Category Archives: Sweet

[RECIPE] Wake-Up Call: Capturing the Hidden Creativity of Our Morning Persons

At 8:00 a.m. last Thursday morning, busser, porter and now receiver Chris Caballero was commanding his new post as deliveries trickled in.  He paused for a coffee break — a hospitable one, to cue up two cappuccinos for photographer Catalina Ayubi and I.  It was an early morning for us, but not for Chris nor the pastry department. Hours aren’t the most forgiving in this business, and it’s no more apparent than the hours bakers keep.  The 6:00 a.m. call time is just the morning routine, and on some days, part of the allure of this line of work. It’s when Kelly Russell, executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s assistant at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, puts together her prep list for the day.

Kelly and our beloved workhorse, the Hobart mixer.

Kelly and our beloved workhorse, the Hobart mixer.

“Monday is ice cream and sorbet day, a big day for prep,” Kelly says. “The weekend is busy, especially with Sunday brunch. We place our orders then. Chocolate and nuts that we buy in bulk. We can buy produce any day of the week except Sunday.  Orders come every Monday and Thursday. Two people come in every morning, with one pastry plater for dinner service and two at night on the weekends.”   Is your head spinning yet?

My caffeine hadn’t kicked in, and but the team was trucking, staffed up, in the throws of two recipes already, and simultaneously explaining all of this to me.  We were at the flagship to capture its creativity in these now not so wee hours.  Chef de cuisine Niven Patel and his crew were there, foraging for spices, mise’ing the country pate and marinating pork for patties on the day’s lunch special salad.  But our sites were set on the Hobart and the Doyon, oft doubling for savory applications such as roasting porchetta, but at this particular moment sweet.

Kelly giggles at Niven in his happy place, the spice corner.

Kelly giggles at Niven in his happy place, the spice corner.

Kelly was making sheet pans of sour cream coffee cake, a classic layered breakfast pasty that hits all the right notes — nutty, sweet and just-a-touch-salty in the streusel crumble. The occasion is CreativeMornings, which I like to say are the TEDx talks of the creative world, a morning speaker series on a new topic each month simultaneously presented in each of the organization’s myriad chapters across the globe by a special guest.  It attracts intellectuals, cultural subversives, curious cats, social entrepreneurs, artists, designers both in the audience and on stage and is the best exercise for the mind that I’ve ever encountered pre-10:00 a.m.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m., you eat (where Hedy’s coffee cake comes in,) you listen (where Camila Ramos of Panther Coffee comes in,) and you are in the office in a timely fashion ready to claim the day.

The second we heard of this brilliant event from Michael’s new assistant and my partner in crime Jessica Gross, it was time to take Miami host Malik Benjamin out to a proper Michael’s Genuine lunch. We were hungry for more and wanted to get involved, in ways more than making sure folks left belly full.  The light bulb eventually went off.  Panther Coffee was the missing link.  I pitched, and they bit.  It was a no-brainer brainer, and thanks to the support of owners Joel and Leticia Pollock, we secured the lovely and talented head barista and store manager Camila Ramos to present her Hidden Sources, not only of beans but of her passion for them.  [Look for her her complete and utterly mesmerizing  talk which took place this past Friday to be posted here, shortly!]

The recipe below, straight from the pages of Hedy’s Baking Out Loud cookbook, takes the classic sour cream coffee cake we make last week to the next level with coffee and chocolate in the topping.   Have a creative morning at home and bake one fresh for yourself, to share with friends, or as the happiest wake-up call I can think of… baking smells! Wait, where is that iPhone App, because I want it?!  A set of Cat’s images from our own creative morning at HQ are accessible at this link. Follow Creative Mornings @creativemorningsmia on Instagram and Twitter for the latest talks and links to sign up to attend.


Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Recipe from Baking Out Loud by Hedy Goldsmith

Serves 12

For the streusel
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona Caraïbe 66%), chopped into ½-inch pieces
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (preferably Saigon, see note below)
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
For the cake
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1. To make the streusel, combine the brown sugar, walnuts, chocolate, cinnamon, and ground espresso in a small bowl, and stir until well blended.

2. T o make the cake, position an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F (325°F if using a convection oven). Line the bottom and sides of a 10-cup loaf pan with foil and grease it lightly (preferably with Pam).

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

4. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about
3 minutes, until soft and smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the sour cream and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

5. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Evenly distribute half of the streusel mixture over the batter. Then spoon the remaining batter evenly over the streusel, and spread it evenly. Scatter the remaining streusel evenly over the top.

6. Bake for 68 to 70 minutes (50 to 60 minutes if using a convection oven), until the topping is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Lift the cake and the foil liner from the pan, peel away the foil, and return the cake to the rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut the coffee cake into 1-inch-thick slices.
Note: Saigon cinnamon contains the highest percentage of essential oil of all the varieties of ground cinnamon. It packs the most flavor, making this one the finest and most exotic of all cinnamon types.

Miami’s Spring Snowfall: Putting the Lime in the Coconut at The Cypress Room

No surprise when I say
That my favoritest day
Is when Hedy says “Hey,
We have new sweets today!”

Now folks… the Coconut dish takes the Cake.
But the Blood Orange Tart is so smart and delicious
And tangy and zippy and almost nutritious
(With thanks to the citrus) that all of my wishes
Are not for a steak, but for Hedy to bake
Up a car-full of treats – all to-go, I would take!

~ M.

Manager Marty McCartt is moved to verse often at The Cypress Room.  And it’s no surprise why, especially where dessert is concerned.

In our small piece of the tropics, a backyard harvest can define a Miamian. At my childhood home, it’s the ginger flowers and Haden mangos that paint memories in shades of fuschia and canary yellow. For Michael, Carrie mangos in the summer and Hua Moa plantains in the winter have cropped up, the sweetest currency among friends and family. Last week Hedy Goldsmith gathered the eight large, ripe coconuts fallen from trees outside the Coral Gables home she has shared with wife Heidi Ladell for 14 years.

“I love coconut anything. As a kid every year for my birthday, I had a coconut cake,” she explains.  “It has a profound effect on me. In Baking Out Loud  I mention that coconut cream pie should be the new birthday cake.”

The Cypress Room’s dessert menu changed yesterday, speaking of Hedy’s deeply rooted love of coconut and to our unique and nuanced seasonal rhythms here in Miami, sometimes only detectable by its native sons and daughters.

TCR_DessertMenu_8-4.5x5.5_Final[1]COCONUT CAKE combines white chocolate crémeaux, pineapple, liquorice and lime ice. This cake is beyond moist, with big, buttery flavors. Coconut oil is used to add flavor and reinforce the tropical note, adding a luxurious je ne c’est qua. The crémeaux isn’t your typical egg | cream | sugar pastry crème.  Instead, it’s a rich whip of fresh white chocolate, crème fraiche, coconut milk and Greek yogurt.  Perhaps my favorite part of the plate is the shaved pineapple that has been macerated in vanilla lemongrass syrup and black pepper, topped with delicate shards of homemade black liquorice that play as a counterpoint to the richness of the dessert. Not an anise bomb, just bringing all the flavors on the plate together. Lime ice brightens from sultry to sunny.

IMG_5657It’s no secret Hedy’s heart beats for citrus, and March in Miami is all about Indian River’s finest. For BLOOD ORANGE TART, she builds a salad of Florida citrus segments including minneola, grapefruit and blood orange and topped with shimmering basil gelee and micro herbs. Set to the side, a champagne vinegar meringue to offer dimension, cutting the sweetness but giving a creamy toasty note to complete the dessert.  You may recall Hedy’s buttery tart dough, with a bit of vinegar for flakiness appearing in the Chess Pie on the restaurant’s opening dessert menu of March 2013.  Its filling is now made with lots of sweet-tart blood orange juice, eggs, sugar, butter and buttermilk.

