EyeSwoon

What is it about baking that makes me swoon? The truth is precision has always appealed to me – the art and science of exactness played a major role in originally drawing me into the kitchen. Unlike cooking, baking is a sure thing. You don’t need much skill if you know how to follow a recipe to a T. I cherished that certitude; I could rely on it, especially before I had the confidence I now have in the kitchen. I suppose the pleasure I take in baking is less about the result and more about the process of creation – the slow measuring, leveling, sifting and folding combined with the perfect touch of heat – that transforms the simplest of ingredients like eggs, flour and butter from a sloppy mess into something capable of filling your home with the swooniest aroma. The satisfaction that comes from pulling something out of the oven that is perfectly golden and risen is like a kind of magic. The excitement and the divine smells always make me feel like a little girl!

There’s also a devotion in baking. It calls for a bit of solitude and focus. For me, baking is – well, me time. A time to be indulgent and get lost in the process of feeling a bit like a wizard in the kitchen. And then there are the oohs and ahhs that come from sharing your delicious experiment.  Baking is just an AH-mazing experience in my book.

So when I was recently invited into the kitchen at Rose Bakery to bake with head chef Matthew Lodes wizardry, I jumped at the opportunity.  The original Rose Bakery was created in Paris by Rose Carrarini an Englishwoman and self-taught pastry chef who boasts an unfussy approach to all she creates. This NYC installment of Rose Bakery lives inside the incredible Dover Street Market, a seven-story multi-level brand bazaar housing avant-garde fashion that is artfully displayed in a rotating emporium of creative installations.

Together Matthew and I created Rose’s original and timeless lemon-polenta cake, a recipe she highlighted in her first cookbook Breakfast Lunch Tea. Matthew then surprised me by asking if I had ever tempered chocolate. Huh? I had to be honest and say I wasn’t sure, to which he replied, “oh trust me you would know.” He then proceeded to wash down the stainless steel countertop and I just assumed he was a neat freak, but there was a method to this chocolate madness! Matthew poured an entire bowl of warmed chocolate over the cold silver surface and my reaction was immediate joy – and then we got to play with it – drizzle it, spread it about, scoop it up, repeat! I surly went coo coo for cocoa, I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory! Pure chocolate bliss – SWOON.

Chef Matthew Lodes | Rose Bakery

Swoonisms

    • HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FOOD YOU CREATE AT ROSE BAKERY?

      Rose Bakery has a wholesome simple approach towards food with a heavy emphasis on vegetables. We are constantly striving to source the best organic and biodynamic ingredients. It’s quite unique for a cafe that’s only open for lunch and tea.

      HOW MUCH OF THE FOOD IS ROSE’S CLASSIC RECIPES FROM THE ORIGINAL PARIS LOCATION?

      We use classic Rose Bakery Paris recipes everyday. However, our daily menu is more about Rose’s philosophy towards food.

      YOU JUGGLE BOTH THE BAKING AND THE COOKING AT ROSE BAKERY WHICH IS AMAZING – PASSIONATE ABOUT ONE OVER THE OTHER?

      Pastry has been my passion for the past 16 years but I never had a sweet tooth. Cooking vegetables has become fascinating to me. I’ve spent the past year studying more about cooking vegetables. It’s kind of funny for a meat eater from Oklahoma.

      WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO YOU BECOME A CHEF AND WHAT WAS THE GENESIS TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

      My parents were fascinated with art and my father was a jeweler. I grew up naturally in a creative home. We traveled to New Mexico and I always had a palmier at the French Pastry Shop in Santa Fe. This was the beginning of my fascination of pastry.

      PLEASE SHARE HOW TO GET MY EGGS AS CREAMY AS THE ONES YOU CREATED FOR OUR BRUNCH?  SECRET TRICK?

      The eggs for our soft scramble is achieved by constantly whisking the eggs in a saucier. Once they congeal they’re done. There’s no need to over cook them. It’s really quite simple. Oh, and of course a bit of butter.

      HOLY FUN – POURING THE CHOCOLATE ONTO THE METAL SURFACE.  CAN YOU BREAK DOWN THE TEMPERING PROCESS IN LAYMAN’S TERMS?

      Tempering chocolate is both simple and difficult at the same time. As with anything on pastry, temperature is extremely important. The easiest way to describe it is heating the chocolate over a double boiler to about 130*F.  Then pour it on a marble table and move it around until it cools down to about 83*F. Then it needs to be heated again to 88*F.  It seems like a lot of work but the result is dramatic. It has a better snap, shine and longer shelf life.

      ANY TRIED AND TRUE KITCHEN TRICK FOR HOME CHEFS TO IMPROVE THEIR BAKING?

      When baking at home the most important thing to know is to relax and be patient. Too many people try to rush it and that’s when they encounter problems. Trust me on this one. You’re soufflé doesn’t want to be stressed out either.

Lemon, Rice, and Polenta Cake

Rose Carrarini

  • Ingredients

    • Serves 8

      • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
      • 2 1/4 cups caster/superfine sugar
      • grated zest of 4 lemons
      • juice of 1 lemon
      • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
      • 6 eggs
      • 5 1/2 cups ground almonds
      • 2 cups polenta
      • 1/2 cup rice or corn flour
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • icing (confectioners) sugar, to decorate
  • The Prep

      • Preheat the oven to 325 F
      • Butter eight individual tins and line the bases with parchment paper.
      • Beat the butter and caster sugar till they are very light and creamy, and add the lemon zest and juice and the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition.
      • Mix together the ground almonds, polenta, rice/maize flour, baking powder and slat and fold into the mixture.
      • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in the centre of one the cakes comes out clean.
      • Remove from the oven and cool the cakes in their tins before taking them out.
      • Sift some icing sugar over the cakes.

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