whole lemon meringue pie bars

I’ve apparently been wanting to make lemon meringue pie bars for at least eight years, as per my decade-plus log of everything I want to cook. Three different times I’ve tried to draft a recipe but I always got stuck on how much wa…

I’ve apparently been wanting to make lemon meringue pie bars for at least eight years, as per my decade-plus log of everything I want to cook. Three different times I’ve tried to draft a recipe but I always got stuck on how much was involved, both in three separate cooking processes and eggs, just so many eggs. Whole eggs in the lemon portion, egg whites for the topping… it just felt like a lot, if not a dealbreaker, enough reason for me to pause on the idea until I had a more efficient way to approach it.

grahams or digestives, sugar, salt, buttercold butter crumb crustpress-in crustready to par-bake

I found it in Susan Spungen’s (who you might remember from this Perfect Tarte Tatin) latest cookbook, Open Kitchen, which focuses on cooking for casual entertaining, a distant memory these days but I do love the breezy-feeling recipes here. Spungen is a recipe developer and food stylist and I know that the latter connotes images of a person moving parsley around with tweezers or using dental grip to keep a cookie in place on set, in reality, most food stylists I know arrive at work and are handed a stack of recipes that may or may not even work, which they have to cook and plate them in a very short window of time. The food stylists I know are very good cooks, skilled at cutting to the chase of a recipe. Spungen’s book benefits from this.

eggs, butter, lemonlemon, butter, yolks, sugarblend until very smoothpour onto crust and bake

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any-kind-of-fruit galette

The days are getting longer, fruit that has recently emerged from the earth, rather than cellophane, is showing up at markets and in CSAs, and you know what this means, right? It’s time to resist the siren call of pie season and make a g…

The days are getting longer, fruit that has recently emerged from the earth, rather than cellophane, is showing up at markets and in CSAs, and you know what this means, right? It’s time to resist the siren call of pie season and make a galette instead. Galettes are the very best way to bring pie into your everyday life — and yes, I believe your everyday life deserves baked fruit in a buttery, flaky shell — because everything about them is easier. A single crust requires less time and less work. Because it doesn’t have the responsibility of keeping pounds of fruit from soaking into a pie plate, a more tender and flaky dough can be used. The filling uses less fruit and requires less of a shopping commitment. There’s less flavor-occluding sugar and thickeners because galettes are more forgiving of messiness. You don’t need a particular pan or even shape; oblong blobs taste as good and work exactly as well as circles.

butter into flour and saltfingers or pastry blenderadd sour cream and waterbring into a packet

There have been twelve galette recipes on this site since I established my membership on Team Galette a mind-boggling 14 years ago, but they all suffer from what I call a specificity problem. This one has a cool shape and ricotta. This one has amaretti crumbs. This one is thicker and barely sweetened. This one is part cheesecake. But when, I have some strawberries, a few stalks of rhubarb, and half a lemon in my fridge and I don’t want to think too hard about things? This is the one I make.

what I usedwith sugar, thickener, lemon juiceready to rollrolledfilledbrushed and sugared, ready to bake

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perfect apple tarte tatin

[Welcome to the second episode of the Sous-Chef Series, a sporadic feature on SK in which I invite cooks I admire over to my small kitchen to teach me — and thus, us — to make one of their specialties. Spoiler: I’m the sous! …

[Welcome to the second episode of the Sous-Chef Series, a sporadic feature on SK in which I invite cooks I admire over to my small kitchen to teach me — and thus, us — to make one of their specialties. Spoiler: I’m the sous! Previously: Making potato vareniki with Kachka’s Bonnie Frumpkin.]

Almost without fail, the more bafflingly short an ingredient list and the more stunningly delicious the outcome, the more likely it is to rivet me. I don’t need all recipes to have 5- or 10- or fewer ingredients — I fare poorly under arbitrarily restrictive confines — but doesn’t it just blow your mind that you can make the apple tarte tatin above with only apples, sugar, butter, lemon juice, and a sheet of defrosted puffed pastry?

Or, you should be able to. When made well, this upside-down apple tart looks like snug copper cobblestones on top of a rippling puff of flaky pastry. If you’re lucky, the apples will taste like they drank a cup of caramel and then napped in what they couldn’t finish. I love it enough that I’ve written about it twice (!) in eleven years but my efforts were… mediocre at best. I mean, just look at them — too thin, too sparse, too pale, apples either under- or overcooked, and way too many apples have dissolved long before the cooking time should have been up, despite being “good baking apples.”

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