Michael Schwartz's Falafel Balls with Tahini Sauce

I've already introduced you to Michael in a previous post. This is the second recipe I've made from his new cookbook. (For more details about the cookbook and Michael's restaurant, go HERE.)

Today I'm all about falafel: the fish and chips of the Mediterranean, the tapas of the Middle East. If Israel has adopted a national food, falafel is it. But despite its strong connection with Israel, falafel actually originates from Egypt and was originally made from fava beans. Its roots can be traced right back to the Christian Copts of Egypt who were forbidden from eating meat during certain holidays and came up with a falafel-like alternative. Lebanese falafel often uses a combination of fava beans and chickpeas, while in Egypt, it is traditional to use just fava beans. I've only eaten falafel made with chickpeas. If you're interested in more history, I found a wonderful article about chickpeas HERE.

History aside, I've got to be absolutely the last blogger to make falafel. I've read about it, eaten it, but for some reason have never made it at home. I have several recipes saved but once I read Michael's cookbook, I decided on his rendition. And I had my share of problems (see Bench Notes) but I am nothing if not determined! And I was finally successful. They were fabulous. We loved the flavors and the crispness and when dipped in the tahini sauce they were a marvelous mouthful. Now that I have the hang of it, I'll make these again and again.

Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Adapted from Michaels' Genuine Food by Michael Schwartz

Bench Notes:

  • I noticed Michael's recipe did not have any flour. Hmmmm. I'd rarely seen a falafel recipe without a little flour, bread crumbs or some sort of binder. I was doubtful, but I tried a small batch that way and they disintegrated immediately in the hot oil.  I tried again, pressing very firmly on the falafel ball, as the recipe mentions the balls must be pressed tight or they will fall apart. No dice. Raised the temperature of the oil. That didn't work either. So, as to not waste my remaining ingredients, I cheated and added a little flour and had no further problems. Please note in recipe below I included the correct amount of flour I used. Sorry, Michael, but I'm going to use a little flour when I make them from now on.
  • Also: use the dried garbanzos as called for. Not canned. Just not the same.
  • And...make certain the temperature of the oil remains between 350 and 375. (Michael suggested 350; I increased it to 375.) I ended up cooking only 3 or 4 falafels at a time and the temperature stayed constant that way.

2 cups dried chickpeas. picked through and rinsed
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leafed parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons flour (I added this)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
canola oil for frying
Tahini Sauce (recipe follows)

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 inches. Soak overnight. They will double in size. 
Drain and rinse thoroughly. (I think you should make certain the chickpeas are very dry at this point. It may have been one of my problems. See Bench Notes. Some of you who make falafel on a regular basis might have some other suggestions.)
Put the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse until the consistancy of cornmeal. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and mint to the processor along with a couple tablespoons of the chickpeas. Pulse until pureed. Add to the remaining chickpeas along with the cumin, coriander, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
You may refrigerate, covered, at this point for up to 3 days.

Heat about 3 inches of the oil to 375 in an electric fryer or deep pot.
In the meantime, make golf-sized balls with the falafel mixture, squeezing tightly so they don't fall apart while cooking. (See Bench Notes) Place a few falafels in the oil at a time, moving them around so brown evenly and don't stick. Fry until crusty brown on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes; remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Makes about 2 dozen falafels.

Tahini Sauce
(makes  1 cup)


1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of Kosher salt


Combine all the ingredients with 1/2 cup water in blender or processor. Process until smooth.


Blackberry and Tomato Crumble

My Michigan family was visiting recently and my sweet DIL mailed me a "thank you" cookbook after they returned. Angie's an excellent cook and she loves looking through my cookbooks. I bet she looked to see if I had this one....I didn't and was really thrilled to get it.

As you can see, it's 
Avec Eric  and the only way I can describe it is to say it's a cookbook/travelogue/scrapbook. With LOTS of photos of Eric. But that's OK with me; laid back and handsome Eric Ripert is a favorite of mine and his restaurant, Le Bernardin in NYC, is  as near perfect as you can get. I've eaten there and can state that unequivocably. As one reviewer stated:  "it is a high church of reverently prepared fish."

