"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, July 23, 2007

Three-Berry Pie with Vanilla Cream and Seeded Breadsticks

This is a pie loving family, by which I mean that the Three-Berry Pie was finished off in less than 24 hours (with very little help from me).

Here's what I especially liked about it, besides the yum-factor: using cornstarch AND tapioca as thickeners give the filling stand-up-ability without the glomminess that pure cornstarch provides.

Here's what I would change: the Basic Pastry Dough has no sugar in it, which is just fine for a quiche but in my sweet pies I like a sweet crust. Just a little sugar makes it seem right.

I didn't make the Vanilla Cream. This is an ICE cream family, not a whipped cream one. They go for the solid stuff every time, if given a choice.

There are some recipes in this book that I haven't been able to make because they call for exotic ingredients that aren't sold here in the culinary backwaters of the world.

One such recipe was Seeded Breadsticks, which calls for nigella seeds. What, you may be asking, are those? They are black onion seeds, and McCormicks definitely doesn't carry them. Don't worry, the book says, you can get them at Kalustyan's, on Lexington Ave. In NYC.

Fortunately, I have a NYC insider--granddaughter B. who has shown an interest in being an exotic ingredients courier. She has already procured cocoa powder from Maison du Chocolat, and she came through this time too, with nigella seeds and instant espresso powder.

To celebrate the arrival of the exotic nigella seeds, I made the Seeded Breadsticks for lunch to go with lentil soup and tabbouleh salad.

And how were they? Worth the jet fuel?

Well, they're breadsticks, when it's all said and done, but the nigella seeds are kind of oniony and peppery, which is nice, and the breadsticks themselves are pleasantly crunchy. A baking note--20 minutes is going to burn the sticks--you'll want to set your timer for 17 or 18.

I've sent B. off to find ground sumac next. It's kind of like a culinary scavenger hunt.

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