Sunday, October 28, 2007

Daring Bakers challenge: Bostoni cream pie

I recently joined a baking group called the Daring Bakers. It works like this: a different blogging member hosts a challenge each month, picking a recipe the other Daring Bakers must follow precisely, save for certain pre-defined substitutions, and then the other members rise to the challenge, bake, photograph and report back on a pre-determined day. In the meantime, the members post questions, comment and chat on a private, common blog. It's a treat and a privilege to be a member of this group of talented, enthusiastic and passionate bakers! I've enjoyed all the banter on the private blog and have been planning and looking forward to my own adventure with the chosen recipe of the month (as described by the host): Bostoni cream pie, a twist on the traditional Boston cream pie (which is a vanilla layer cake filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate glaze). The Bostini cream pie is vanilla bean pastry cream topped with an orange chiffon cake and then drizzled with a rich chocolate glaze. Mary at Alpineberry is the host for the challenge this month.

When I first saw the recipe challenge, I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I'm not a huge fan of pastry cream, I really hate chocolate and orange in combination (despite the fact that there's a chocolate orange liqueur that bears my name), and, having grown up in Boston, I think I've over-dosed on Boston cream pie (albeit the Pepperidge Farm version). I was really disappointed I joined on Bostoni cream pie month and missed last month's cinnamon bun challenge.

That said, I bucked up and approached the challenge with a good attitude. After all, there's still a lot of new cooking techniques to learn even if you're not looking forward to devouring the end result. The recipe contained an inordinate amount of eggs. I decided to halve the overall recipe to be safe. I decided to substitute lemon juice and lemon zest for the orange juice and zest (a permitted change) and went about tackling the recipe this morning, just under the wire of the deadline.

I was very surprised at the end result. The pastry cream was the best I've ever had - light and flavorful, the chiffon cake was a dream (and I loved the lemon) and, well, who could not like a chocolate glaze that's half butter, half chocolate? R made quick work of the first, super-sized portion. I love how pretty the presentation is in clear, individual glasses. I might very well make this again! Thanks Mary for the challenge. For the recipe and additional information, please visit the host's post here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A little (3 lb) fishy (salt baked fish)

We eat more fish than anything else. My favorite home preparation is steaming fish in parchment with vegetables, herbs, or in a scented broth. 20 minutes in the oven, hard to mess up, and fun to open and eat at the table.

My favorite preparation out, however, is whole fish either roasted or grilled, very simply prepared - often without sauce and just drizzled with a little olive oil. Grilled is out of the question in my kitchen as I don't have a ventilation hood over the stove. Roasted or baked can be tricky since fish can so easily dry out. That's where the silver bullet method comes in: whole fish baked in salt.

The salt forms a hard dome over the fish which seals in moisture and results in fish that is moist and juicy with a subtle flavor from whatever you stuff in the cavity during cooking (lemon, thyme, parsley, garlic, orange slices, to name a few options). To add more fun and drama, when you remove the fish from the oven, you have break open the salt dome to release the fish.

I've tried baking fish in salt a couple different ways: in pure kosher salt with nothing added, and in a mixture of kosher salt, water, and egg whites. The latter method is meant to create a paste which creates a firmer seal but I've found that the salt tends to remain moist and clumpy and is harder to remove completely after cooking.

My favorite recipe comes from a cookbook, Culinaria: European Specialties (part of a broader series), that was given to me by a friend a long time ago. It calls for a 3 pound Sea Bream (Daurade), but lately I've been making it with striped bass with great success. I've made up to a 6 pound fish with the same recipe, doubling the salt, and using a half sheet pan to bake it on.

There's a room-temperature sauce that goes with the fish; I've made it with and without the sauce (which I put in a bowl and pass around to allow people to serve themselves if desired).

[Sea Bream] in a salt crust adapted from Culinaria: European Specialties

1 3lb sea bream cleaned and ready for cooking
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves
1 sprig thyme
4-6 pounds course sea salt
2 untreated lemons

Romesco sauce

1/4 cup almonds
3 garlic cloves
1 tomato
Salt, black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 460°F. Rinse the fish and season inside with lemon juice. Cut the garlic cloves in half and place inside the fish with the thyme. Cover the bottom of a fireproof dish with a layer of salt as thick as a finger. Place the fish on top of this and then add enough salt for the fish to be completely covered. Bake in the oven for ~40 minutes. Temperature on an instant read thermometer inserted through the salt into the fish should read 130°F when done. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before cracking open.