What I found unusual about this cookbook was the way the chapters were labeled. Not according to food groups as one expects, but location. Eric has this to say in his introduction: ".....you really have to get out of the city and visit the source to appreciate what it takes to cultivate and produce the food that ends up in our markets.....you have to walk the fields, talk to the farmer, see the animals and taste everything in its purest form."

So Eric takes us with him on his travels....to California, to Italy, to the Cayman Islands...where he finds inspiration for his restaurant, his home and hopefully, for us.
 The directions are not fussy, the recipes easily within the reach of everyone and they include wine pairings and notes. It was a pleasure to read.

Because spring is already here (Hopefully summer can't be far behind!) I chose this recipe first because just looking at it made me think of summer. It was in a chapter entitled Star Ingredients, which I certainly think these are. I like savory/sweet desserts and everyone loves fruit for dessert. The syrup for the tomatoes and blackberries made me close my eyes and go mmmmmm....such flavor! The cookbook had a scoop of ice cream or sorbet on top and I just happened to have some vanilla bean sorbet in the freezer. It was the perfect touch.

Blackberry and Tomato Crumble
From Avec Eric by Eric Ripert

Crumble Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold, diced
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
pinch of fine sea salt

Fruit Ingredients:
1 pint small grape tomatoes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
3 tarragon sprigs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 pint fresh blackberries
lemon zest strips and tarragon leaves for garnish
Sorbet for garnish, optional

Crumble Method:
Stir all the ingredients in a large bowl until it forms a pebble-like consistancy. Cover and chill for one hour.
Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the crumble mixture on the parchment paper and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

Fruit Method:

Bring a pot of water to the boil, drop the tomatoes in for 20-30 seconds. Remove to ice water and peel the skin.

Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the basil, tarragon, lemon zest and juice and the seeds from the vanilla pod. I tossed the pod in as well for good measure. Cover and allow to infuse until cool. Strain the mixture.

Rinse and dry the blackberries. Place the tomatoes and blackberries in the syrup. Chill for at least 1 hour. Drain, but reserve the syrup.

Arrange the fruit in 4 bowls and top each with a spoonful of the syrup, along with 3 or 4 tablespoons of the crumble. Garnish with lemon strips and tarragon and top with a small scoop of ice cream or sorbet.


Divine Muffins

 I love muffins, don't you? And cupcakes. Really fine line there. What is it I read once about the difference? Cupcakes have frosting, whereas muffins do not.
  That's a good enough explanation for me. But if you want a formulaic definition, here it is, courtesy of Diana's Desserts:

"A basic formula for muffins is 2 cups flour, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, ¼ cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level."

But the first definition says it all. Muffins never have frosting. Does the cinnamon sugar on top of mine count as frosting? :) And just to make these a bit more unusual, I added a touch of cardamom. Of course, these are rhubarb muffins. Did I forget to mention that? They are a little tart, a little sweet...a great combination. And incredibly tender. Just a tad of butter needed....or maybe not. I passed on the butter and scarfed them down warm right out of the oven

Rhubarb Muffins

From the recipe here


9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
1 cup sour cream 
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
2 large eggs 
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
1-1/2 cups 1/4-inch-diced rhubarb (7-1/4 oz.) 

For the topping: 
3 Tbs. granulated sugar 
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
(I added 1/4 teaspoon cardamom)


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.
Make the muffin batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together; do not overmix. Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. The batter will be thick.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or a small spatula to settle the batter into the cups. The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle a generous 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over each muffin.
Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, spring back most of the way when gently pressed, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift the muffins out of the pan—if necessary, loosen them with the tip of a paring knife—and let them cool somewhat. Serve warm.
Yields 12 medium muffins.


Mango Upside Down Cake with Basil Ice Cream

or those of you not familiar with South Florida restaurants, let me introduce you to Michael's GenuineIt opened in 2007 down in the old Design district in Miami, on 40th St. (A while back, I wrote a brief history of this unique area HERE. ) Michael's is a contemporary American bistro run by Michael Schwartz, a Philadelphia native who launched the pioneering South Beach restaurant Nemo in 1994 and refers to his newest restaurant as “a chef’s interpretation of a great neighborhood place.” Michael was also named as Best Chef South at the James Beard Awards in 2010. Read more about Michael HERE.

Michael's new
cookbook is hot off the presses and I was practically first in line!

