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All-American Apple Pie

Mom made apple pie all the time when I was little. It was my brother Damien’s choice for “birthday cake” several years in a row. He was born in October: it just made sense. Mom taught us how to cut the butter into the flour, to make a flaky pie crust, and she taught us how to add cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor it. (In her honor, I’ve labeled my cinnamon jar “sin,” just as she did then) Then I moved to Oklahoma, as far from New England’s familiar orchards as I could get. Every year about this time I start missing home – I start hungering for the bright, fall taste of apple pie. Of home. Use any firm baking apples you’d like.  This time I used pink lady, though many different varieties will do, as long as they are firm. Check with your grocer and see what crop they think would suit you well. While many insist on adding at least half granny smith, I prefer my pie granny-free. In the end, I …

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Braided Heart Bread | Pleteno Srce

We are closing in on spring …  that special time of year, when weddings and baby showers sprinkle our calendars, and everything is awash in the promise of new love. In Slovenia, such times are marked with Pleteno Scre – an ornamental, braided, tender loaf of bread, shaped into a heart. Pleteno Scre is an honored gift. The slightly sweet loaves are painstakingly decorated with edible tokens, like wedding rings and flowers (as I have done), or even astonishingly detailed birds, or paper thin leaves that seem to crackle under the slightest breeze. This art form takes time to master, so I stuck with simple flowers, a wreath, and rings. The best part is that this is something you can do as a family. Little ones love to have a piece of dough to play with. Mashing and rolling, twisting and turning – it’s what they do best. Ava didn’t even want to make any shapes for the heart – she just wanted to play next to me, while I worked. It was sweet. And …

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Scandinavian Ring Cake

Scandinavian Ring Cake | Kransekake

When I woke up yesterday I had no intention of losing my wedding rings. In the morning I hugged Malky the cat  and Ava, my daughter. In the afternoon, I did a silly dance with the curtains wide open, daring my neighbors to judge me. Around five o’clock I indulged in a green bottle of bubbly water while sitting by a glittering summer-filled window. I felt the heat (110F in the shade) radiate on my face and I smiled, happy to be inside. I fidgeted with my rings, as I often do whenever happy thoughts cross my mind. Two hours later, Ava’s bedtime arrived. I carefully placed my rings on the coffee table to lotion up my hands. Ava singsonged across the room, her entire body full of giggles, and asked if she could try the rings on.  I nodded with a smile and she tossed them on her tiny fingers. She said, while dangling her bejeweled hand out in front of her, “I’m mama. What you want? I cook you something.” I remember laughing and I remember …

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Pavlova with Summer Berries & Kiwifruit

Summertime means running barefoot through sprinklers, nibbling fresh fruit, and shining your smile all the time, even when you’re sleeping. It means laying your back, watching bubbles of clouds dot through the sky. And today we’re eating one such cloud. Pavlova. Named after a Russian ballet dancer, this meringue “cake” takes center stage, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, like berries, kiwifruit, mango, or even passionfruit. Both New Zealand and Australia lay claim to inventing this famous dessert. I’m happy to say that I’d eat Pavlova any which way – even if it was invented on the moon. Since we’re making Pavlova in honor of our New Zealander Global Table, we’ll be adding slices of fresh kiwifruit (be careful not to call it kiwi, as that is the state bird as well as a nickname for local New Zealanders). Kiwifruit is a major export of the island nation. P.S. Make this when you need it, to ensure a crackly exterior and soft interior. P.P.S. Make a big pot of hot tea to drink with this. Or coffee. Unsweetened. …

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Candied Cantaloupe & Cherry Almond Tart | Galapian

. Very rarely does a dessert glisten as brilliantly as the Galapian. She’s like unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before – slices of candied cantaloupe enrobed with a light almond cake, studded with brilliant maraschino cherry drops and glazed with lavender honey. . This movie star of a dessert was invented in 1994 by Alain Bouchard in Apt, a region of France near to Monaco. While a relatively new invention, it has all the glitz and glamour that is so enjoyed by the Monégasque. . While relatively easy to prepare, this dessert brings even the fussiest gourmands to their knees. Try it for a bridal or baby shower, or maybe just an afternoon sitting by the shore, sipping sweet muscat wine (as recommended by Bouchard). . Instant glamour. . Absolutely Fabulous. Inspired the World Cookbook for Students. . Ingredients: . Sweet Pastry Dough: . 1 cup flour 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) butter, chilled 1/4 cup slivered almonds, measured then ground in a spice mill 1 egg . Fruit & Almond Filling: . 4 egg whites …

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