And, our favorite question has many answers per usual. What to drink?  One of Hedy’s favorites to sip, Montanaro’s Liquore di Camomilla, was part of the line up.  With COCONUT CAKE, its cousin Grappa di Arneis did the trick.  Counterintuitive, perhaps, but the intense, leafy and fruity perfume and delicate, dry flavor of this classic, white Grappa from Piemonte is a match for tropical notes.  For BLOOD ORANGE TART, The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director Eric Larkee went straight to the bitter orange liquors, all of them in fact.

“So here are all of our bitter orange liqueurs,” he began.  “We have the Grand Mariner, the Clement Creole Shrubb, the Dry Curaçao, the Mandarin Napoleon and Salerno.”

“That’s blood orange,” Hedy notes. “I’m thinking Campari, but then again I’m always thinking Campari with citrus.”

Chenin Blanc Larkee_dessert“There is part of me that is thinking Salerno and a cube,” Eric continues. “The crust is so buttery and it’s really well balanced. I don’t know why I was scared of the citric acid (laughs.)  What bitters do you have?”

Eric prepares a rocks glass with Dry Curaçao, an ice sphere and Fee Bros. orange bitters.

“I think we may have a winner here.  I think this is lovely,” Hedy says. “Wow, the ice cube really opened it up. Yum. There’s just something about this. The label, the bottle shape, that I just keep getting drawn to.”

“Yes, it’s very Cypress.”

Birds of a Feather

Happy Thanksgiving!  While our restaurants in the Design District are closed today, the work doesn’t stop for our genuine extended family.  Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh is open for business and has a delicious line up for dinner with an “Extra Large” special, thanks to gorgeous heritage turkeys from Farmer Dale Volkert.  Up in Ocoee, Florida, it’s 56° F right now and his Lake Meadow Naturals flock is likely bundled up in the barn today after a brisk morning walk through the farm’s chilly dew-dropped pasture with their four legged friends. For Dale, thoughts of Turkey Day began long ago.

“We’re down to our last 3 live turkeys for sale and 2 of those are spoken for and down to a handful of processed ones,” Dale explains. “We raised both Midget whites and royal palms this year, we stopped raising the burbon reds as people did not like the little brown feathers that escaped the processing plant so we chose white birds.”

The Royal Palm breeders pictured above are behind the farm store, and they will start laying in January for his 2014 turkeys which start to hatch in February.  Next year the mix will be 70% midget whites and 30% royal palms.   As you might expect, heritage breeds do not get as big as commercial ones.

“What really amazes me as so many of the birds you see at the store at cheap prices are 7 to 15 % salt solution,” Dale continues.  “Our turkeys are just that. Turkey!  We think the Chef should start with a perfectly clean food to create their masterpices without added solutions of who knows what. We both know that Michael would never start with something added other than what nature intended.”

Birds of a feather flock together.

As for Dale’s bread and butter – eggs – the new egg grader that arrived last Thanksgiving has been wonderful for his farm’s productivity. In addition to washing and candling, of course they still hand pack all their eggs to insure best product.

“Our newest addition of farm partners is Roger and Peggy from Harvest Moon, just a mile away from us,” Dale shares.  “They raise broilers for us, duck eggs and also just had 40 baby goats the past few weeks one momma with 4 babies. Their regular farm business is produce but have space to raise some extra animals for us.”

There’s also a shiny new Massey tractor. Dale’s dad bought his first Massey 44 tractor on his birthday “more years ago than I care to think about,” he says. They needed a bigger one to handle the duties on the farm so this is in his honor and memory.

Have a delicious day with your family and friends, whether it is latkes or Turkey (or in our case both!), and we will be back on the mainland tomorrow ready to serve you.  This holiday, we give thanks for our flock…. you!