There is an ongoing debate about where kunafah, a sweet cheese “pie” usually eaten for breakfast, originated. Some claim Turkey as its country of origin, others swear it is Palestine, and others claim it is from Syria. There isn’t enough research for us to tell for sure, but what is certain is that there are two main types of kunafah. In kunafah Nabulsiyah, from Palestine, the kataifi pastry— called “hair” pastry because it is made in very thin, long strands—is colored red and used as is. The Lebanese version is known as kunafah mafrukah (meaning “rubbed”), because the strands of kataifi are buttered, then rubbed and rubbed until they become like fluffy breadcrumbs. Also the Lebanese version has no coloring. In Lebanon kunafah is made into a sweet sandwich by stuffing it inside the fat part of a sesame bread that looks like a handbag, with a handle and a fat pouch part, then drenching it and the inside of the bread in sugar syrup.
It is fairly simple to prepare and all you need is to buy kataifi fresh or frozen from a Middle Eastern store.
You can make this in the oven (as below) or on the stovetop. You can vary the cheese by using 1 pound (450g) Arabic clotted cream (qashtah) and follow the instructions as below.
My first meeting with pastry chef Melissa Weller began when I showed up at her doorstep and made myself at home in her kitchen. It wasn’t trespassing; it was journalism - the kind where you scribble some notes and eat lots of baked goods. That afternoon, the one thing I was unable to try was her zucchini bread. She’d filled it with summer savory, oregano, thyme, olive oil, and walnuts. I had become allergic to those nuts the summer I turned seventeen. But I loved the idea of putting olive oil and fresh herbs in there, and I wanted a loaf I could eat. If you’re not allergic, I won’t be offended if you try it her way.
Expert baker Christina Tosi, of Milk Bar fame, shared with us this recipe for her amazing and world-famous chocolate chip cookies. Find more delicious recipes at Christina's website.
This dish brings together some rather unexpected flavors into a sweet, salty and fruity dish perfect for breakfast, brunch or large-batch family coooking. Pati Jinich shared it along with many wonderful cooking ideas when she joined us to answer questions from our listeners. Listen to full episode here.
A proper tart shell should be golden brown, uniformly thin, crispy, and have smooth, clean edges. When you bite into it, it should melt in your mouth as you chew. I’m practical when it comes to tart shells. To me, a tart shell must serve a purpose: it should carry as much fresh fruit as possible. During the summer in France, this means a punnet of ripe woodland strawberries—they taste so sweet, they could be candy—arranged on top of a layer of whipped vanilla ganache. I add as many as I can, so there’s not a sliver of ganache visible. A little strawberry jam piped on top deepens the tart’s flavor.
There’s something about a pastry cream that no mousse or ganache can ever replicate. It’s smooth and custardy—the perfect texture. You can eat it on its own by the spoonful almost like pudding, but it’s terrific in tarts and on cakes. It’s sturdy enough not to collapse under the weight of fresh berries, and subtle in flavor, so it highlights even the most delicate fruits.
Don’t be intimidated by the fancy name—chocolate ganache is just a mixture of chocolate and cream. A good chocolate ganache recipe is incredibly versatile. It can be infused with herbs and spices to create vibrant and flavorful fillings for truffles, or even melted into milk to make a rich cup of cocoa. When liquid, ganache can be used to glaze a cake; when set, it can be whipped and used to fill or even frost cakes.
These scones are the perfect breakfast when you’re rich in overripe bananas but don’t have the time or patience for banana bread. They bake up fast and don’t need to cool before being eaten. Some of the butter might ooze out a little while they bake, but don’t worry. That just helps get the bottom extra crunchy.
Pistachio Semolina Cake
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, Silver Lake
Like cilantro and circus clowns, pumpkin pie can be quite polarizing. Some take a hard pass, whereas others can’t imagine cold-weather holidays without it. My earliest pumpkin pie memories involve trying not to stick my fingers in a store-bought Mrs. Smith’s pie on Thanksgiving Day, baked from frozen that morning and cooling on the washing machine in the tiny laundry room off the kitchen at Gramma’s house, while the rest of the Thanksgiving meal was prepared. By the time dinner was finished and the desserts rolled out, I was more interested in stealing spoonfuls from the Cool Whip tub next to the pie than I was in the pie itself. I became a late-in-life pumpkin pie convert, especially the homemade kind (no offense to Mrs. Smith), and have grown to love the simplicity and warming spices in an amber slice at the end of a celebratory meal.