Last Friday I got to sit down with baking guru and pastry chef Nick Malgieri to talk about his new book, Bake! Malgieri has written a number of other award-winning cookbooks, including The Modern Baker, How to Bake, and Chocolate.
So, what do you ask a baking guru who’s published books about pastry, worked in kitchens Europe and NYC, and was voted one of the ten best pastry chefs in America by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines? Honestly, I wasn’t sure. But I figured, if anything, I could ask him for tips on brownie recipes, which I’ve been wresting with lately. I mean, if anyone’s going to have an answer it’s a famous baking guru, right?
We sat down for a cup of hot chocolate at ACKC, where I got to pick his brain about pie dough, pastry techniques, and the new book (and maybe a little NYC foodie gossip. But sssh, I’m sworn to secrecy). If there’s one piece of practical baking information I gained from our conversation, it’s that I really need to bake my pies in the bottom third of my oven – otherwise the crust will never brown enough (which happens all the time – even in my half oven which tends to burn everything).
The new book is full of tips like this. Each chapter in Bake! focuses on a different pastry technique; recipes in the chapter build on that essential technique. The book covers a range of pastries – from breads, to laminated doughs, to cakes, and is a good primer for anyone wanting to learn more about baking. And some of the recipes (especially the golden almond bar cookies, and the potato and Gruyere focaccia), look pretty to die for.
I also took some pictures of the confections at ACKC, which I had never been to before. I’m a little in love with that store now. Believe me, if their chocolates are as delicious as their toffee-flavored hot chocolate, I’ll definitely be checking them out come Christmas time.