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Aug 27, 2014
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In This Issue: How to make and lattice the perfect crust in 3 easy steps

August 26th, 2014



Pie may be the Midwesterner’s comfort food, but that doesn’t mean everyone can pull off that coveted flaky crust. How does one avoid the dreaded crumble?

A 2007 Cook’s Illustrated article popularized the use of vodka for a foolproof pie dough. In addition to alcohol, some pastry chefs have found other secret ingredients in their quest for the perfect crust.

One of these is lemon oil, which can tremendously enhance a berry pie crust, according to Marilyn Lynch, kitchen and catering manager of Mannino’s Market in Cottleville.

For a subtler flavor, give your crust a splash of apple cider vinegar (or even white vinegar) to achieve that light and flaky texture. “I like the flavor of apple cider vinegar better because it is more mellow,” said Pint Size Bakery’s Christy Augustin.

But a certain famous red-and-white-checkered cookbook, first published in 1930, includes a basic crust recipe that uses vegetable oil and milk. This oil pastry recipe continues to be published in contemporary editions of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, and a devoted contingent of bakers swear by it.

However, for all-purpose pie crusts, the resounding wisdom – from culinary schools and restaurants across the U.S. to professional kitchens around St. Louis – is that the secret liquid ingredient most vital to creating a great pie crust is the easiest to obtain: ice water. “It’s really important that you have ice-cold water … and really cold butter,” Augustin said.

Cold is critical: Whichever recipe you select, pastry chefs stress the importance of using chilled ingredients, working quickly, and touching the dough gently and briefly to keep it from warming before it’s ready.

That fancy crosshatch of dough that decorates the top of a store-bought pie only looks intimidating. But weaving a lattice isn’t difficult to do yourself. Get lattice-savvy with these tips from the experts.


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-photo by Jonathan Gayman, illustrations by Vidhya Nagarajan

Meatless Monday: Navratan Korma

August 25th, 2014



This delicious Mughlai dish gets the name navratan, meaning “nine gems,” from its nine different veggies, fruit and nuts. Potatoes, French beans, carrots, green peas, cauliflower and bell pepper are parboiled to hold their texture and  crunchy cashews fried for a deep nutty flavor. But this dish really starts to sing when you toast the spices, perfuming your kitchen with heavenly aromas of garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, red chile powder and garam masala. The whole dish comes together with a few tablespoons of rich cream and sweet, plump raisins. Serve with warm naan or basmati rice for a hearty, veg-filled Meatless Monday. Get the recipe here, and learn more about curries here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: Redefining pie a la mode with ice cream pies

August 25th, 2014


{I Scream Cakes owner Kerry Soraci}


I Scream Cakes owner Kerry Soraci is well known for imaginative ice cream cakes crafted in her brightly colored Cherokee Street shop. However, she’s recently gotten into the pie game, creating ice cream pies with a rotating cast of traditional and off-the-wall ice cream flavors, ganaches and toppings (almost all of which are gluten-free). Orange-habenero ice cream hiding a caramel-white chocolate ganache topped with chocolate-covered pralines, anyone?

Since August is all about pies here at Sauce, we asked Soraci to give us the scoop on her ice cream pies and share a recipe straight from I Scream Cakes’ kitchens.

Why did you decide to make ice cream pies in addition to your cakes?
I grew up working at Baskin-Robbins when I was a kid, and they had ice cream pies. I thought they were a nice option because it can be a little cheaper than a cake. It’s also more of a cookie than it is a cake, so even though they’re similar, they’re completely different.

What is the best crust for an ice cream pie?
I think it depends on the kind of ice cream and also personal preference. I do like the crushed up chocolate cookie crust, but we haven’t used it yet because of the gluten-free concerns. I really love our almond cookie crust. It’s nice and soft, it’s easy to make gluten-free and it … enhances a lot of our flavors.

Why cookies?
The cookie, as long as it doesn’t get baked too long, stays nice, soft and chewy when it’s frozen. It’s also a matter of balancing all the ice cream time and the baking time. We use (next-door neighbor) Black Bear Bakery’s oven, so we don’t bake a lot. It’s more focus on the ice cream, so it’s easier … to use the cookies as the pie crusts.

Have you ever made a pretzel crust?
No … now that you say that, it’s a really good idea!

What flavors of ice cream pie do you offer?
Right now, our seasonal pie is the Italian almond cookie crust with a layer of lavender-passion fruit swirl and blueberry cheesecake ice cream with a cream cheese icing. (But) I’m always making something different.

