Whether you've been drawn here by what you saw in the latest issue of HomeStyle or from elsewhere, you'll be after one thing - mouth-wateringly delicious recipes! And that's just what we've got for you, with The Everyday Baker, by veteran cookbook writer, Abigail Johnson Dodge. Coming with 200 essential bakes that even beginners should be able to try, we've chosen two of our favourites, a tantalisingly spicy lemon meringue pie and fruity ricotta panna cottas, to get you started!
Lunching with my dear friend and colleague Gail Dosik on a warm summer day is a celebratory event, and that means we start with a cocktail. On one such afternoon, we were dining at Barbuto in New York City and Gail’s tall, ruby-red drink, a “Brezza Fresca,” arrived at the table—and it had me at hello. Ice-cold, bursting with big berry flavor and a touch of lime, a splash of sparkling water, and gin, this was one of the most beautiful and delicious drinks I had tasted in a long while. It was so good that I immediately thought it should be on the dessert menu.
Re-creating Gail’s cocktail as a dessert sauce was just the beginning. While it was to be the star of the dessert, it still needed a strong supporting player; that’s where my Ricotta Panna Cotta enters stage left. The ricotta is creamy smooth, thanks to a whiz in the blender, and lends just the right rich, velvety texture to this classic dessert. I’ve flavored this version with vanilla bean paste; the visual of millions of tiny seeds suspended in the lightly thickened custard is magical but will taste just as delicious with pure vanilla extract. As a nod to the sauce’s origin, I like to serve this dessert in cocktail glasses—martini, wine, or mini parfait.
I’ve taken a few liberties with this summertime classic and, after just one bite, I know this version will become your go-to recipe year-round. Steeping (or infusing) the lemon juice and water with grated lemon zest gives the custardy filling extra pucker-worthy flavor, and the dash of ground cayenne pepper adds a subtle kick that’s sure to intrigue. I haven’t veered too far from the classic topping except to add poppy seeds for a touch of crunch and pizzazz to the silky-smooth, mile-high meringue.
Recipe courtesy of The Everyday Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge,published by The Taunton Press, 2015, images © 2015 by Tina Rupp