene, which often leads to excess weight gain and sugar highs. Thankfully, along with this gene, I’ve also been handed down the coveted Pecan Pie recipe. With secret ingredients that only a Wisconsin lady can put together to make one, seriously addictive and delicious pecan pie.

What is it about the pecan pie that makes it so good? Is it the crunchy topping with beautiful toasted pecan aromas? Or is it the smooth, carmel-y filling? One might say that the crust is key. Too bad you can rarely find that buttery, flaky crust with a touch of sweetness that you are often looking and hoping for….But what if you could? What if you could find the perfect pecan pie, and what’s more…find it right here in Buenos Aires?

Guess what? Your life just got worth living for. On Saturday, June 9th, 2012 the Argentine Independent is hosting an Underground Market in Almagro, there will be lots of amazing vendors selling delicious products, incluso me, selling my incredible pecan pie, as well as some other delicious pies…cheesecakes, perhaps?

This is not something you want to miss.

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