Intellectual Property

August 22nd, 2012

This recipe has been under contention for a while. Long story short, it was one of the top selling dishes PERIOD at the Big Ridiculous Latin Restaurant, and the owners expected me to just hand it over when I was asked to leave, despite me having developed it originally FOR FUN months before they were open. I gave up on the issue because I was leaving a friend in charge. Recently they got a new chef. He deemed the dessert “crap” and promptly removed it from the menu. (I don’t take it personally since the current chef at Tiny’s ate like two whole cheesecakes during the development stage, and upon learning more about his changes and comments have realized he just doesn’t like cheesecake.)

Anyway.

Before that last part went down, I’d already decided to share the recipe with you guys. It’s a little fuzzy because we were baking individual mini cheesecakes and that’s just not feasible for home cooks. And you ARE gonna need a scale. Get over it.

First, make Alton Brown’s Graham Crackers. Yes really. They’re easy, all-molasses with a nice bitterness. I figured molasses was a nice vaguely tropical ingredient. Also you can sub whole wheat flour for the graham, that’s what we ended up doing.

To make the crust and bake the cheesecake, follow the directions from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking…From My Home to Yours” (which I keep at work for trusty basic formulas like this one).

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp undated butter, melted
(I omitted the salt)

Mix crumbs with sugar by hand, then pour in melted butter and work in with fingers until evenly mixed. Press into the bottom & sides of a foil-wrapped springform pan and chill, then blind bake for 10 minutes at 350F, turning halfway through. Cool before filling.

For the filling, cream together:
12 oz cream cheese
12 oz soft goat cheese
200 g (1 cup) sugar

Scrape that shit down, no lumps allowed! Then beat in:
3 eggs

One at a time, silly. Scrape some more. Don’t turn the mixer up too high, air bubbly cheesecake is no bueno. With the mixer on a nice low setting, slowly pour in:
1 cup of cream

Followed by:
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lime juice

Scrape again before pouring into the crust. In fact, transfer the whole batter into another container to make sure it’s smooth as can be. If it’s not, strain it. But if you’ve been scraping sufficiently all along you won’t have a problem.

Here’s where you make a choice: You can use the cheesecake batter right away OR you can keep it refrigerated overnight for better results. If you use it right away it’ll be fluffier and harder to swirl in the guava purée (that’s right). If you refrigerate you’ll get guava all through the cake, not just on top, but the batter will separate slightly in the fridge so you’ll have to transfer it AGAIN and make sure to stir gently until homogenous. It’s your call, either way let the batter come up to about room temperature before using or your cheesecake will take an ungodly amount of time to bake.

Anyway.

You’ll need that guava purée I mentioned. If you have any Latin groceries near you, check in their freezer case. Goya makes totally fine tropical fruit purées. It’ll go by the Spanish name “guayaba.” You can also drop a ton of money on way too much purée from a company like Boiron, or go find yourself some guavas to purée. Either way you need it thawed and homogenous. Once the batter is in the pan, dribble a bunch of purée on top of the batter and swirl it in. Add more if you like. If you add a ton the extra water in it will add a lot of cooking time but you’ll end up with swirls of what is essentially guava paste at the end.

Oven at 325F, water bath at the ready. I think you’re gonna have to cover this sucker with foil lest his top burn before his middle is cooked, we baked the individual ones uncovered but they only took about 20 minutes as opposed to the hour or something that a big cake takes.

I’m assuming you know how cheesecakes work. So, bake, cool, chill, unmold, slice, eat. This goes particularly well with more acidic fruit sorbets, I served it with passion fruit but lime would also be wonderful.

Edit: Here’s a photo of a large scale version of the cheesecake as made by a former assistant of mine. Thanks Tiago!!!

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Happily Demoted

July 22nd, 2012

You heard right. I’m no longer involved with Super Linda (aka All Consuming Eater of Souls) – was asked to leave following an altercation after I DARED to change a dessert I didn’t put on the menu myself. Nasty business. Chef quit a few months ago. The state of the nation is, I’m back to being the sole source of all things pastry for Tiny’s and only Tiny’s, I’m working out of the prep kitchen at a nearby affiliated sports bar, and the former sous is now running the show at Tiny’s.

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The dessert that was deemed as “disgusting sounding” by an owner. Later sucker.

And things are going great! Better than expected, even. We were both ready to storm out when Chef left but…this is a chance to make a great place even better, and do what makes us happy. With a loyal kitchen staff behind him and an enthusiastic back and front of house behind me, we’re kicking ass.

