This delightful book is part history, part cookbook. It takes readers back to the traditional Ashkenazic Jewish bakeries found in most Jewish communities. One author, Berg, is a professional pastry chef. The other, Ginsberg, learned to cook and bake from his grandmother. Both share a love for traditional baked goods. They begin with a short historical overview and proceed to information about measurement and ingredients. Chapters about bread, rolls, pastries and cake, cookies, Passover baking, fillings and toppings, and icings and finishes will teach readers about the origins of the foods as well as the techniques for creating them. Braiding a challah, boiling bagels, or making several kinds of babka will be easy if one follows the authors’ instructions. Vintage black-and-white photographs as well as color plates supplement the text. A list of resources offers online sources for ingredients, equipment, information, as well as history and Yiddish. Notes direct readers to further information. Both cooks and historians will enjoy this trip to the bakery.
Recipe: Almond Macaroons
Makes about three dozen.
3−1÷2 cups almond paste
3 large egg whites, beaten
1−3÷4 cups granulated sugar
3 large egg whites, beaten
2 cups sliced almonds
1 egg + 1 tsp of water for wash
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs water
1/2 tsp light corn syrup or honey
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F with your baking surface in the middle.
2. Cut or break the almond paste into small pieces and combine in the bowl of a stand mixer with the first quantity of egg whites and the 1 3/4 cups of sugar. Beat at low medium speed for 2 – 3 minutes until fully blended into a smooth, lump-free paste.
3. Gradually add the remaining egg whites until the mixture is moderately stiff and able to hold its shape. Be careful not to let it get too loose.
4. Put the mixture into a pastry bag with either a large plain or star tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a one-gallon plastic freezer bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the dough onto parchment-lined sheet pans in 1″ to 1 1/2″ circles, leaving about 1″ between cookies.
5. Let the macaroons dry, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.
6. In a saucepan, bring the remaining sugar, water and corn syrup or honey to a boil and continue heating for 3 – 4 minutes until it thickens slightly and coats a spoon. Let cool.
7. Remove the macaroons from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Very carefully glaze them with the simple syrup or with 1/2 cup of melted apricot jam.
8. Let the macaroons cool completely – at least one hour – before trying to remove them from the pans. Until thoroughly cooled, they’re extremely fragile, and handling them to soon will almost certainly result in breakage. When cool, store in an airtight container. These are even better on the second day – if they last that long.
Reprinted with permission from Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of JewishBaking by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg, www.caminobooks.com.