The recipes are familiar if you've eaten at his restaurant and very doable for the home cook. I've made two so far and can't wait to try some of the rest.  Here's the first: a mango upside down cake that is unexpectedly light because the egg whites are beaten separately and folded into the batter.
You'll find that basil, an extremely aromatic herb with a scent of pepper, anise and mint, makes a delightful ice cream. The taste is sweet with a hint of savory  and is a marvelous accompaniment to the cake. The caramel top studded with mangoes makes a lovely presentation.  

I hope you enjoy Michael's recipe!

Mango Upside Down Cake with Basil Ice Cream

From Michael's Genuine Food by Michael Schwartz


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
Two 1 pound mangoes (most mangoes are about that weight), peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup buttermilk
Basil Ice Cream (recipe follows)


Put a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Then add the brown sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks like caramel, about 5 minutes. I didn't leave the stove (and I stirred more than occasionally) as things like this tend to burn quickly. 
Swirl the pan around so the caramel covers the bottom. Remove from heat and arrange the mango slices in a neat circle, overlapping the slices, remembering this will be presented as the top of the cake. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Place the butter in an electric mixer and beat. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar and beat until light, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add one egg yolk at a time and then the vanilla.
Add half the dry ingredients. Then add the buttermilk, beat until mixed, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. 
Beat the 4 egg whites until frothy, add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
Add a bit of the whites to the batter to lighten it, then add the rest and fold in. It's OK if there are still some white streaks. 
Pour batter over the caramel and mangoes and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Then loosen the sides with a knife, place a large cake plate over the cake and flip it upside down. Cool before serving with basil ice cream.

Bench Note:
I didn't use a cast iron pan. I melted the brown sugar in a saucepan and then heated a glass pie plate in the oven and when the caramel was done, I poured it into the hot pie plate and spread it around.

Basil Ice Cream

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
pinch of salt

In a food processor, combine basil and sugar until finely ground. It should end up looking like pesto.
Combine the cream, milk and basil sugar in a large pan. Scrape out the seeds in the vanilla bean, add them to cream and then add the vanilla bean pod. Simmer gently  until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
In a bowl, whisk the yolks until light and thick. Temper the yolks with a little of the hot cream, then add everything to the pan and whisk until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

Pour custard through a fine seive and then cool over ice cubes. (I just let it cool in the pan, then poured it into a bowl and placed in the fridge overnight.)
Churn in your ice cream maker according to directions.


Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and the Giveaway Winner

Well, it's not green, it's not corned beef and cabbage, it's not Irish soda bread but when I saw this in Donna Hay a while back the only thought I had was: gotta make this for St. Patrick's Day! You chocolate/peanut butter lovers are going to love this cake! Kind of tastes like Reese's in cake form WITH stout, do you believe? And the texture is heavenly. I love the idea that it's in loaf form too. Now I'm doing this just for you for St. Paddy's Day because I am NOT a chocolate with peanut butter lover. Of course, I'll not have any problem passing this cake around to friends!  

Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Donna Hay magazine, 50th Birthday issue

1 cup stout beer
225 grams butter, chopped
3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups superfine sugar

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
80 grams butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coffee cream


Preheat oven to 325 F. Place stout and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve butter. Remove from heat, whisk in the cocoa and set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar.

Whisk together the eggs and sour cream and add to the stout along with the flour mixture. Whisk to combine. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan 21 by 10 by 7 cm lined with parchment paper. Bake for one hour and 20 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

Place all the ingredients except the cream into an electric mixer and beat for 6  minutes or until light and fluffy. (It didn't take 6 minutes) 
Beat in the cream until smooth. Frost the cake. Serves 6-8

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.


I am joining the Third Annual St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl March 15th at Kathleen's. Check in with her on Tuesday to link up!

And now for the giveaway winner:  Congratulations, Velva from Tomatoes on the Vine

You've won Gabrielle Hamilton's book. Please email me at bsmithw@gmail.com with your mailing address so I can get your book in the mail ASAP!   


Grandma's Rhubarb Pie

Be sure to enter my St. Patrick's Day giveaway HERE.)

