Fougasse is the French version of focaccia, the Italian yeasted flatbread flavored with herbs and drizzled with olive oil. From start to finish, this bread takes less than 2 hours, very little of it active time. It's best served straight from the oven. Herbes de Provence is a classic mix of dried herbs commonly used in its namesake locale. It is available in most grocery stores, or you can make your own using the recipe in the box on the opposite page.
A mix of yellow and red cherry tomatoes works well on bruschetta, as do juicy beefsteaks. Use white bread: a robust white Italian bread like Pugliese makes the best crostini.
It’s miraculous to make a biscuit with only two ingredients, particularly when making such an impressive biscuit, light and tender, capable of convincing anyone that the cook was born holding a biscuit bowl. This recipe is a good fallback for anyone who hasn’t made a biscuit for a while or has to hurry up and get some baked. If using a cream with less fat (heavy cream has 36 percent) start with less and use only what is needed to make a moist, slightly sticky dough. Half-and-half just doesn’t work well enough to use by itself. This is really a hurry-up recipe, but the directions are detailed.
In old New York at Christmastime, bakeries sold stacks of paper-wrapped and beribboned stollen, the beloved German holiday bread. When I serve samples of fresh-baked stollen at the bakery, the customers' faces light up with discovery. Once I served it and a customer asked what he was eating. "It's stollen," I said. With a straight face, he replied, "Well, you should give it back!" This recipe, inspired by pastry chef Dieter Schorner, is extraordinarily light and flavored with rum-scented raisins and other fruits and nuts.
This recipe stands well on its own, but is also the base for a delicious holiday treat: Cornbread Pudding with Rough Country Greens.
Judy Graham created this luscious southern-style cornbread. Use fresh corn when it's in season, but know that niblet-style canned corn tastes just fine here. You could bake off the bread an hour ahead, wrap in foil, and reheat it.
Bread and Butter Pudding is classic British mommy food and one of the easiest puddings to make. It's a great way to use up left over bread — white, (the classic), brown, brioche, even stale croissant, the method is the same whichever you use. If you're feeling particularly decadent, smear the buttered bread with a little marmalade or jam before baking.
The addition of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese makes an intriguing savory cornbread that is the perfect accompaniment to rich French or Italian-style stews and slow-roasted meats. I often whip up a batch for a simple supper and eat it with a couple of fried eggs and a plate of garlicky greens: my Italian-Southern fusion comfort food.
Mary Cunningham lives in Choctaw County in Alabama, and she is a superb seamstress, a creative cook, and the mother of two grown daughters. She is also a loving woman and an active member of the C. J. Holiness Church, where during revivals and church functions she always arrives with a basket full of good food and memories.