What do you top your pies with?
Either a chocolate ganache or a white chocolate ganache. We use Kakao’s burnt caramel sauce … for a caramel ganache. Cream cheese icing, maybe some fruits.

Describe how you make an ice cream pie.
We soften (our ice cream), spread it, and pretty much throw it in the freezer. After an hour or two, after it’s set, then we put a topping on it. The topping not only serves as an extra flavor and extra element, but it also is a good sealer so the ice cream isn’t exposed to air, so it stays fresher and doesn’t get freezer burn. Especially the ganaches – they kind of act like a magic shell.

Any tips for making an ice cream pie at home?
I like the crust to be frozen. I let (the ice cream) sit no more than five minutes to get it soft, then I squish it and press it into the corners so it’s all in there and smooth it out. But you don’t want it to get too melted because melted ice cream, when it refreezes, is icy and not a very good texture. You just want it to be soft enough to spread, smooth it out, and put it in the freezer.

I want the crust to be as close to the temperature of the ice cream as possible so you don’t get that icy layer of (refrozen) melted ice cream at the bottom. Then I do freeze the ice cream for an hour or two before putting the topping on for the same exact reason … The ice cream does need to be cold, so when the ganache, which is slightly warmer than room temperature hits, it … almost immediately hardens. That hardening will then also make the ganache stick to the ice cream so that it can be spread.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, can you make an ice cream pie with store-bought ice cream?
Absolutely. (Just use) the ones with the (purest), natural ingredients.

Any other helpful advice for home cooks?
Just play around! If you’re a little nervous at first, start out with everything store-bought. After that, bake your own cookies and make your own cookie crust … Just let the chewy cookies sit out, so they dry out and put them in a food processor with a little bit of melted butter. You can press that into the bottom of a pie pan and then let that freeze.

So do you prefer ice cream pie to regular pie?
No … I love pie, period. I really love strawberry-rhubarb pie; I love fruit pies.

And would you eat that a la mode?
Hell, yeah!


Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie
Courtesy of I Scream Cakes’ Kerry Soraci
Makes 2 9-inch pies

For the ice cream:
3 eggs
¾ cups sugar
1¾ cups whole milk
2¼ cups cream
3 oz. 100-percent cacao baking chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the Italian almond cookie crust:
2¾ cups raw almonds
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. gluten-free or regular cake flour
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup egg whites (3 reserved egg whites plus 1 more)
½ Tbsp. almond extract

For the caramel-white chocolate ganache:
¼ cup cream
4 oz. high-quality white chocolate*, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup room-temperature caramel sauce
Coarse sea salt to finish

Chocolate Ice Cream
• Separate the eggs, reserving the whites for the cookie crust. Use a stand mixer to beat the yolks on high speed until pale, about 2 minutes. With the stand mixer running, beat in the sugar. Turn off the mixer and stir in the milk and cream.
• Pour the custard mixture into a large saucepot and warm over medium heat, stirring until it reaches 185 degrees. The custard should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
• Add the chocolate, cocoa powder and vanilla to the warm custard and let it sit to melt slightly. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
• Pour the chilled custard into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 1½ quarts. Ice cream can be made 1 day ahead.

Italian Almond Cookie Crust
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds and sugar together until roughly ground. Pour the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in flour and salt. Set aside.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and almond extract on high speed into soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Scrape the whipped egg whites into the nuts and stir gently to incorporate.
• Divide the mixture evenly between 2 9-inch pie pans. Bake about 15 minutes until the cookie is just golden. Let cool to room temperature, then freeze until ready for use.

Caramel-White Chocolate Ganache
• In a small saucepan, bring the cream to just below a boil over medium-high heat.
• In a small mixing bowl, pour the hot cream over the white chocolate. Add the butter and let it melt. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then stir in the caramel sauce. Let cool.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie
• To assemble the ice cream pies, remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide it evenly between the 2 frozen crusts, pressing it into the corners and smoothing the top with a spatula. Freeze 1 hour.
• If the ganache has hardened, microwave it on low in 10 to 20 seconds intervals, stirring until it is viscous. Divide the ganache evenly atop the 2 pies to cover the ice cream completely, then sprinkle with sea salt and freeze until the ganache has hardened. Let thaw about 10 minutes before serving.

*Look for white chocolate that contains cocoa butter, not palm oil. 

