These scones are the perfect breakfast when you’re rich in overripe bananas but don’t have the time or patience for banana bread. They bake up fast and don’t need to cool before being eaten. Some of the butter might ooze out a little while they bake, but don’t worry. That just helps get the bottom extra crunchy.
The inspiration for this recipe came from watching Tom Colicchio, the chef at Grammercy Tavern, glaze root vegetables with chestnut honey and thyme. I thought the flavors would work beautifully with pears. I love the earthy, piney, autumnal nuances of chestnut honey and thyme, and I find that these two ingredients add an unusual complexity to the gentleness of the pears. This is a very easy recipe that can be pulled together in just a few minutes, whenever you have some pears that are ripening faster than you can keep up with. Once you transform your surplus fruits, you’ll have an intense dessert that keeps well and is easy to reheat.
Pistachio Semolina Cake
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, Silver Lake
Like cilantro and circus clowns, pumpkin pie can be quite polarizing. Some take a hard pass, whereas others can’t imagine cold-weather holidays without it. My earliest pumpkin pie memories involve trying not to stick my fingers in a store-bought Mrs. Smith’s pie on Thanksgiving Day, baked from frozen that morning and cooling on the washing machine in the tiny laundry room off the kitchen at Gramma’s house, while the rest of the Thanksgiving meal was prepared. By the time dinner was finished and the desserts rolled out, I was more interested in stealing spoonfuls from the Cool Whip tub next to the pie than I was in the pie itself. I became a late-in-life pumpkin pie convert, especially the homemade kind (no offense to Mrs. Smith), and have grown to love the simplicity and warming spices in an amber slice at the end of a celebratory meal.
When it’s the dead of winter and there are no fresh, vibrant berries or stone fruits to speak of (at least, not the type that hasn’t been shipped thousands of miles and has the “meh” flavor and price tag to prove it), baking can seem kind of dreary. There are only so many brownies and chocolate chip cookies a person can take. It’s then that apples and pears are the answer. Hearty with a long storage life, you’re bound to find a couple rattling around the fridge just about any time of year.
There’s a fine line between apple pie and this recipe. I’ll level with you—I’m not sure there’s a line at all. What it comes down to is how this item is found in Midwestern bakeries: on sheet pans the size of barn doors, slicked with icing, often called an apple slice or apple square, and eaten out of hand midday with no thought about it being dessert. So, this recipe being a pastry and not pie is a state of mind, is what I’m saying.
This recipe has made the rounds, and never fails to impress. It’s all the satisfaction of crisp, sugary, brown-buttery chocolate chip cookies for very little time and effort. Perfect for weekday baking, gifting, compulsive snacking, and making friends and influencing people.
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, is a Christian sect founded in England in 1770 by a woman named Ann Lee. Ann Lee, who was thought to embody the second coming of Christ, established four basic tenets: communal living, celibacy, regular confession of sins, and isolationism from the outside world. The Shaker story is an intriguing study of a social and religious experiment in utopian community in early American history. They were radical for their time in many ways: they practiced social, sexual, economic, and spiritual equality 75 years before emancipation and 150 years before suffrage. They strongly believed in gender equality, even though their responsibilities were separated by sex.
This cake is Hungarian in origin, but it’s also popular in parts of northern Serbia that were under Austro-Hungarian rule until the turn of the twentieth century. It’s commonly called Madjarska Palacinka Torta or Hungarian Pancake Torte. Our mothers and grandmothers would typically bake it for Sunday lunch because it’s so quick to make. The layers are somewhere between a pancake and a crêpe, and are sandwiched with various fillings. Almost always, there are walnuts, the most popular nut in the western Balkans. As my aunt used to say: “It isn’t a cake if it doesn’t have walnuts.”
Cardamom gives this almond cake a wonderful, delicate perfume.