What we call brioche is a bread highly enriched with milk, eggs, and butter. The more eggs and butter in the ratio, the puffier the bread, the more tender its crumb, the longer it stays fresh and soft (read it as moist). Similar dough recipes exist in many cuisines and have different uses. Differently shaped and cooked, brioche is loved all over the world. Alsatian brioche can be less sweet and served with foie gras and Riesling and can be sweeter and served as a dessert with coffee.
The texture of cheese curdled with ocean water is fantastic. It is creamy-soft and, for the lack of a better word, juicy, even after straining most of the whey. I could never get the same results when making ricotta with mozzarella whey or acidic water. The ratio of salty ocean water to milk may seem scary, but this ricotta tastes surprisingly sweet with only an intriguing trace of saltiness and minerality.
They were one of the most exciting dim sum items I ever tasted in Singapore — you make a bite and watch how hot golden lava slowly flows out. That lava is an unusual custard based on salted duck egg yolks and condensed milk. Steamed buns are served hot with hot green tea. They are addictive for those who crave for rich milk and egg flavors, creamy and fluffy textures, and a delicate, sweet and salty balance.
Chef Patterson’s recipe has three unusual features. First, he uses high-gluten bread flour instead of all-purpose one. Second, the amount of baking powder is three times more than average. Why? Bread flour is capable holding more moister. It is strong enough to let scones rise and not to explode because of the amount of baking powder. It results in a fantastic, unforgettable texture of the scones.
Dark tart cherries are one of the most traditional fillings for Ukrainian varenyki — sweet dumplings served with fruity sauce, or melted butter and honey, or sour cream and sugar. Their recipes vary from region to region. Varenyki I remember were mostly made with the dough enriched by soured milk or whey and eggs. There are also recipes using only boiling water for the dough. All of them have the same goal — a dumpling with a soft and pleasant texture.
Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast dish — two halves of English muffin, a slice of ham or bacon, and a poached egg are served with hollandaise sauce. There are many variations on the basic recipe. The one I use in my Romantic Breakfast: Mastering Eggs Recipes cooking class comes from the Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François cookbook. It belongs to Alsatian cuisine, which combines the rustic simplicity of neighboring Germany and French finesse. My version below is adopted to our locally available ingredients. I use smokey reduced cream sauce with vegetables instead of Hollandaise.
This recipe/variation is based on Zhengyalov Hats, a specialty of Karabakh region in Armenia. “The main purpose of its preparation is to unite once again to make a family meal together, to talk about all pressing matters, to exchange news.” To make Zhengyalov Hats, unleavened dough is rolled as thin as paper, stuffed with a mixture of 10-20 different varieties of wild and garden chopped greens, and cooked on hot saj. It is very important to create a well-balanced mix of greens and herbs. Cheese and fried onions are sometimes added.
“Katya, it’s too early to make them! Danes would think you are crazy…” laughed my friend from Denmark, when I shared a picture on Facebook. A Christmas treat in Denmark, this wonderful pancakes can be enjoyed any time of the year in Texas, I say! Æbleskiver (appleskives) are traditional Danish pancakes. The name in Danish means “apple slices.” But because they are spherical, it make more sense to me to think about them as pancakes in a shape of an apple.