-photos by Jennifer Mozier

By the Book: Jennifer Katzinger’s Apricot Cherry Crostata

August 23rd, 2014



I’ve always been skeptical of any recipe claiming to make dessert healthier. After all, I eat dessert as a sweet, decadent treat – a reward for my valiant attempts to eat healthy-ish all day. I initially scoffed at Jennifer Katzinger’s Honey & Oats, thinking that any baked good that didn’t allow me to use all-purpose flour or granulated sugar just wouldn’t taste the same as its original inspiration. But the more I read her cookbook, the more intrigued I was.




Honey & Oats advocates using whole grains and natural sweeteners. As a woman who thinks her bag of unbleached AP flour can conquer all baking projects (I learned the hard way it can’t be substituted for bread flour.) this was an education. Katzinger starts her book with a list of whole grains and whole-grain flour options, including the familiar rolled oats and barley to the more obscure einkorn and spelt flour. Most of Katzinger’s recipes for everything from breakfast muffins to cakes to pie crust call for some combination of the latter two flours. She’s also a proponent of natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar.




Since it’s pie month here at Sauce – and my crust-crimping skills leave something to be desired – I opted for the pie’s more rustic cousin, crostata. Katzinger packs hers with bright apricots and cherries, perfect since I’d just returned from a Michigan vacation with roughly five pounds of that sweet red fruit.




The butter almond crust called for a little more than one cup of light spelt flour, which admittedly proved tricky to hunt down in the baking aisle (Hint: top shelf, but not in an Uncle Bob’s Red Mill bag as expected). It also required almond flour and coconut palm sugar, both readily available at my local grocery.




The crostata process itself was the same as any other pie recipe; combine dry ingredients, pulse in cold butter and ice water, refrigerate and roll out on a floured surface. The most time-consuming part was peeling the apricots and pitting the cherries, all easy enough tasks. The end result was a gooey, beautifully rustic (read: messy) open-faced pie that smelled of mid-summer fruits.




My only issue was transport; Katzinger states this is the perfect dessert to take on a summer picnic, as it’s easy to pack and transport. However, after an hour in the car to a friend’s home, the crostata had spread significantly, gaining another inch or two all around. Upon serving, it looked less like a rustic pie and more like a fruit pizza. Even so, the flavors were divine. The crust was pleasantly nutty and toothsome, and the coconut palm sugar had an unexpected, molasses-like quality akin to brown sugar. Perhaps I could get used to this healthy dessert idea, especially now that there’s an open bag of spelt flour in my cupboard.




Apricot Cherry Crostata
Makes 1 13-inch crostata

8 fresh apricots
Butter Almond Dough (recipe follows) for a single-crust pie
2 Tbsp. light spelt flour
¼ cup coconut palm sugar, divided
1 cup (8 oz.) pitted, halved fresh cherries
¼ cup fruit juice-sweetened apricot preserves

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set it aside. Cook the apricots in the boiling water until soft, about 1 to 2 minutes. With a slotted spatula, remove apricots to the bowl of ice water. After they have cooled, about 5 minutes, peel, halve, and pit them. Cut each apricot half into 3 wedges.
• Roll the dough out on a well-floured sheet of parchment paper to a 13-inch round. Slide a rimless baking sheet underneath the parchment. Combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the coconut palm sugar and sprinkle over the dough.
• Arrange the apricot slices, rounded side down, on the dough, leaving a 3-inch space around the edge. Arrange the cherries over and around the apricot slices. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar over the fruit.
• Fold 2 inches of the dough over the crostata to create a border around the fruit (the fruit should remain uncovered) and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of coconut palm sugar.
• Bake until the apricots are tender, about 50 minutes.
• In a small heavy saucepan, over low heat, warm the preserves until melted, about 5 minutes. Strain into a small bowl, then brush the strained preserves over the top of the crostata. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Butter Almond Dough
Makes 1 9-inch single-crust pie

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. light spelt flour, or ½ cup einkorn flour and ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. light spelt flour
¼ cup almond flour
1 tsp. coconut palm sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
3 to 4 Tbsp. ice water

• In a food processor, combine the flours, coconut palm sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Evenly distribute the butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse (starting and stopping the motor) until the mixture resembles small peas, about 6 or 7 pulses, each lasting 3 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Sprinkle the ice water onto the pastry 1 tablespoon at a time, blending with a fork after each addition. The dough will be crumbly.
• Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and mound it with your hands. Form into a disc roughly 5 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to chill and firm the dough.