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My somewhat conceptual rhubarb dessert.

In fact I have literally been told on several occasions recently, “do whatever you want.”

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Roasted strawberry tart. No daily fuss with fresh berries!

We’re tweaking and transforming the menus. Gone is the weird burger with sprouts, the crab dip, the brunch pastry basket.

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Completely insane pineapple Jammy Tart.

We have a loyal enough following of regulars that I can fearlessly challenge them and myself at the same time.

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Japanese cotton soft cheesecake…made like a sponge cake, baked in a water bath.

I’m also currently still setting up my gorgeous new apartment with my fiancé (we have a private backyard and counter/cabinet space for miles!) and hugging Slappy, the cutest kitty in the world, daily. And I’m hoping to start sharing short but sweet recipes again soon!

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Slappy says “hi, I’ll slap you!”

They’re Letting Me Do Cupcakes

June 17th, 2012

THEY’RE LETTING ME DO CUPCAAAAKES!!!

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Champagne Cupcakes

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Stuffed!

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Cross- Section

Now Hiring

January 16th, 2012

Well hey there. It’s been a while. I’m still cranking out tasty things at the tiny pink restaurant, still lack my own computer and camera as well as enough free time and interest to be sharing recipes and whatnots with you. The times they are a-changing, though, and I’ve promised a certain special fellow Lady of the Pastry that I’d document my latest adventure here. Because allegedly people like when I write things. Huh.

Anyway…those changes. Well, I moved, still in Brooklyn, but a different part. It’s got lots of parts. It’s big. My reason for moving is related to my love life and how there is someone new in it. I like him. Lots. The third change is related to my job. Very soon I won’t be all alone, so lonely, tweaking out about making all the desserts myself. We’re opening a second, much much much bigger restaurant a block down the street and guess who’s in charge of all things sweet o’er there. Yeah. So, it was decided that production for both places would be in the nice big shiny new kitchen, and that I could hire helpers.

Helpers! My very own army of minions! Three of them! Yup. Three makes an army, right? Okay. I’m basically trying to assemble a team of totally awesome Pastry Superfriends. With unique abilities and special powers. The applications are in, I hate my inbox and the interviews have begun. My little calendar app has never seen so much action. And I’ll be continuing this saga shortly so totally come back and stuff.

Ridin’ Dirty

July 27th, 2011

Hey there. I mentioned recently on Twitter that I’d like to start blogging casually again. Since my computer and camera were recently liberated from my ownership, I have no pressure to make things Tastespotting/Foodgawker-worthy. It’s all about the flavor anyway. I’m not into the tablescapes, carefully arranged heirloom tomatoes and blown-out whites.

So, here’s a thing I make at work a couple of times a week as a petit four. Consider them Rice Krispie Treats, perfected. They started out as these. Then they evolved.

dirtayyy

That's as good as the photos get these days, folks.

Dirty Rice Krispie Treats

  1. 2.75 oz. unsalted butter
  2. Large pinch Kosher salt
  3. 15 oz. marshmallows
  4. 9 oz. Rice Krispies (or generic puffed rice cereal)
  5. 4.5 oz. cocoa nibs

Place the butter and salt in a large-ish pot, something with a wide bottom. Heat over medium until butter melts and begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Cook the butter to a dark brown (not black).

While the butter browns, spread the marshmallows in a single layer in a large mixing bowl or on a clean baking sheet. Torch the heck out of ‘em. You could also put them under a broiler if you have no torch, but a torch is really the way to go here. You want a burnt, black, crispy shell on at least 2 sides of those marshmallows. With gooey insides. Once the butter and marshmallows are done, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the marshmallows. Stir occasionally with a buttered heat-proof spatula until completely melted.

it should look like a lava field, you may have to extinguish flames by blowing on them

SUPER DANGEROUS ACTION SHOT

Combine the cereal and cocoa nibs in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Butter a medium rectangular baking dish (or a half sheet pan, if you’re in a professional kitchen…I cut them 1×1.5″ for petit fours so they don’t need to be that thick, but they’d be too thick to fit a quarter sheet) and line it with parchment. Liberally butter the parchment. Butter, butter, butter. Once the awesomely burnt goo in the pot is totally melted, add the cereal and nibs and stir to combine as evenly as possible. Scrape into your buttered vessel and smooth evenly. At work I use a liberally buttered large offset spatula. If you’re into cake decorating you’ll have one. If not…use whatever a home cook would use to spread and smoosh Rice Krispie Treats. I don’t know. After this, I butter another sheet of parchment and lay it on top, then wrap and let it set up for a few hours. Then I turn that sucker out and cut it up with a buttered knife.