Once cooked, break open the salt crust and carefully remove the fish from it (dust off any lingering salt). Take off its skin and fillet the fish. Place on pre-heated plates and serve with lemon garnish.

To prepare sauce, peel and lightly roast the almonds and crush them in a mortar together with the garlic (or use skinned almonds). Skin the tomato, remove the seeds and add it to the almonds (I use a few canned whole Italian plum tomatoes and add additional tomato paste as necessary to achieve the consistency I want). Work everything into a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil and the vinegar, mixing everything together thoroughly.

P.S. I've slowly been updating the links of the right-hand side of my blog to better reflect things I've been reading and thinking about lately. The "inspired" list is worth taking a peek at: there are some amazingly talented photographers, designers and bloggers who have been keeping me thinking and dreaming and who you might also find interesting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beans (or jewels?)

I didn't grow up eating a lot of beans. I think my mom thought they were too time-consuming to cook (and so did I having experienced the nightmare of stale Goya beans languishing on the shelf at the local grocery store - slow to cook and mushy in texture once cooked). I've discovered the pleasures of great beans as an adult. I like them best by themselves - as a side dish or as a main dish with rice, simply prepared so you can really taste them.

I was introduced to a terrific little company, Rancho Gordo, from California that concentrates on heirloom beans. They have a constantly evolving menu of dried beans that are as much a delight to the eyes as to the palette. They all look like jewels to me and I find myself selecting them more on the basis of appearance than on the description of their taste (since they're all yummy anyway). The flavor and texture of these beans is unlike any you will find sitting around (endlessly) on the shelf of a conventional supermarket. I ordered a batch last year that I gave out as holiday goodies and recently ordered another batch just for us since the recent change in weather is starting to make it feel like bean-eating season.

Rancho Gordo is slightly off-beat and irreverent. They publish a blog that has recipe suggestions and more commentary on the beans they collect and develop. The descriptions on their site are irresistible. One particularly beautiful black bean is described as: "an oddly beautiful bean that looks as if someone went at it with an airbrush. When cooked, it's a firm, whole brown bean with a slight fudge texture and piney flavor. It's very rich, so prepare simply."

The cooking instructions that arrive with the beans are spot on (see mom, not so hard!).

Rancho Gordo method:
Check beans for small debris and rinse in cool, fresh water. Cover beans with two inches of water and soak for 4-6 hours.

In a large pot sauté finely chopped onion; celery, carrot and garlic (or any combination you prefer) in olive oil until soft. Add beans and water- and make sure beans ore covered by at least one inch of water. Bring to a hard boil for five minutes and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Once soft, add salt. Beans can take from one to three hours to cook. Slow and low is best!

More about beans:
Do not add acids (tomatoes, vinegar) or sugars until the beans ore just tender, as they can toughen the beans. You can replace some of the cooking water with beer or stock. Bay leaves are nice, as well as ham bones or smoked turkey legs. But in general, fresh, heirloom beans need little help.

If you need to add more water as the beans are cooking, only add warm water from a kettle. Cold water can harden the beans, and hot tap water is not good for you or your taste buds.

Some people believe that changing the soaking water will help alleviate the "gas" problem for which beans are famous. Some people believe you throw out some vitamins and goodness when you do this. Epazote, a culinary herb, is said to help. This makes more gastronomic sense than throwing out the soaking water. Research reaches no definitive conclusions. From my experience, the best way to help with the gas is to eat more beans.


My husband, who is a bean fanatic, got very excited when he saw our box arrive in the mail. We're having them for dinner as an accompaniment to fish tomorrow.