Reprinted with permission from Sasquatch Books

What healthy version of an indulgence has most surprised you – for better or worse? Tell us in the comments below to win a copy of Honey & Oats.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Sangria, Red or White

August 22nd, 2014



Just in case you forgot what summer in St. Louis is supposed to feel like, it’s back with a vengeance. This weekend is going to be hot. Like triple-digit heat index hot. It’s time to quench your thirst with a classic summer sipper. Here, we set you up with sangria two ways, whether you like bold, fruity reds or delicate, floral whites.

For the red wine crowd, mix a robust Burgundy or cabernet sauvignon with brandy, triple sec, peach schnapps, blood orange and liqueurs, fresh fruit puree, citrus juices and club soda. Get the recipe for this powerful, fruity sangria here.

Not a red wine drinker? Go light and bright with a few bottles of dry Spanish white wine. Stir it up with apples, orange slices, lemons, limes, peach schnapps, orange juice, brandy, triple sec and sugar to sweeten the pot. Get the recipe here.

4 ways to show your support for the St. Louis community this weekend

August 22nd, 2014


{Hopeful treats to be served at Sweet Art’s Cupcakes and Conversation tonight, Aug. 22}

It’s been a tough few weeks in our city. St. Louis is grappling with some difficult issues right now, and many in the community are wondering how to move forward. Here, four food-focused ways to show your support for the community in these troubled times.
1. HandleBar in The Grove is hosting a food drive now through 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 to fill the bare shelves at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church food bank. Bring a nonperishable food item, household supplies such as laundry soup, all-purpose cleaner or toilet paper, or a personal hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap or deodorant with you to the bar tonight and receive a little something in return (discounted bills, a free beer and more are on the table). Keep an eye on HandleBar’s Facebook page for updated surprises and raid your pantry to give back.


2. Sweet Art‘s Reine Bayoc hosts Cupcakes and Conversation tonight, Aug. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. to provide a forum for civil, honest discussion about the recent unrest in Ferguson. This is not a “who can pound their chests the hardest” event, Bayoc said, but a chance for the community to gather and share thoughts on how to move forward in a positive way. Join the conversation – or just listen – over free coffee and discounted cupcakes.

3. Put on your work boots and join Gateway Garlic Urban Farm at Urban Farmed Uprising Saturday, Aug. 23, at Terry There Gardens in Ferguson. Beginning at 10 a.m., volunteers will help tidy the urban farm and plant fall crops, as well as work on irrigation systems. Then help load up the trucks at 2 p.m. as Gateway Garlic delivers more than half a ton of fresh produce to Ferguson families in need. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided, and volunteers are encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch. Volunteers are asked to RSVP on Facebook if attending.

4. Join together at St. Louis 4 Unity, a rally in Ferguson to bring together citizens, elected leaders, clergy, activists and law enforcement to stand strong in Ferguson. Everyone is invited to the rally Saturday, Aug. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 9131 W. Florissant Ave., and are encouraged to bring handmade signs in support of St. Louis unity, peace and healing. Participants are encouraged to RSVP here to receive further updates.



Tweet Beat: The week’s best tweets from #STL foodies

August 22nd, 2014



She said this is the smallest rib tip they had at Red’s Barbeque in #Ferguson. #yum

. @mwanzi stopped by our future tasting room today… https://twitter.com/SideProjectBrew/status/501496000209747970/photo/1

The phases of eating at @steveshotdogs  @TGEast pic.twitter.com/Pz41sEOvQQ

A little happy news out of NoCo: congrats! Love @HendelsCafe too RT @blueNGB: The NEXT GREAT BAKER! #NGB pic.twitter.com/h93Q5FlVhi

@loudiesel23 duuuude @SugarFireSmoke is opening a new place next door called Sugarfire Pies! #saaaaywhat #brisketpie?

Just an FYI…this wing was stuffed with jambalaya and wrapped in bacon.  Yup.  @UCPHeartland #WingDing https://twitter.com/Patrico1057/status/502614185042145280/photo/1

Last call at 7:45 in Montana by law. Lol

Scrambled eggs with provel (STL FO-EVEH), ripe cherry tomato, & roasted tomatillo/pepper/garlic sauce. #breakfast

We put this on our menu a couple days ago and have had some people question it. There should be no questions. #peace https://twitter.com/AdamTilford/status/500740458725658625/photo/1

In This Issue: Easy as Pie

August 21st, 2014


In a hurry? There’s no shame in a store-bought pie shell, so let yourself off the hook and throw a couple in the freezer. They defrost quickly, roll out easily and – unless you spill the beans – most people won’t be able to tell that you didn’t spend all afternoon rolling, tearing and cursing to make it as good as Great-aunt Celia did. This pecan pie can be put together in less than an hour.

