My earliest happy memories rose in the kitchen. Standing on a chair by my bubie’s side, I watched her break eggs, fold with a spatula, operate her Mixmaster, spread, roll and knead and dip a little finger in to taste. My bubie’s been gone for forty-five years, but she gave me an unshakable love for warm, sweet, salty, yeasty, soft, crunchy, aromatic, handmade food.
I have grown up as Bubie’s Little Baker. Whatever kitchen I was in, I tried to recreate – with mixer and mortar and pestle – her edible love.
When you make virtually every recipe from a chef’s cookbook, you’re learning their techniques and tastes. You’re also learning about the person.
The Dorie Greenspan I’ve come to know is so accomplished her skill is ingrained in her touch. Is the dough sticky or does it pull away from the bowl? Does the batter ribbon? Is the dough chilled enough to roll? She is decisive but leaves room to haggle. Plums are preferred, but if apricots are in season change the spices accordingly. As nice as it is to get to the eating, it’s equally important to set the table with a complementary cup of tea or coffee. Earl Grey or espresso?
The most important lesson I am taking away is that baking is not just dessert but a course of equal importance to the rest of the meal. I saw this in my bubie’s hands as she carefully portioned her pinwheels. I understand this now as an adult through Dorie’s skillful, precise teaching and her intimate stories of baking from her home to mine.
I’ll always be Bubie’s Little Baker, but today I’m also Dorie’s Little Baker. Thank you Dorie Greenspan for this wonderful experience!
It’s fitting that we end with the delicious childhood combination of peanut butter and jam. I’ve made this recipe before and will make it again. And again. Today I have used three homemade jams – apricot, strawberry and grape jelly.
Please stop by Dorie’s blog to read her post about our baking group, get the recipe and say thanks for her hard work in writing this important baking cookbook.
Also, a heartfelt thanks to Laurie and Julie and everyone who has organized and managed and kept going the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group. If you haven't been to the Tuesdays With Dorie website, please drop in and say hi and maybe stay for the next round of baking. Starting in February, we will take on Dorie Greenspan's Baking With Julia. I hope you'll join us!