P.S. The vegetable in the photo on the left is kohlrabi and has absolutely nothing to do with this post other than the fact that I saw some at the market and thought it would make a nice color-based diptych with my beans. I have absolutely no idea what to do with Kohlrabi - any ideas, please send them my way!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Flour power

flour n.
1. A fine, powdery foodstuff obtained by grinding and sifting the meal of a grain, especially wheat, used chiefly in baking
2. Any of various similar finely ground or powdered foodstuffs, as of cassava, fish, or bananas
3. A soft, fine powder
tr.v. floured, flour·ing, flours
1. To cover or coat with flour
2. To make into flour
Source: The free dictionary

Ever stopped to really think about what flour is? Ever think about why a recipe calls for all-purpose flour vs. pastry flour or some other form? Ever wonder whether you should be making a greater effort to substitute whole wheat flour for white flour and if you would notice the difference? I always do, and I figured it was time to sit down and do some research (occasionally the bug to find out "everything" gets me -- in the past I've done this on eggs and on refrigeration and food safety). I compiled a list of my top questions and surfed the web for the answers with the help of my friend, Alison. As with my other deep-dive posts, this post is a compilation of information found on the web – most of it extracted verbatim. For this one, we used,, the North American Miller’s Association, Wikipedia, Cooking for Engineers,, U.S. whole grains blog, and The Cook's Thesaurus.

What is flour and where does it come from?

According to Wikipedia, “flour is a fine powder made by grinding cereals or other edible starchy plant seeds suitable for grinding. It is most commonly made from wheat—the word 'flour' used without qualification implies wheat flour—but also maize (now called corn in many parts of the Western Hemisphere), rye, barley, and rice, amongst many other grasses and non-grain plants (including buckwheat, grain amaranths and many Australian species of acacia). Ground legumes and nuts, such as soy, peanuts, almonds, and other tree nuts, are also called flours. The same substances ground more coarsely are called 'meal' instead of 'flour'.” For the purposes of this post, “wheat flour” will refer to all flours made from wheat.

Wheat flour is one of the most important food ingredients in Europe and America and is the product obtained by grinding wheat kernels or “berries.” What kernels are the seeds of the wheat plant and are the only part of the plant that is milled into flour. The kernel consists of three distinct parts: bran (the outer covering of the grain) germ (the embryo contained inside the kernel) and endosperm (the part of the kernel that makes white flour, and the largest part of the kernel). During milling, these three parts are separated and recombined to achieve different types of flours. (As a side note, wheat flour is highly explosive when airborne and candles, lamps, or other sources of fire were forbidden in medieval flour mills).

What types of wheat flours exist?

Wheat has two main growing cycles, Spring and Winter. These cycles, along with the geographic region and soil content where it is planted, produce soft and hard wheat, or wheat with a high starch content or high gluten content, different hardnesses and colors. All of these factors are used to classify and describe wheat. The amount of, gluten protein is what gives wheat flour its baking qualities. The harder the wheat, the higher the protein content in the flour. Soft, low protein wheats are used in cakes, pastries, cookies and crackers. Hard, high protein wheats are used in breads and quick breads. Durum is used in pasta and egg noodles. Flour can be “white” (comprised of the endosperm), whole wheat (made by grinding the kernel or recombining the white flour, germ and bran that have been separate during milling), or germ flour, made from the endosperm and germ, excluding the bran. There are over 200 varieties of wheat produced in North America alone.

Wheat flour includes: (from hardest to softest) (note: this portion taken largely from the Whole Foods Council and from

Durum or semolina flour
Made from a high-protein, hard wheat. It is usually enriched and used to make pasta products. Semolina is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum.

Whole-wheat flours
Also called stone-ground or graham flour, whole wheat flour is milled from the whole grain. It contains all of the bran and germ from the wheat berry. Whole-wheat flours produce heavier and denser baked goods and are often combined with white flour in making breads and muffins.

Most whole wheat flours are made out of a hard red wheat, but hard white wheat (a white wheat berry is "whiter in appearance" than a red wheat berry) is gaining in popularity due to its lighter appearance and naturally sweeter taste. Because it contains the germ and bran, whole wheat retains vital nutrients.

Whole what flour needs to be used fresh, and stored properly as it gets rancid quickly due to the high fat content from the wheat germ. Typical protein levels range from 11.5 to 14.0% and most whole wheat flours are enriched.

