Thursday, February 7, 2013


This recipe can be baked in an 8 inch cast iron or two mini loaf pans. The mini loaf pans are cuter but the cast iron makes a crisper crust. If you are using a coated metal pan, do not preheat the pan in the oven. Melt the butter separately, add it according to the recipe followed by the batter.

Southern Cornbread
5 tablespoons of butter
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place an 8 inch cast iron skillet in the oven while it heats.

Brown four tablespoons of butter. Add half cup of cornmeal and water and stir to make a stiff mush.

Whisk the remaining half cup of cornmeal with the baking powder and baking powder.

Whisk the egg and buttermilk until smooth then mix into the cornmeal mush. Stir dry ingredients into the mush.

Take the hot cast iron out of the oven. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, swirl around the pan to melt and coat the pan evenly. Pour in the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

almond cream | pastry basics

Almond cream, frangipane, and crème d'amande are often used interchangeably but technically, almond cream and frangipane are not the same thing. Crème d'amande is French for almond cream but frangipane is almond cream mixed with pastry cream. The Tartine book offers two recipes for frangipane. The first is a traditional frangipane that is almond cream plus pastry cream, the second variation looks a lot like a traditional almond cream with equal parts butter, sugar, and almonds. I followed the Bouchon recipe but most recipes end up looking pretty similar. I got rid of the tiny amount of flour and added a splash of amaretto (we use Lazzaroni).

Almond Cream

100 grams almond meal, or almond flour
100 grams powdered sugar
100 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, approximately 60 grams
1 tablespoon amaretto (I'll try to weigh this next time I make it)

Beat butter until fluffy, add powdered sugar and mix. Add almonds, egg, and amaretto and beat until smooth and creamy.

Cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen. Bring back to room temperature and beat until the cream can be spread easily. It can be used as a tart or croissant filling, or smeared on brioche for bostock.