Patrick Thibault, our gardener, is the James Underwood Crockett (erstwhile Victory Garden host) of Montreal; he dutifully tends to the daily greens and produce we harvest from the Vin Papillon and Joe Beef gardens, while also leisurely providing the end-of-season greens we might use to create a torte like this one.
For much of my childhood, this was my mom’s go-to cake. Each sponge cake layer is mixed with a different ingredient (poppy seed, prunes, walnuts), and then basted with sweetened condensed milk and left to soak. She just called it “three-layer cake”—so I pressed her for its actual name:
Burned Bread Pudding | Kazandibi
Region: İstanbul, Marmara Region
This is a gorgeous old-fashioned family dessert that separates into two quite distinct layers when it cooks—it has a lovely fluffy top and a creamy lemon base, provided it is not overcooked.
There’s nothing quite like a fresh, ripe fig. This recipe uses my favorite fruit, simply dipped in melted chocolate (dark or milk—equally good, the choice is yours) and dusted with crushed pistachios and rose petals. The end result is as gorgeous as it is tasty. These figs are lovely paired with wine and cheese or served on their own when you feel like indulging.
Rosewater, one of my favorite flavors, is delicately fragrant, and I suggest buying a bottle or two for your pantry. Whenever I am roasting rhubarb I add a few dashes of rosewater, but it’s also delicious added to whipped cream, sponge cakes, raspberries, strawberries—I could go on…
I love all things lemon, especially lemon curd. But it’s pretty intense on its own, so I often lighten it up with whipped cream to make an easy mousse. It goes especially well with gingersnaps on the side.
Carrot + Walnut Halva | halva-ye havij-e urmia
Saffroned Almond Cake | loz-e badam-e yazdi
We wanted our baklava recipe to produce crisp, flaky, buttery lozenges, light yet rich, filled with fragrant nuts and spices, and sweetened just assertively enough to pair with a Turkish coffee. To achieve this goal, we sprinkled store-bought phyllo dough with three separate layers of nuts (pistachios) flavored with cardamom. We clarified the butter for even browning. We found that cutting the baklava rather than just scoring it before baking helped it absorb the sugar syrup. Finally, allowing the baklava to sit overnight before serving improved its flavor of our baklava recipe and was worth the wait.