Bread flour
Bread flour is milled primarily for commercial bakers, but is available at most grocery stores. The flour is usually made with a greater percentage of hard red winter or hard red spring wheat, giving it a higher gluten content. This gives the bread dough the elastic quality necessary for greater product volume. Protein levels vary from 10.5 to 12.0% (note: some other sources say 12 to 14%). Common applications include breads, pizza crusts and specialty baked goods.

All-purpose flour
White flour milled from hard wheats or a blend of hard and soft wheats. It is used in some yeast breads, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pastries and noodles. Different brands will vary in performance. Protein varies from 8 to 11 %.

Pastry flour
This flour is primarily used for cookies and pastries. It comes from soft winter wheat, and is very starchy. Pastry flour has properties between those of all-purpose and cake flours. It is usually milled from soft wheat for pastry-making, but can be used for cookies, cakes, crackers and similar products. Pastry flour differs from hard wheat flour in that it has a finer texture and lighter consistency. It has low protein content (typically 8.5 to 10%) and produces pies and pastries with a flaky or tender consistency.

Cake flour
Fine-textured, silky flour milled from soft winter wheat. It is used to make cakes, cookies, crackers, quick breads and some types of pastry. It has a low gluten content, and produces cakes with a tender crumb. Protein content is typically 8.5 to 10% and the flour is enriched.

Self-rising flour
Also referred to as phosphated flour, is a convenience product made by adding salt and leavening to all-purpose flour. It is commonly used in biscuits and quick breads, but is not recommended for yeast breads. One cup of self-rising flour contains 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Protein levels run from 9.5 to 11.5% and the flour is enriched.

Self-rising flour can be substituted for all-purpose flour by reducing salt and baking powder according to these proportions. This type of flour cannot have a very high protein level other wise baked end-products will not have a light and fluffy texture and will not "relax" during the baking or cooking process. (note: has anyone ever seen a recipe that actually calls for self-rising flour?)

High gluten flour
The highest gluten content of all of the wheat flours used for baking. Gluten flour is usually milled from spring wheat and has a high protein (40-45 percent), low-starch content and a gluten content from 12 to 13%. This flour is used for dough needing extra strength and elasticity such as pizza, focaccia, mullet-grain breads and Kaiser rolls.

Vital wheat gluten
Flour milled from the pure gluten derived from washing the wheat flour to remove the starch. The gluten that remains is dried, ground into a powder and used to strengthen flours lacking in gluten, such as rye or other non-wheat flours.

Note: outside the U.S. you will often see flours labeled by a number that represents different mineral contents or “ash mass” that remain after incineration in a laboratory. This is another way of describing the fraction of the whole grain that remains in the flour.

How should flour be stored?

Flour should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (less than 60% humidity). All-purpose, bread and cake flour will keep for 6 months to a year at 70°F and 2 years at 40°F (note to self: uh oh); store away from foods with strong odors. Whole wheat flour should be refrigerated or frozen, if possible. Before using refrigerated or frozen flour, allow it to warm to room temperature and inspect for rancidity and taste.

According to Martha Stewart, adding a bay leaf to the flour jar is said to help keep weevils out!

What are the nutritional benefits of flour and how do the health benefits of white and wheat flours compare?

Wheat flour is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Other than gluten flour, all types of wheat flour derive at least 80 percent of their calories from carbohydrates. Depending on the flour type, the percent of calories from protein ranges from 9 to 15 percent, except from gluten, which has 45 percent protein content. Calories from fat are never more than 5 percent. As the protein content of the flour increases, carbohydrate decreases. The mineral content varies with the grade, with lower grades generally showing higher mineral or ash values.

Whole wheat flour is higher in protein than white flour milled from the same wheat. Because whole wheat flour contains the bran, the germ, and the endosperm (vs. white flour which just contains the bran), whole wheat flour benefits from the most nutrient-dense portions of what and contains the greatest nutritional benefits. The germ is packed with antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin E. It is also a source of heart healthy unsaturated fats. The endosperm contains complex carbohydrates and protein. Whole wheat flour is higher in protein than white flour milled from the same wheat and it also contains dietary fiber, unlike white flours.

Some people suffer from intolerance to gluten known as coeliac or celiac disease. Increased awareness of this disorder, as well as a rising belief in the benefits of a gluten-free diet, has led to increased demand for bread, pasta, and other products made with flours that are gluten-free.

