Turns out summer is leaving, and I haven’t cooked all that much. I was too busy eating everything. After 2ish months of countless lobster rolls, ice cream cones, and hot dogs (a strange but totally welcome part of the Summer 2015 diet), I was ready to close out the season with a bang. And this was certainly that.
Brian Mercury, the silly talented pastry chef at Harvest in Cambridge of bacon bun fame, teamed up with Tracy Obolsky from NYC’s North End Grill for a night of sweet frivolity in the form of a 6 course desserts only tasting menu. And these 2 were not fooling around. And despite being more of a savory girl myself, I would do eat every bite they gave me again in a heartbeat.
The effortlessly dynamic pair went plate for plate, taking turns at each course. Obolsky kicked things off with an elevated play on key lime pie (dotted with tiny toasty meringues), that led into Mercury’s fried dough rounds with hibiscus lemon curd (that was a lovely shade of pink). There was then a cheese course with unadorned but beautiful tiger stripe figs, and an unexpectedly refreshing mint vinegar sorbet as an intermezzo.
Already deep into a sugar coma, the final dishes gave no respite. Obolsky’s coconut pavlova with dulce de leche and cubes of tropical fruits and Mercury’s “grown-up” root beer float were both elegant feats not only of flavor but of plating. It was almost too pretty to eat. Except that it wasn’t, because I cleaned my plate at every course.
Good meals are always worth sharing. This one was worth showing off so that you might find your way into either of these chef’s restaurants to eat anything they are making. I would happily take on another sugar rush at either of their hands.
We threw a harVEST party. Vests were required for entry.
There was some food, but this was the only dessert treat. Perfectly poppable and subtly sweet, these little guys are great for using up all those apples you picked but didn’t manage to eat. Because it’s a law of nature that no one can possibly eat all the apples they pick.
These are a play on a dutch pancake, which texturally and tastily is an intersection between a crepe, a pancake, a soufflé, and clafouti; and the apple and pumpkin pie spice give them that autumnal edge.
Ideally these should be enjoyed with a cup of tea or other warm beverage. They can be breakfast, dessert, or just a snack. As we are careening at a terrifying speed towards New England winter, these might help you hold on to fall just a little bit longer.
This recipe makes about 24 mini dutch babes if you use mini muffin tins (which you should, because that makes them adorable).
2 small apples, peeled and diced
1 tbs cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for pans
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting
set oven at 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 mini muffin tins.
peel and dice the apple into small cubes. Immediately coat with lemon juice to avoid browning. Toss with pumpkin pie spice and add a pinch of salt, make sure apples are well covered.
whisk eggs until frothy. Add in flour, then sugar, vanilla, and milk. Throw in an extra pinch of cinnamon if you’re feeling dangerous.
give each muffin space 5 or 6 apple cubes, and cover each with batter so they are ¾ full. Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool ten minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve
Something about Sunday evenings makes me crave sweets. Sometimes I fight it, mostly I don’t. Besides, what could be better than curling up on the couch to toggle back and forth between the guts and gore of Game of Thrones and the smooth talking confusion of Mad Men with a cookie? Maybe 2 cookies I guess. (note: we are between seasons of Downton Abbey. otherwise there would be nothing but Branson and Maggie Smith on a Sunday night.)
My sister is the baker in our family, and her chocolate chip cookies are sensational. Maybe I’m biased, but it’s true. She passed on her recipe to me about 2 years ago and I had yet to make them because I lack the patience, precision, and mathematical prowess inherent to most accomplished bakers.
But look at these beauties! I subbed out half the all purpose flour for whole wheat, browned the butter slightly, and cut the chocolate in half to sub in some pecans, but otherwise this recipe is a direct copy from my sister. I also sprinkled them with flaked Maldon sea salt. Because why not, right??
They tasted as dreamy as they look. And I ate several on the couch last night.
Important note: you don’t need to eat them on Sundays. They can cure the Mondays. And just taste great on all other days also.
Sea Salted Chocolate Pecan chippers
1 cup melted butter (slightly browned)
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet morsels
1 cup chopped pecans
Set oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the dry ingredients: Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Prepare wet ingredients: Melt the butter. In a separate bowl from the dry ingredients, cream together with brown sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla.
Add the sugar/butter/egg/vanilla mixture to the flour/baking soda/salt mixture, mix until just combined.
Add semi-sweet morsels and chopped pecans to the batter and fold into batter.
Using a tablespoon as a measure, form into balls and set on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Sprinkle the top of each with a couple flakes of sea salt.
Cook for 10 minutes until cookies are just set. Remove from the oven and let stand on their baking sheet for 5 additional minutes to finish cooking, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Cookies will be cool enough to eat in 10 minutes. Try to contain yourself.