Tuesday, September 27, 2011


One of my favorite go-to desserts is Alice Water's classic apple tart. I came across the recipe via Smitten Kitchen but according to Alice it was Jacques Pepin who created it at Chez Panisse 20 years ago. Believe me, I've baked up this apple tart countless times and there's a reason this recipe is still around - simply delicious. Here's another version of the recipe via a simple instruction video by Elephantine. I love that this video is both short and sweet.

Monday, September 26, 2011


This summer when I made the decision to leave Los Angeles there weren't any teary good-byes or waxing nostalgic about sunshine and noir. I was sure the only thing I'd really miss was the weather...

But when artist Jon Jackson packed up and left Los Angeles for a new home in New York he didn't just turn his back on his first love without a word. He left a sort of 'Dear John' letter in the form of five 10 x 23 foot billboards in and around his old neighborhood. For more information about his project Adios LA visit here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


(via missnoiretblanc)

The dream was always running ahead of me.
To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.
anais nin

Friday, September 23, 2011


ph: joshu Kristal

It's been raining in New York and there's nothing like foul weather to inspire a girl to bake pie. But not just any pie; something melt-in-your-mouth yummy. Like the pies at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. I haven't been able to stop thinking about their delicious Salty Honey Pie. Here's the original recipe by owners Melissa and Emily Elsen via South Brooklyn Post.

Salty Honey Pie
9" pre-baked pie shell (recipe below)
1/2 cup butter melted
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp white cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1/2 cup cream
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 or 2 tbsp flake sea salt for finishing (Maldon is a good choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Melt butter and combine with sugar, salt and cornmeal to make a thick paste. Add the honey, vanilla and vinegar and mix together. Fold in the eggs, add the cream and blend.
  3. Pour the filling into a pre-baked pie shell and bake at 350º F for 45-60 minutes. The filling will puff up like a marshmallow and the center will be just slightly wobbly. Once cooled (at least one hour), finish with a sprinkling of flake sea salt. Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream.
Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Crust
(recipe makes one double crusted, 9-inch pie)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8-10 tbsps of ice water with cider vinegar, or more as needed (combine 1 cup cold water, 1/8 cup cider vinegar and ice).
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together and blend with a hand-held pastry blender the chopped, cold butter, being careful not to overwork during this step. The butter should be in pea-sized chunks, not too big, but not completely incorporated.
  2. Slowly add the ice water and vinegar mixture and bring dough completely together by hand, again being careful not to overwork. Aim to create a marbleized effect, so that the butter is still visible.
  3. Divide into 2 discs, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour or more before use.
  4. To pre-bake a crust for a custard pie: Roll one disc of crust out to fit a 9-inch pan, about 1/4 -inch thick. Place in a buttered pie pan, and crimp the edges as desired. Allow to rest and cool in freezer or fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Line the rolled-out crust with tinfoil or unwaxed parchment paper, add pie weights or about 1 cup of dry beans if you don't have pie weights. Distribute them evenly.
  6. Bake in a 375º oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before filling with custard.

Friday, September 16, 2011


ph. via carrolluna

Summer has officially come to a close but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the fruits of our labor. Here's a late summer Peach Tart recipe from Carrolluna. Absolutely peachy keen!

This recipe is divided into three steps - the pastry, the custard, and the topping.

Peach Tart
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
egg wash (1 yolk, 1 pinch salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl or food processor for about 10 seconds.
  3. Add the butter and mash with back of fork or process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add egg yolk, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball.
  5. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Thoroughly prick the bottom and sides with fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then bake until golden brown, approx. 18-22 minutes.
  6. Remove crust from oven, brush the warm dough with the egg wash (whisk egg yolk & salt) to seal the dough (prevents sogginess). Bake for an additional 2 minutes until set.
  7. Set crust aside to cool.
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
  1. Whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch and yolks in a medium bowl until thick and pale yellow.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a simmer.
  3. Next, temper the egg mixture by gradually pouring about 1/3 of the hot milk into it, then whisking to combine.
  4. Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and cook over low to medium heat. Keep stirring the pot to prevent scorching, until the custard is thickened and beginning to bubble.
  5. Scrape the custard into a clean bowl and stir in the vanilla. Cover the surface fo the custard with a piece of cling paper (or parchment paper) to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Let cool, then refrigerate before using.
7 medium-sized peaches
brown sugar (for sprinkling on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Assemble the tart by spreading the custard over the cooled crust. Then proceed to decorate it with the fruit. Place sliced peaches diagonally forming circles along the crust.
  3. After the tart is assembled, sprinkle brown sugar on top and return to the oven to soften the fruit and ward up the crust for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Let cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Apartment hunting in New York City can be tough. Lucky for me there are summer holidays and friends with pets. Here are a few of the pawed creatures I've been sitting for...

Monsieur Aldo, the polydactyl French feline

Tip, the cat nipper

Ozma, the paw tapper

Claude, the meower

Pixote, the giant silverback

Lola, the midnight snorer

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.

- willa cather, "Le Lavandou," 1902

Sunday, September 4, 2011


This past Saturday I spent the day at the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea Market. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I came across a bona fide pie stand! Rachel Gladfelter of Rachel's Pies was serving up slices of fresh Peach Tart, Key Lime, and ice cold Chocolate Cream pie with a salty-sweet pretzel and dulce de leche crust. Yum! As she and I both agreed, "Pie is perfect!" So don't feel like you have to wait for a special occasion to put in an order for one of her home-made specialty pies. When it comes to pie, every day is special.