Simple Pecan Pie
1 9-inch pie

3 eggs
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups pecans, divided
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center.
• In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then add the corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Mix well.
• Chop 1 cup pecans then pour them and the remaining ½ cup whole pecans into the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the corn syrup mixture over the nuts.
• Lightly tent a piece of foil over the top of the pie and bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 40 to 45 minutes, until the center is semi-firm and jiggles slightly. let cool on a wire rack 45 minutes.

Not in the mood for something nutty? Click here for a quick and easy Creamy Citrus Pie with a Pretzel Crust, ready in just 30 minutes.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: SugarfirePie to open in Olivette

August 21st, 2014


{Carolyn Downs of soon-to-open Sugarfire Pie}

Desserts are taking center stage at Sugarfire Smoke House’s latest venture set to open this October in Olivette – a sweets-centric storefront showcasing the pies and treats of co-owner and long-time pastry chef Carolyn Downs. As initially reported by Feast Magazine, Sugarfire Pie will be located in the former space of L’Ecole Culinare Academy at 9200 Olive Blvd., which happens to be a mere two doors down from the original Sugarfire Smoke House.

Sugarfire co-owner Mike Johnson said Sugarfire Pie is a solution to the cramped conditions and growing demands Downs has faced while baking in the Olivette kitchen. “We have such little space, and we’re cooking there 24 hours a day,” said Johnson, who estimates that Downs bakes roughly 500 pies a week and a few hundred cookies each day.

Downs, who also owns and bakes at the dessert-driven Cyrano’s in Webster Groves, plans to capitalize on the new space by adding to her repertoire of decadent creations. Alongside her infamous crack pie (a pie we love so much that it made our list of 10 Pies to Try) and chocolate chip cookies studded with flakes of smoked sea salt, Downs plans to churn out soft serve chocolate and vanilla custard that will be topped with everything from crumbled slices of pie and cake to Sugarfire’s own house-made bacon dipped in chocolate.

Downs’ lineup of pies will come in all shapes and sizes, including pop tarts, hand pies, gooey butter pies and whoopie pies. She also plans to offer Cyrano’s bread pudding, a cake of the week and a variety of cookies.

Inside Sugarfire Pie, an open kitchen will allow guests to watch as Downs and her team mix, roll and bake their creations. Johnson estimates about 16 seats and said the shop will be decked out in a 1950s motif with an eclectic spirit similar to Sugarfire Smoke House. Expect to see retro TV sets, tile mosaics and plenty of vintage mid-century décor.

Sugarfire Pie will be open daily for dine-in or carryout service and will offer online ordering. Specific hours have yet to be determined.

The Scoop: St. Louis pastry chefs win TLC’s ‘Next Great Baker’

August 20th, 2014



Al Watson and Lia Weber are finally able to announce their big news: They have earned the title “Next Great Baker” from season four of TLC’s reality show of the same name. The finale episode aired last night, Aug. 19, when they beat nine other teams and emerged victorious with their final cake design — a 4-foot-tall red Japanese pagoda with a cherry tree branch covered in blossoms.

Weber said her emotions were running high during the taping of the final episode in April. “Every emotion you can image was going through my mind at the moment,” she said. “I was already crying and when I realized I had won, I fell to the ground. When I opened my eyes and my entire family was there, whom I hadn’t seen in two months.”

Watson and Weber met while working at Wedding Wonderland in Florissant. Weber is now the pastry chef at Hendel’s Market Café and has launched her own specialty dessert company, Made. by Lia. Watson, who is general manager and wedding cake decorator at Wedding Wonderland, said the whole experience was an amazing surprise. “The ride was remarkable, and to actually win the entire thing was beyond what I could have ever expected,” he said.

Weber and Watson will split the $100,000 award. As for the other prize, a potential opportunity to bake at Buddy Valastro’s new bakery at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, they are still waiting on final details before they make a decision.

If you missed the Next Great Baker” finale, the show will be rebroadcast at 8 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26.

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