Evil Eye Cookies

This week we celebrated my dad’s 68th birthday… almost 70! (tfu tfu tfu, against the evil eye). To celebrate it I made him a small birthday cake plus special cookies decorated with royal icing to keep away any bad luck from him this year: cookies against the evil eye, a concept deeply rooted in my family.

Alfajores Tartlets

Recently I discovered that the Argentinian cookies Alfajores have Middle Eastern roots with origins from an ancient cooking book from Baghdad of the Middle Ages, just a little over 1000 years ago. (I know, sounds like One Thousand and One Recipes.) The origin of the name in Arabic is al-fakher (الفَاخِر), which means “fine” or “quality” or maybe “praised”.

Linzer Cookies with Maple Cream

A while ago, I stumbled upon a magical video that shows how to make maple cream from maple syrup. In one sentence, you heat the syrup, let it cool and then stir, for about an hour! That’s it. In the video, they take pride in stirring by hand using a wooden spoon. Not me. I take pride in my standing mixer, capable doing the same thing while I drink a cup of coffee and prepare the dough for the cookies.

Pistachio Tart with Poached Pears

I love tarts. I make them all the time and write about them here. Once I managed to figure out how to make the crust properly, I fell in love with them even more. For Betty and David’s goodbye party I made two tarts. One was an excellent lemon berry tart that I wrote about the day after. The second was a pistachio tart with poached pears that made me proud. I consider it a little win over a similar tart that I made with mediocre results for a semi-final exam at my pastry school.

Apple Tart for Daniella

A while ago, Daniella, a dear friend and former neighbor, sent me an image of a fancy apple tart. Below the image she wrote: “Please make this for me”. Daniella now lives in Washington D.C., so of course she was just joking. I took it a little more seriously.

Lemon Berry Tart

A couple of weeks ago we held a goodbye party for Betty and David, good friends. She’s American, he’s Israeli, and together they’re the perfect mix, just like this pink lemon berry tart combination. After about a decade living here, they decided to move to chilly Boston. They met and got married here, and I had the honor to make them their wedding cake. It was a three-tier tres leches cake, soaked in three different kinds of milk. One of them (evaporated milk) doesn’t exist here and so it had to make it all the way here from the States just for this divine cake. I have to recreate this recipe and put it up here one day.

Coffee and Hazelnut Mille-feuille

This mille-feuille is an incarnation of another dessert I tried to make with Oren a few months ago. We tried to make a Bûche de Noël with coffee diplomat cream and a hazelnut nougat ripple. It turned out so delicious, but couldn’t hold its shape. Maybe ‘cause we tried to make a joconde from hazelnuts, maybe ‘cause the cream was too supple or maybe, just maybe, we didn’t have luck on our side. I didn’t want to let go of the flavors and started looking for another dessert that would work with them, until I reached the perfect one – mille-feuille.

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