Not sure what the next post will be. Banana jam? Toasted almond milk? How to make lame-ass cultivated blueberries taste like wild ones? Perhaps the infamous ANIMAL CRACKERS, the recipe for which I’ve only shared with one very special person?

Hi

April 24th, 2011

I’ve been busy. Doing things like this:

Animal crackers!

Animal crackers! (via TribecaCitizen)

I don’t have any good pictures of my desserts so far, so here’s a bad one…bad picture, that is, this dessert is rad.

Carrot Sandwich

Carrot Sandwich

Since I spend my days in a somewhat dark basement with poor lighting, and I only have my phone for use as a camera, I won’t be getting any good shots on my own…not that I have time to mess with more than a quick snapshot anyway.

…But if YOU are ever in TriBeCa, and have some nice photography skillz please come by and take pictures and share them (and your thoughts!) with me.

A cake that didn't make the cut.

A cake that didn't make the cut.

I have some idea what you might be thinking.

“That’s nice, Anna, but what about the recipes?”

I’m not sure about that yet. Honestly I’m using a lot of base recipes that have appeared on this blog, but some things are completely new…like those animal crackers. I’ll share a few things, when/if I have the time. Right now I’m a little more preoccupied with nailing my fifth dessert…and wondering if I have too much orange on my menu (it’ll be pinker soon).

Spongecake Mochipants

March 27th, 2011

I love sponge cake. I didn’t know it until I went to pastry school, because I never had it growing up. I don’t know exactly why I love the airy, eggy stuff – I can’t stand eggs on their own but add sugar and I’m all over ‘em.

The other day I was flipping through my copy of Joy of Cooking and I found a recipe for a sponge cake with rice or potato flour instead of the traditional wheat flour. I had just picked up a fresh box of mochi flour and thought to myself that a mochi sponge cake would be just about the most wonderful thing I could put in my mouth.

fluffity!

It so soft.

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In the Test Kitchen

March 21st, 2011

So I’ve been getting a little bored at home, waiting for the restaurant to get to the point where I can go in and at least do SOMETHING (once the water gets turned on I can go help clean things, wheeee!) and cataloguing recipes and making up menus just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I had to do something. I had to bake.

Lucky for me, I had ingredients for muffins after filling a St. Patrick’s Day request for Chocolate Chip Whiskey Muffins. Add to that a need to develop a super tasty blueberry muffin recipe for brunch. Then add to THAT some sour cream (leftover from tasty tasty tacos) and you’ve got the ingredients for a one woman muffin smackdown.

golden muffininess

Hello, breakfast.

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Moving On & Looking Back

March 12th, 2011

***Voting is over and the results are in…I WIN! Thanks to all my readers for the support.***

I know I don’t talk about myself all that much here. I’m more interested in telling you about food. But as this is food related, I figured I should mention it here.

I left my job.

I know. I really liked my job. And I still really like the restaurant. But sometimes, you have to move on to something else. So I decided to go in search of that something else. And I considered all sorts of things in my search…switching over to bakery work, learning a totally new cuisine, even raw desserts. Then I got lucky.

I’m not going to say too much now since it’s not open yet. Let’s just say I’m getting my very own pastry station. Dessert concepts have been submitted and approved. I can get in there and start testing in a matter of days. There’s a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s incredible that I’ve come this far, this fast.

Watch this space for more details (including, you know, name and address and opening date).

That’s enough of that for now. Let’s move on to the cupcakes I made for this month’s Mystery Box Challenge.

sittin' in the sunshine

Is it really spring?

This month’s theme, luckily for me, was to make a pretty pretty birthday cupcake for someone special. My mom has a March birthday and what could be more special than that?

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Pomegranate Hearts

February 11th, 2011

Hi! It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Do you know what that means for me?

I <3 U

A healthy-looking heart.

Well, in the past it would’ve meant I’d be looking forward to a day (or at least an evening) off, spent snuggling and probably having a nice dinner or something with Z. But now? Now it means I’m gearing up for a long weekend of busy dinner service with a special holiday menu at work. Ah, restaurant life.

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