The process of refining flour to make white flour often results in the destruction of some of the vitamins and minerals in the flour. Almost all the flour sold is steel ground (crushed and ground by a large machine with steel hammers or rollers). This is an efficient process but the heat generated by the high grinding speed destroys some of the vitamins and nutrients in the wheat. In this case, nutrients are often added back to replace those lost (in fact, this is mandated by the government in some countries). These nutrients often include iron and four B-vitamins (thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid) and sometimes calcium. Flour is called “enriched” when these nutrients are added back.

Alternatively, stone ground flour is produced by the relatively slow grinding of large stones together (with the wheat in the middle). This type of flour is harder to find and almost always leaves the germ intact producing whole wheat flour. There is no heat build up, so all the nutrients stay intact as the four is made.

Some people interested in preserving the natural nutrients contained in wheat and in the taste and texture benefits associated with grinding one’s own wheat use kitchen mills to produce their own flour (may seem a little excessive but I hear that pancakes made with your own ground buckwheat are fabulous!). There are many home models on the market. These models use stainless steel blades instead of stones.

What are some common substitutes for wheat flour and how can they be used? (note: this list is by no means exhaustive, there are many wheat flour substitutes and non-wheat flours)

Rye flour
Flour ground from the cereal grass grain rye. It is grown in the northern part of the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe and Russia. It has a very low gluten content (less than 2%) and is usually blended with wheat flour to produce a lighter loaf. In artisan baking, rye flour is fermented and makes very acceptable loaves. The flat breads of Scandinavia are produced from rye flours.

Oat flour
Flour ground from another cereal grass. It is used in combination with wheat flours to produce tasty breads with excellent keeping qualities, and the bran from oat flour has been found to lower cholesterol.

Soy flour
Flour derived from the soybean seeds. Soy flour has very little starch, but is extremely high in protein. It is considered a complete protein for the human diet. It is used only as supplement to breads to increase the nutritional protein as it is low in gluten.

Can I substitute different flours in a recipe (general baking)?

Instead of 1 cup. . .You can use . . .
Self-rising flour1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt
Cake flour1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Whole wheat flour7/8 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons wheat germ
All purpose flour½ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup all-purpose flour
All purpose flour or bread four1 cup whole wheat flour minus 1 tablespoon for every cup of all-purpose flour or bread flour

To create a lighter whole-wheat loaf, add 1-tablespoon gluten flour and 1-tablespoon liquid for each cup of whole-wheat flour.

For much more information including non-wheat flour substitutions, click here

Other key differentiators

Flours can be bleached or unbleached. Bleached flours produce doughs that are less sticky, more uniformly white, more consistent, and rise better than unbleached flours. Bleaching can be accomplished by aging the flour over time (the oxidation of the flour causes the yellow pigments to fade) or through a chemical means (note: no change occurs in the nutritional value of the flour and no harmful chemical residues remain when flours are bleached chemically). Unbleached flour is aged and bleached naturally by oxygen in the air. It is more golden in color and generally preferred for yeast breads because bleaching affects gluten strength.

Flours can also be fortified with nutrients not naturally present in the unprocessed raw material.

The texture of the flour is determined by how much sifting (or bolting) is performed at the mill. The degree of sifting will result in powdery flour or coarse flour. Prior to packaging, most flours in the United States are also pre-sifted. Pre-sifted flour can be measured directly from the bag by stirring, measuring with a dry measuring cup, and leveled with a straight edge. Unsifted flour needs to be sifted prior to measuring (by volume). If unsifted flour is measured by weight, it should still be sifted prior to use in a recipe requiring sifted flour (assume all recipes require sifted flour).

