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'Maida's Big Apple Pie' from Nick Malgieri

Once when visiting Maida in Miami Beach we fell to talking about pies. "They're the hardest thing of any to get right, don't you think?" Maida asked me. True perfectionist that she is, Maida meant that to get the pastry dough to a golden flakiness and the filling to just the right stage between runny and set required a lot of work. She then told me that a young friend had just asked her to teach her to make an apple pie, and that she had thought about it for a while and decided to make a big free-standing pastry that partially enclosed a cinnamon and brown sugar-scented cooked apple filling. This pie is inspired by hers. More

Nick Malgieri's Sicilian Fig Bars

Although fig bars are standard American fare, fig-filled cookies are also very traditional in Sicily, where they are called cucidati. I've decided to merge the two and make a fig bar that is shaped like the industrially-made one, but has some typical Sicilian seasonings in it for extra flavor. More

Nick Malgieri's Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

This intriguing recipe comes from my friend Fritz Blank, chef-owner of the now-defunct Deux Cheminées, one of Philadelphia's loveliest restaurants. I like to use pure or light (rather than extra virgin) olive oil to prepare it. This is a great dessert to make if you're expecting a crowd; it makes 2 cakes with one batter that's easily mixed. The best part is that they can be made days in advance, wrapped, and frozen, so you don't have to fuss any more than defrosting the cakes and making some whipped cream before you serve them. More

Shuna Lydon's Hojicha-Burnt Honey Ice Cream

It seems odd to say that one of my favorite aspects of this ice cream is its bitterness—its 1-2 punch of double bitterness created by the burning of the honey and the long steeping of a tannic roasted tea—but it's true. Somehow by being a ridiculously smooth and silky butterfat-enveloped ice cream it all calms in your mouth. My First Assistant sums it up by saying it tastes of bubble tea without the large black tapioca pearls. Whichever way you spin it, it's a delicious ice cream flavor you can't stop eating once you start. And it's refined-sugar free. Sugar refined by humans, that is. More

Shuna Lydon's Blueberry, Juniper, and Cornmeal Drop Scones

I have a thing for foresty flavors. If a tea is described as mossy; if pine needles are infused into a custard; if gnomes built their homes and hung their tall red felt hats there, I'm in. While making a California Bay Laurel leaf pastry cream and blueberry compote for a filled doughnut, I discovered the blueberry's affinity with piney flavors. At Peels, where I'm the pastry chef, we offer seasonal herb, fruit and vegetable monthly-changing sweet and savory scones. Cornmeal offers great textural juxtaposition, as well as an obvious seasonal pairing. On the East Coast there's no better berry to dedicate late summer bakery offerings to than our prized blueberries. More

Introducing Shuna Lydon Week

Internet folk may know Shuna Lydon as the voice behind eggbeater, a long-running and beautifully written blog full of musings on the craft of baking and the life of a pastry chef. California folk may remember her as pastry chef at Yountville's Bouchon, before a number of other kitchens on both sides of the Bay; New Yorkers may know her as the pastry chef at Peels, where we're pretty crazy about her muffins and sweets. So we're thrilled that she'll be sharing five recipes with us this week—as a baker and a blogger, who could be better? More

Nancy Olson's Lemon Verbena Granita

I think this is a perfect recipe to make in the summer. It requires very little time in the kitchen, and it's deceiving—it looks so plain and simple, but the flavor of it absolutely pops. The granita needs no garnish, but it is a perfect accompaniment to perfectly ripe nectarines or raspberries. More

Nancy Olson's Blueberry Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt

I wanted to share a recipe that makes use of what is beautiful and delicious at the farmers' market right now. The blueberries have that perfect balance of sweet and tart. We've combined blueberries and yogurt for a refreshing treat that you don't need to heat up your kitchen to enjoy. I think a scoop of this is amazing solo, but a little granola gives it a great textural contrast (and possibly an excuse to eat it for breakfast!). More

Introducing Nancy Olson Week

Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Nancy Olson was raised on a farm in Napoleon, North Dakota—so that explains her affinity and passion for classic homey American desserts. And her time at the Culinary Institute of America and in fine New York restaurant kitchens explains her technical skill. She still found herself gravitating to the honey, honest desserts she grew up eating—only now at the Gramercy Tavern, where she has been for the last five years, she infuses them with a contemporary sensibility, a dedication to seasonality, and a kind of guileless sophistication that reflects both her North Dakota roots and the city of New York, where she now lives and works. More

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