How to Light a Christmas Pudding on Fire (Because Why Not?)

To an American palate, Christmas pudding may taste like a yummy, gooey, extra-rich fruitcake (in a good way) that’s slathered with hard sauce (which ensures that you will like it even if you don’t care for fruitcake) and eaten with a spoon.
This is on…

To an American palate, Christmas pudding may taste like a yummy, gooey, extra-rich fruitcake (in a good way) that's slathered with hard sauce (which ensures that you will like it even if you don’t care for fruitcake) and eaten with a spoon.

This is one family’s version of a traditional English Christmas pudding, famously carried to the table in flames with a sprig of holly on top. It's studded with dried fruit—three kinds of raisins, plus prunes—along with chopped fresh apples and almonds, bread crumbs, grated suet (raw beef fat), stout, and brandy. A little flour and a couple of eggs hold it all together.

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How—and Why—to Use Buckwheat Flour in More of Your Baking

Did you grow up eating buckwheat pancakes and loving (or hating) kasha? Maybe you’ve tasted buckwheat crepes in Brittany, slurped soba noodles in Japanese restaurants, or have a passing acquaintance with blinis and caviar? If so, you might think that y…

Did you grow up eating buckwheat pancakes and loving (or hating) kasha? Maybe you’ve tasted buckwheat crepes in Brittany, slurped soba noodles in Japanese restaurants, or have a passing acquaintance with blinis and caviar? If so, you might think that you know buckwheat.

Its name notwithstanding, the buckwheat plant is a pseudo-cereal—neither grass nor grain—and has nothing to do with wheat. Gluten- and grain-free, organic buckwheat flour has more protein, dietary fiber, and B vitamins than an equal weight of oat or whole wheat flour, and is an excellent source of potassium and essential amino acids. If you are an avid omnivore (like me) such details are incidental; you’ll fall in love with buckwheat for its robust, earthy, grassy, slightly bitter (in a good way), hoppy flavors, which also has hints of rose. I also just love how the flour looks—it’s a slate-y lavender brown, flecked with darker bits of hull.

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The Best Pumpkin Pie Doesn’t Need a Crust

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich is going rogue on Food52—with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: Enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, minus the crust—because the filling’s the best part, right?! Read More >>

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich is going rogue on Food52—with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, minus the crust—because the filling's the best part, right?!

Read More >>

Have We Been Making Poached Eggs All Wrong?

I’ve been poaching eggs at least once, if not four or five times, a week for decades. That’s how I know there’s way too much overthinking, and just plain silly thinking, around poaching eggs. They are the easiest (and best) eggs you can make!
An old b…

I’ve been poaching eggs at least once, if not four or five times, a week for decades. That’s how I know there’s way too much overthinking, and just plain silly thinking, around poaching eggs. They are the easiest (and best) eggs you can make!

An old boyfriend taught me to make poached eggs. Rather, I watched him do it. He’d crack and ease the eggs one by one into a shallow pan of simmering water, plop the lid on the pan, turn off the heat, push toast in the toaster, and go shave. He’d stroll back into the kitchen clean-shaven, retrieve the toast, and plop the eggs on top. Nothing to it—and a nice memory.

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27 Fig Recipes Because They’re *Finally* in Season

This is probably a good time to mention that the best fresh figs are not usually the perfect, good-looking firm ones. Oh no! You want ’em soft, squishy, even oozing a bit of syrupy juice. Some of the best are the ones that have started to wrinkle a bit…

This is probably a good time to mention that the best fresh figs are not usually the perfect, good-looking firm ones. Oh no! You want 'em soft, squishy, even oozing a bit of syrupy juice. Some of the best are the ones that have started to wrinkle a bit after sitting for a couple of days on your counter. If you are someone who just "doesn’t get" what the fuss about figs is all about, you haven’t tasted a good and properly ripe fig.

Photo by James Ransom

Figs can go sweet or savory. They love honey, or caramel, or cinnamon and sugar. They appreciate a little salt and/or pepper, and positively shine in the company of cultured dairy like sour cream, crème fraîche, yogurt, labneh, or quark—and all kinds of soft fresh or hard aged cheeses. They are crazy good with savory meats like prosciutto or bacon, so go ahead and stuff a sandwich or garnish a pizza. They also play nice with dark chocolate, and they’re nuts about nuts. And when it comes to cooking, figs are brilliant at the extremes: cooked either hot and fast—just to caramelize their cut sides—or long enough to stew in their own juices.

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How to Make Better Powdered Sugar Icing & Frosting

Baking expert Alice Medrich is the person to ask about everything from skipping sugar in lemon curd to saving over-whipped cream. This time, she’s sharing her best tips on powdered sugar frosting and icing, so your cakes and cookies can look and feel t…

Baking expert Alice Medrich is the person to ask about everything from skipping sugar in lemon curd to saving over-whipped cream. This time, she's sharing her best tips on powdered sugar frosting and icing, so your cakes and cookies can look and feel their very best.  

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