Marble cakes are homey and festive at the same time. A marble cake looks slick when you slice into it and reveal the delicate pattern of the two batters swirled together. Rather than dividing the base batter in half, I like to remove about a third of it and add the chocolate.
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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.
This tart is a baked ganache (a simple mixture of chocolate and cream), scented with orange zest and rum, topped with chopped walnuts, in a sweet walnut pastry crust. A final drizzle of chocolate makes a simple decoration.
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.
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.
Back when Sweets first launched, we kicked off these special weeks profiling sweets mavens and their recipes with the very talented Nick Malgieri. With the fall season here, we decided to bring Nick back on Sweets to spotlight some of his more autumnal treats.
These brownies are almost as rich as chocolate truffles. They're the best cut the day after they're baked so they have time to firm up first.
These snow-white little cakes are as delicious as any coconut sweet I've ever tasted. Unsweetened coconut is available both as long shreds (like the sweetened coconut you can buy in the supermarket) or more finely ground. The shreds retain more moisture than the ground coconut does, but either may be used in this recipe
All good cookies are addictive, but these are particularly dangerous. If their shatteringly crisp texture weren't enough, the buttery flavor is accentuated and deepened by brown sugar.
These are about as gingery as you can get, so be forewarned if you're not a ginger lover. Actually, these bar cookies tend to convert people to the pleasures of ginger—the bars are made with dried ground ginger and crystallized ginger, so they offer a strong ginger flavor, but very little burn. Lemon zest in the bars and lemon juice in the glaze add a note of contrast.
I've often confessed to being addicted to crumb topping. Recently, I found a new way to enjoy it—atop a tart that has a prebaked crust and a creamy filling. Right now the local berries are sweet, so take advantage of them in this tart. Strawberries are excellent, but you can also use blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination of berries.
We're thrilled that on Serious Eats: Sweets, we'll have all sorts of guest writers chiming in—and even more thrilled that the first esteemed chef to join us is Nick Malgieri, one of the most respected, credentialed, all-around master bakers out there.