If this didn't satisfy your need to understand flour, see even more in-depth information on wheat flour here and on European classifications here

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mascarpone cheesecake (with rose-scented geranium water)

I’ve been looking back at recent posts and realize my blogging is skewing toward sweets. I think that’s due to a few factors: 1) I enjoy baking tremendously. I appreciate the combination of precision required to get the chemistry of baking right with the left-brain creativity associated with decorating and presenting baked goods; 2) baked goods are more fun (and easy) to share and therefore even more satisfying than cooking for two; and 3) they are easier to blog for a very practical reason which is that photographing a creation in natural light (a must) is much more difficult with a savory dish than a baked good. It requires either making something well ahead of dinner, or saving a portion to photograph the next day (and hoping that the refrigerator and time do not ruin the beauty of the just-cooked food). That said, I think I need to head back toward sweet and savory balance. That is, after this week’s post which I cannot resist. I’ve noticed others participating in the “weekend herb blogging” event for some time. It’s a food blogging event hosted by a different blogger each weekend and involves submitting a dish cooked with an herb or plant to the host blogger (this week's event hosted by Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once). I’ve parked the idea of participating in the event somewhere in the recesses of my mind and the idea rose (no pun intended) to the fore when I was introduced to a sumptuous mascarpone cheesecake recipe which contains rose water made from rose-scented geraniums. I had the cake on our trip down south and managed to wrangle the recipe out of the pastry chef.

Needless to say, there were many challenges in making the dish, not the least of which was locating rose-scented geraniums (and organic plants at that!) and making rose water. Apparently, rose-scented geraniums are simply not available in New York City (at least not in the fall). I was determined to get my hands on the plant vs. substituting with commercial rose water since the taste of the rose-scented geranium water was one of the main things that drew me to the dish. Commercial rose waters always strike me as overly floral and somewhat soap-like in flavor and, are, in my humble opinion, to be avoided at all costs. Unlike the former, fresh syrup made with rose-scented geranium leaves has a subtle, slightly intoxicating rose scent unlike any typical rose you have ever smelled. It lent a wonderful, sophisticated and unexpected flavor to the mascarpone cheesecake, which frankly would have been excellent with out it, but was special with it. I liked the idea of concocting a secret ingredient for the dish, and although highly inconvenienced by, what soon became an obsessive quest to track down rose geranium plants, I was nevertheless energized about my hunt and eager to learn more about this plant that I had never before heard of. After an aborted order with a rather rude vendor out of state, I finally found a nursery that not only had plants in stock but also carried numerous varieties of the plant. They were somewhat taken aback by my ignorance about all things rose geranium but worked with me to identify three different varieties of rose-scented geranium that might work well in a recipe. The plants that arrived were very small and planted in seedling pots but they had generously large leaves, each with its own take on a heavenly rose scent. I decided to mix leaves from the three varieties to make the syrup, which basically involved making a tea from the leaves, straining the liquid, and bringing it to a boil with sugar.

It turns out, rose-scented geraniums are not technically geraniums but rather members of the species Pelargonium. Pelargonium and geraniums are members of the same botanical family. There are over 230 varieties of scented "geraniums" with different leaves, sizes, flower colors and scents (or lack of scent) including rose, lemon, lime, apple, mint and ginger. These leaves are used not only in the kitchen to make syrup for flavoring baked goods (apparently rose syrup and pound cake are a classic), jellies (rose traditionally a flavor in apple jelly), and flavored sugar (by storing leaves in a sugar bowl), but also are used out of the kitchen to make perfume. It is the leaves, not the petals, that are scented, and they so fragrant that significantly fewer scented geranium leaves, for example, are required to add rose scent than rose petals would be. For more information, see additional information from the Herb Society of America.

Back to my cake, I made the recipe in stages over a couple of days so as not to become overwhelmed. I made the ginger snap crust (the dough of which would make a wonderful cookie) and the rose syrup one day, and the filling the next. There are some subtleties in the recipe that I definitely did not execute as well as the restaurant in which I had it: namely tempering the egg and sugar mixture into the mascarpone cheese – which initially resulted in a very lumpy mixture that I had to work hard to smooth out, and adding gelatin to sufficiently thicken the filling (I translated required sheets into powder which is all I had on hand and the final result was somewhat less firm than I would have liked – I’ll have to go back and try that again). But, the bottom line is that the cake came out rich and airy and had wonderful flavor due to the rose water and ginger snap crust. It’s a pretty little dish with figs that dress up the otherwise snow-white cake and it provided a Proustian remembrance of our trip.

P.s. I'm not going to post this recipe broadly as it might not be fair, but if you are interested, please let me know via email.