If you have ever dreamt of cooking like some of the world’s most highly regarded Chefs, now is the time. Many famed Chefs and restaurants are publishing their most coveted dishes during COVID’s shelter in place and we’re listing our three favorites that we’ve cooked and loved. La Mercerie’s Hot Cross Buns, Carbone’s Meatballs, and Milk Bar’s pie (formerly known as Crack Pie). Bon Appetit!
La Mercerie’s Hot Cross Buns
La Mercerie is the epitome of elegance and class and these hot cross buns are no exception.
25g Triple sec
½ each Lemon Zest
55g Golden Raisins
30g Dried Currants
14g Active Dry Yeast
2 Whole Eggs
455g Bread Flour
2.5 tsp Salt
½ tsp Ginger
¼ tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Cloves
Combine the water, sugar, triple sec and lemon zest – bring to a simmer. Pour over the raisins and currents – set aside to soak. Warm the milk to room temp then stir in the yeast. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Combine the flour, salt, all spices and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk-yeast mix, the melted butter, and both eggs. Mix together until a shaggy dough is formed. Turn out onto a flour-dusted countertop and knead four about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Knead in the rehydrated currents and raisins. Move the dough to an oiled bowl and let proof for about an hour or until the dough is double in volume.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into boules – arrange them on a baking tray with about 1.5 inches in between. Let the dough proof again for about 45 minutes or until the boules are doubled in size and just barely touching. Make a paste with flour and water and use a spoon to shape a cross on each bun.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown – Pull from the oven and glaze with honey.
Best Meatballs Ever!
Yields: 24 Meatballs
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 Yellow onion, diced
Salt TT (to taste)
2 Cups sturdy white bread, crusts mainly removed, cut into 1/4" cubes- stale bread is great
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound ground veal
2 whole eggs
1 + 1/4 pound piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more to garnish
¼ cups olive oil
2 cloves garlic
a few stalks fresh basil
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes- Carbone uses Jersey Fresh brand tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
For the Meatballs
Heat the oven to 300° F.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. After a minute, sweat the garlic until aromatic and almost softened, around 1 minute. Add the parsley, onions, and a large pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
Make the Panade: Combine the bread and milk in a large bowl and toss. When the bread is completely saturated and softened, mush it together with your hands. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, sausage, veal, eggs, onions, garlic, parmesan, a pinch of salt, and the Panade. Mix, using your hands, until evenly combined. Portion into 3 1/2 ounce meatballs.
Heat a wide skillet over high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with the neutral oil, and heat until shimmering. Working in batches, sear the meatballs until deeply brown on all sides, around 3 to 5 minutes per, making sure not to crowd the pan. Reserve the browned meatballs in a roasting pan.
Top the meatballs with the tomato sauce and slide the pan in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are just cooked through. Reserve, warm, until ready to serve. Serve meatballs three to a plate, garnished with a large spoonful or sauce, a drizzle of oil, and an additional sprinkling of cheese.
Combine oil, garlic and basil in a very small saucepot and warm over medium heat. After 3 to 4 minutes, when the edges of the garlic start to bubble and the aroma of basil is strong, remove the pot from the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat and cool.
Strain the garlic-basil oil into the tomatoes, stir, and use or store as desired.
Milk Bar Pie (formerly Crack Pie)
This impossible-to-put-down fan favorite filled with gooey buttery goodness and delivered straight to your mouth in a hearty, toasted oat crust will have you coming back for more.
YIELDS: Makes enough for 2 (10-inch) Milk Bar Pies
OAT COOKIE RECIPE
8 tbs butter, at room temp
1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/8 tsp baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
Heat the oven to 350°f.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan and, with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan; this is ok.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. Cool completely before using. Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.
MILK BAR PIE® FILLING
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk powder
1/4 cup corn powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 tbs butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks** it will be the death of the pie if there is any bit of egg white in mix.
You must use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make this filling. It only takes a minute, but it makes all the difference in the homogenization and smooth, silky final product. I repeat: A hand whisk and a bowl or a granny hand mixer will not produce the same results. Also, keep the mixer on low speed through the entire mixing process. If you try to mix the filling on higher speed, you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey-the essence of Milk Bar Pie.
Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended..
Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogeneous. Mix on low speed until it is.
Use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
1 recipe oat cookie
15 g (1 tbs tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
1 recipe Milk Bar Pie® filling
Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
Heat the oven to 350°f.
Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1½ tablespoons butter and knead it in.
Divide the oat crust evenly between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Put both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the Milk Bar Pie® filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°f. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reaches 325°f, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Gently take the pan of Milk Bar Pies out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.) then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed Milk Bar Pie.
Serve your Milk Bar Pie cold! Decorate your pie(s) with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.