Finally, after a year, I'm getting around to posting my mother's (and her mother's) rhubarb pie recipe. Sorry about the delay. It's not that it's such an uncommon recipe, but many other recipes call for tapioca or some other fruit like strawberries along with the rhubarb. Not my mother's recipe. She was a purist. She'd pick it out of the garden and we'd have it stewed for lunch and a pie for dinner. 


 I love her recipe, but wanted to put a bit of a twist on it. Last year, a couple blogs posted some mini pies made in those wonderful Ball jars. The small ones. (Take a look HERE and HERE.) It was such a cute idea and I have always loved individual desserts like this, so I thought it might be fun to take Mother's whole pie recipe and turn it into individual servings. 

It was a success flavor-wise...in fact a smashing success. And fun to eat. However, when these cooled, the fruit had shrunk about 1/2 inch below the crust. I noticed
cherries and apples were used in the blogs I mentioned above and they probably don't shrink like rhubarb does. Still, I remain completely enchanted with these little Ball jar pies and will continue to make them with rhubarb; if you're as determined as I am, here's how to avoid some of my problems: be sure the pie crust is sealed to itself and not the jar so the shrinkage won't be quite so noticeable; another suggestion would be to pile the rhubarb up higher in the center which should also help. In addition, if you find the juices run over or leak through the crust, it will make it difficult to remove the pie in one piece from the jar. So just serve it in the jar, which is really a cute presentation. 

I made a couple jars with the crust on the top only, wanting to see the fruit through the sides of the jar. We thought it was fun served like that and there is less pie crust to deal with.....both in terms of pressing it in the jar and in calories.  :)  Obviously you have to serve it in the jar if you make it this way. The rhubarb was nice and red and looked pretty peeking through the sides of the jar. 

As far as ingredients are concerned, here's mother's rule of thumb for a making a rhubarb pie: for every cup of sliced rhubarb, there should be 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. And when you make the crust, use shortening. Not butter, shortening. I use Crisco. (I suspect she and her mother used lard in their crusts.) Please note that while I made mini pies for this post, the recipe below is for one regular pie. 

Little Rhubarb Pies

Ingredients for the crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup vegetable shortening, plus 2 tablespoons
6 tablespoons ice water 

Ingredients for the filling

5 cups sliced rhubarb
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1  1/2 tablespoons butter. 

Method for the crust:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make the crust: before measuring the flour, stir it to leaven with air and then measure out 2 cups. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Cut the shortening into the flour with a fork or pastry blender. Stop as soon as the sheen of the shortening disappears and the mixture is a bunch of coarse pieces. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water at a time over the dough, lifting and tossing it with the fork. When it begins to come together, gather the dough, press it into a ball and then pull it apart; if it crumbles in your hands, it needs more water. Add a teaspoon or two more water, as needed. 

Gather the dough into two slightly unequal balls, the larger one for the bottom crust and the smaller one for the top. Flatten the larger ball, reforming any frayed edges with the sides of your hand. Dust with flour and roll the dough, starting from the center and moving toward the edges. Take a knife or thin spatula and quickly work its edge between the crust and the counter top. Lift the dough to the side; dust the dough and counter top with flour. Roll again until the diameter is an inch or 2 larger than that of the pie pan. Lay the rolling pin a third of the way from one of the edges. Roll the crust onto the pin and then unroll the crust into a 9-inch pie pan and press it into place. Place in the freezer. 

Method for the filling:

In a large bowl, blend the rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into the crust-lined pie pan. Dot with butter. 

(If you are going to make the mini-pies, cut the dough to fit the jar...there is a lot of crust when you make these. Work with it, flattening it as much as you can to fit the sides. And then just pile in the rhubarb and top it with a lattice crust.)

For a single large pie: roll out the top crust. Dab the rim of the bottom crust with water to create a glue. Then roll out the top crust and cut it into strips and interlace the pieces to form a lattice top. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, or until a bit of pink juice bubbles between the the lattice strips in the crust. Serves 8.  (Time will vary if you use the individual jars.) With pies like this, the juices always run over, so line a pan with foil before baking.


A St. Patrick's Day Giveaway! And Some Bonny Irish Scones.....

