Nick Malgieri Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:30:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chocolate for cookies Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:30:33 +0000  
A reader has asked: I used cut-up chocolate instead of chocolate chips for some cookies recently and the chocolate oozed out of the cookies onto the pan and burned. Should I have floured the chocolate or done something to make this work?
A: Chocolate chips are especially formulated to hold their shape when baked, so they are better for cookies than cut-up chocolate.

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Hazelnut Linzertorte Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:40:33 +0000 Hazelnut Linzertorte ready to bake

Hazelnut Linzertorte ready to bake


This is a favorite recipe for Linzertorte.  The real thing has a cake-like rather then a pastry-like texture.

Makes one 9-inch cake


1 cup whole natural (skin on) hazelnuts

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon alkalized (Dutch Process) coco powder, optional

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking powder

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 12 pieces

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves

1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

One 9-inch round pan buttered and the bottom lined with a disk of parchment; a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube (Ateco # 206)


  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees
  2. Pulse hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until well ground, but not powdery.
  3. Add the flour, spices, cocoa powder, and baking powder and pulse again to mix.
  4. Add the butter; pulse again to mix in but without letting the dough become pasty.
  5. Add the egg and yolk and pulse until the dough clings together.
  6. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Divide the dough in half.
  7. Using a floured hand, evenly press half the dough into the prepared pan, then spread with the preserves to within 1/2-inch of the edge.
  8. With the remaining dough, pipe a diagonal lattice over the preserves. Or divide the dough into 10 pieces and gently roll into thick strands instead of piping.  Sprinkle with the hazelnuts.
  9. Bake the Linzertorte until it is firm and lightly golden, about 40 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan on a rack. Invert to a cardboard, remove pan and paper, and replace with a platter.  Invert again, replacing any hazelnuts which might have fallen off.  Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving.


WEISSE LINZERTORTE:  Substitute blanched almonds for the hazelnuts.  Omit cinnamon and cocoa; add 2 teaspoons each grated lemon zest and vanilla with the egg and yolk.











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Pies vs. tarts Tue, 20 Jan 2015 00:27:53 +0000  
A reader has asked: What’s the difference between a pie and a tart? Does a pie always have a top crust and a tart never has one?
A: The main difference between the two lies in the type pan used for baking. Pie pans are sloping sided and pies are left in the pans and cut and served from them. Tart pans are straight-sided and have removable bottoms; tarts are always removed from the pan before serving. By the way, both a pie and a tart may have one or two crusts.

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An Easy Focaccia Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:16:01 +0000 Caramelized onion focaccia

Caramelized onion focaccia


This rich and satisfying focaccia is thicker than the typical Ligurian type and is baked in a round pan.  See the end of the recipe for topping the focaccia with cooked onions.
Makes a 9-inch round focaccia


1 cup/225 grams warm tap water, about 100 degrees
2 teaspoons/5 grams/fine granulated active dry or instant yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
2 1/2 cups/335 grams unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons/6 grams fine sea salt
Coarse salt and more olive oil for topping
A 2-inch deep 9-inch round pan generously oiled


1. Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Wait a minute and whisk again, then whisk in the oil.
2. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour and salt. Place the bowl on the mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed until sticky and somewhat elastic, about 3 minutes.
3. Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment until it starts to puff.
4. Scrape the dough to a floured surface and give it a turn: flatten the dough and fold one side over the middle and the other side over both; roll down from the top. Invert and repeat. Return the dough to the bowl and cover smooth side upward; let ferment until fully risen, about 30 minutes longer.
5. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
6. Invert the dough to the prepared pan and turn it over so that the smooth top of the dough is now uppermost and oiled. Use your fingertips to evenly press the dough into the pan. Cover and proof until puffy, about 30 minutes.
7. Oil the top of the focaccia and dimple it all over with fingertips. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
8. Bake the focaccia until well risen and dark golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for a minute, then invert, turn tight side up, and cool on a rack.


VARIATIONS: Add 4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves to the dough along with the salt. Or top the focaccia with about 2/3 cup cooked onions: Peel, halve, and thinly slice a large white onion, about 8 ounces, and cook it slowly in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until very soft and sweet. Cool and press the onions into the dough at the beginning of step 7.

