We are very excited to invite Marcy Goldman into the JoyofKosher kitchen. Marcy is a cookbook author, pastry chef, food journalist and writer. Since 1997, Marcy has been the editor, host and master baker behind BetterBaking.com. Marcy’s first cookbook, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, recently was published as a 10th Anniversary Edition by Whitecap Books. She has also written The New Best of Better Baking.com, A Passion for Baking with Oxmoor House and The Baker’s Four Seasons with Harper Collins is due out this fall 2011. Montreal-based, Goldman is also a frequent guest on Martha Stewart Sirius, and appears in the Washington Post, Food and Wine and is an official baking Tweeter for the New York Times.
1 What is unique and different about A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking and this 10th Anniversary Edition?
What’s different about this book? Everything! I added 35 of my very best, quintessential cooking recipes for the Jewish holidays – from Cola Brisket to deli-style knishes and my famous Paradise Charoses. It’s the basics, but done to showcase flavor. This makes the new edition a complete book – you have all the baking AND the main and side dishes. Makes it a wonderful gift book especially if you already have a copy of my first Jewish baking book – this would be the one to give your kids or friends or a new bride. This edition also has a ton of photos – all taken here in my test kitchen by a wonderful food photographer. So now you can actually SEE what my recipes look like, such as my Apple Challah, Hamantashen, Dairy Cheesecake, legendary Majestic and Moist Honey Cake.
2 What is Jewish baking?
That is a short question with an old-testament long answer. It is really where culture (not one, but a fusion), kashruth (our dietary laws), our holidays (including events spiritually shared in symbolic and tasteful foods and special dishes), meet up with Jewish creativity in the kitchen.
It is our history and culture by the slice. And moreover, it is a rich beautiful legacy we share with the world – wherever Jewish baking occurs – in homes or bakeries.
What is Jewish baking? It is the story of us, at the table. It is a glass of too-sweet red wine with dry matzoh and a prayer. It is fresh challah, newly lit Sabbath candles and sponge cake.
3 What is your favorite Jewish holiday to cook for and why?
Rosh Hashanah! After the restrictions of Passover baking and the heat of summer – finally autumn rolls around. We want to bake – use up those fresh orchard apples and new honey and celebrate. It’s a lush holiday – very sweet in harvest terms and its sentiment of sweetness in a new year.
After that? It’s Purim – you make everyone happy with hamantashen – people keel and kvell – bakers love that response! And then Shabbat – Sponge Cake, Mun Cookies and Challah are special and welcome – and you feel tradition hum along each Friday night.
4 With Passover fast approaching, how do you get your baking groove on?
I rather like the clean up – and knowing I can be inventive with only a few elements (matzoh, sugar, eggs). I like the change from regular baking – and then all it takes is one trial batch of my Caramel Matzoh Buttercrunch and I have my Passover baking groove.
5 Describe your best cooking moment as a chef?
When my kids love my food or ask me to make one of their favorites or when a friend who is equally a great baker compliments something I know they also do – and just as well – or when they tell me they make my recipes . My best moments as a chef are sometimes indistinguishable from my best moments as a nurturer. Other than that, it is the sense of artistry and accomplishment I still get from making wonderful things – and the energy and confidence that comes with the professional training.
6 Tell us about your worst kitchen disaster?
2 cups of salt in an icing recipe when I was 10 years old. As a professional chef, the disaster occurred making 30 cheesecakes in a mixer that could only do ten cakes. Then there was the time I broke the mixer of a rival chef I shared a kitchen with... requiring him to whip 40 quarts of whipped cream by hand!
7 What are your favorite ingredients?
Sweet: Butter, cinnamon, vanilla, flour, plums, apples, apricots and butter (did I already say butter?)
Savory: Butter, yeast, flour, spring water, kosher salt, lemons and garlic
8 What is your earliest memory of cooking?
Baking for my grandmother who was blind but loved everything I made (or ruined). Then baking and cooking for my family as a teenager and wait... all those Betty Crocker easy bake sets – that really started me off.
9 When you are not wearing an apron and standing behind the stove, what do you like to eat?
Anything anyone else makes and serves me! After that – a great pepper steak, amazing soups or salads, and incredibly good breads, with imported cheeses, and scalding hot coffee and cream. And giant oatmeal cookies.
10 Any tips to lighten things up during the holidays or your best baking tip?
Do things step by step. Prep the day before or bake at night. You might be tired but it’s quieter and you can focus. Make a plan and never shop for ingredients the same day you are also baking and cooking. Make a menu and do what you can ahead and serve less – less is more and you want to enjoy the holidays yourself.
11 What will be on your Seder menu this year?
Tea Infused Eggs, Beet Apple Horseradish (recipe will be in Food and Wine in April), Chicken Breasts with my special Matzoh Stuffing, Chicken Soup and for dessert – Passover Mandelbrot, Caramel Matzo Crunch, Mock Chestnut Torte and Passover Compote (I do either an oven baked cherry or dried fruits in a sweet ‘broth’ of tea, ginger ale, lemon and orange slices).
Thank you to Marcy for sharing with us a few recipes so that our Passover seder's will be as sweet as yours.
CONTEST: For a chance to win a copy of Marcy Goldman's 10th Anniversary Edition of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, leave a comment here telling us your favorite Passover dessert (that you make or eat).
Contest closes midnight March 27, open to US and Canada residents only, winner will be picked at random.