I'm a scone fanatic. I admit it. So I just had to make these in honor of St. Patrick's Day; they're practically the only kind I've never tried. I made soda bread last year (although I didn't post it; I got side tracked with a cake, LOL) but with company coming, I thought it might be fun to serve these for breakfast. Always better to get a few more opinions anyway. 

I love the two kinds of raisins and the caraway seeds. While walnuts are not my favorite, they seem just right in this recipe. I didn't even consider using pecans. Just enough sweetness in these scones, but not too much. From one of my favorite cookbooks, Once Upon a Tart. With a bit of jam or honey, these are wonderful. 

Irish Soda Scones
From Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablepoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar to mix. Add the butter all at one time. Run the processor for 15 seconds. You want the mixture to look grainy like moist crumbs and with no chunks of butter. Pulse if you need to (I didn't) but don't overwork the dough. Dump the crumbs in a big bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add the buttermilk, caraway seeds, walnuts and both raisins. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until there is no flour visable. I did this with my hands.
Using your hands or a 1/2 cup measure, scoop the batter onto the parchment paper, leaving 2 inches in between scones. (I rolled out the dough on a floured board and cut into squares.)

Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for a couple moments, then transfer the scones to to the rack. Makes 12 scones.

Now.....on to the giveaway!

Have you ever been to Prune in New York City? Then you will have enjoyed Gabrielle Hamilton's extraordinary food. She's the owner and chef and also happens to be a trained writer (M.F.A., University of Michigan); you'll love this memoir of her unorthodox trajectory to becoming a chef. You also might enjoy this article she wrote in Food and Wine

 And here's a couple quotes from a review in Grub Street New York:

"And that’s the beauty of this book, really — in this age of celebrity restaurateurs being turned into bobble-head dolls and robotic reality-show judges, it’s refreshing to read the memoir of a chef who admits to being only human."

Mario Batali: “I will read this book to my children and then burn all the books I have written for pretending to be anything even close to this. Then I will apply for the dishwasher job at 
Prune to learn from my new queen.”

Her book is newly released and I've got a copy just for you!

To win this fabulous book, just leave a comment letting me know the name of your favorite restaurant (no matter where) or which one you've always dreamed of trying. If you become a follower, you'll get two entries. And if you've actually been to Prune, you get a third entry! I know, that's not fair, but definitely worth three entries!  (Please leave a separate comment for each.) And make certain I have your email address. I'll announce the winner March 14th.


Maida Heatter's Indian River Sweet Orange Bread

This bread is a staple at my house. Along with my coconut bread, I usually have a loaf  in the freezer at all times for unexpected company. The coconut bread (For some reason I've never posted that, so if you want the recipe, email me.) is my daughter's and, I was informed yesterday, my granddaughter's favorite, but personally I prefer this orange bread. Maida Heatter's of course....my dessert guru. I've said it before, but will repeat myself: I've never made a recipe of hers that failed or that I didn't like. That is really saying something.

Years ago, among her many other accomplishments, Ms. Heatter used to give cooking classes in Miami. My mother regretted for years that she never drove down to take them. This was before I lived in Florida or I would have gone with her. Mother was addicted to cooking classes, she loved them.  She was a Maida Heatter fan from way back. I was indoctrinated early. :)

I prefer it toasted and in the photo below, if you look closely, you can see the bits of orange rind in it. It's what makes this bread so special. That bright orange flavor. The only other way I've served it is for tea sandwiches; add a little cream cheese between two slices, cut on the diagonal, chill them and serve. Delicious. And as with so many sweet bread recipes like this, I bet it would make marvelous French toast too.

Indian River Sweet Orange Bread

From Book of Great Desserts by Maida Heatter


4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large oranges (to yield 1 1/3 cups juice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
3 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 and put a rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven. Butter two loaf pans (8  1/2 x 4  1/2 x 2  1/2) and then coat them lightly with fine, dry bread crumbs.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
With a vegetable peeler, remove the thin, bright colored outer rind of about 2  1/2 oranges and reserve it. Squeeze the oranges. You will need 1  1/3 cups juice. Set it aside.
Cut the rind into slivers. Place the rind, sugar and water into a saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and let mixture boil gently without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir to melt. Beat the eggs lightly just to mix and stir them in. Pour this over the dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
Pour into prepared pans. Shake gently to level batter. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out dry.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to racks to finish cooling.


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