Focaccia, cut cropped


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Muffin peaks Tue, 13 Jan 2015 00:25:32 +0000  

A reader has asked: How can I get my muffins to have a nice peak at the top? They always seem to come out flat.
A: Muffins sometimes bake flat because the oven temperature is too low. Start your next batch at 400 degrees and make sure the pans are not under-filled. Sometimes the only adjustment necessary is to fill the cavities in the muffin pans with a little more batter. Butter the top surface of the muffin pan to make sure the tops don’t stick there if they spread a little while rising.

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Amaretti Tue, 06 Jan 2015 00:21:51 +0000  

A reader has asked: Are amaretti always made from apricot kernels?
A: No, the industrially made ones are, but amaretti made in the United States and Italy are made from either ground almonds or almond paste.

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Lentil Soup for New Year’s Day Tue, 30 Dec 2014 17:47:43 +0000 New Year's Day Lentil Soup

The flat, round shape of lentils recalls that of tiny coins so they figure prominently among “good luck” foods for the New Year.  In Italy it’s traditional to serve cotechino sausage or the famous zampone of Modena with lentils for the holiday.

Here’s an entirely more humble but nonetheless delicious lentil soup that incorporates some enticing flavors.

Makes about 2 quarts finished soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

About 4 to 5 ounces each peeled white onion, peeled carrots, celery hear with leaves, and green bell pepper, finely diced

8 ounces, about 1 generous cup, brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

10 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder or smoked Spanish paprika

Bouquet garni:  5-6 parsley stems, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 medium bay leaves, and 4 cloves garlic, crushed, tied in a small cheesecloth bag

Extra-virgin olive oil for serving


  1. Pour the olive oil into a 5- to 6-quart soup pot or enameled iron Dutch oven. Add the diced vegetables and set over medium heat. Once the vegetables start to sizzle, stir once or twice, decrease the heat, and cover the pan. Sweat the vegetables until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Uncover the pan, increase the heat, and stir in cumin and chili powder, followed by the lentils and water. Bring to a boil and add the salt and the bouquet garni.
  3. Decrease the heat to a steady simmer and cook the soup until the lentils have softened and are starting to disintegrate, about 2 hours. If the soup is cooking too quickly you may need to add water.
  4. Serve the soup in heated soup plates drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil if you wish.
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Gateau des rois Tue, 30 Dec 2014 00:18:14 +0000  

A reader has asked: Somewhere I read a reference to something called a “gateau des rois.” What is it?


A: A gateau des rois, sometimes also referred to as a galette, is a cake made to celebrate Twelfth Night or January 6 in France. In northern France, the cake is usually made from a disk of puff pastry that may be filled or not. In southern France, it is usually made from a yeast dough. Every cake has a bean (feve in French) or small porcelain figure (also called a feve) baked into it, and the recipient of the feve is the “king” for the evening and buys a round of drinks. Sometimes this type of cake is sold with a golden paper crown for the “king” to wear.

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Chocolate for truffles Tue, 23 Dec 2014 00:15:13 +0000  

A reader has asked: I made some chocolate truffles recently, but they didn’t turn out well. The recipe called for semisweet chocolate, so I used the 1-ounce squares of semisweet chocolate. Should I have used a different chocolate? I’d like to try again.
A: Semisweet chocolate in 1-ounce squares is fine for general baking, especially when the chocolate is combined with other ingredients, such as sugar, eggs, butter, and flour. When you make truffles, however, the flavor of the chocolate is less diluted, so you want to use a premium chocolate. Look for this in the candy aisle, rather than the baking aisle. There are many brands of domestic and imported premium chocolates available in stores.

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Holiday Season Special! Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:37:03 +0000 50% off Sweet & Simple: 10 Classic Dessertspic

Create no-fuss desserts with guidance from award-winning pastry chef and cookbook author Nick Malgieri. Start with warm, crisp blueberry cobbler and classic crème brûlée with a perfectly caramelized top. Bring elegant pudding back into fashion with a stirred chocolate variation and sophisticated baked butterscotch, and do it all lump-free! Moving on, lighten up with chocolate or lemon mousse and get tips on whipping up the perfect Swiss meringue base. Then, embrace a make-ahead frozen soufflé and infuse whipped cream with liqueur for a fun twist. Get Nick’s personal recipe for decadent flourless mousse cake and create crème anglaise to top a rich molten chocolate cake. Finally, make a show-stopping trifle, complete with moist sponge cake and English crème, a delectably thick custard.

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