April 1, 2016

Baking with Johnny

Back in October, Twin Sista's bf gifted me celebrity pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini's book Sugar Rush. When I did an initial scan of the book to see which recipe I would first make, I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty intimidated by the recipes. Many of them called for ingredients that I don't usually have on hand: vanilla bean, malted barley syrup, Demerara sugar. And many of the recipes seemed labor intensive. But when I had a couple days off to take on baking projects, I turned to Johnny to lead the way.

I first baked his Citrus Butter Loaf Cake. While delicious, it didn't have the soft, fluffy pound cake texture I was looking for. And after all the labor of zesting and juicing citrus, I was expecting it to be OMG Amazing. Sadly, it was not.
For the second recipe, I went a more exotic route by baking his Pink Peppercorn Cookies. They were unusual in that the incorporated hard boiled egg yolks instead of raw eggs and they were garnished with floral (not spicy) pink peppercorns.
Johnny described the cookies as with a floral spice but not peppery. They were deliciously buttery. The hard boiled eggs yolks were supposed to yield a very tender dough. The cookies were soft but not unusually soft. The peppercorns, to me, tasted peppery but not spicy like Sichuan or black peppercorns and also a little citrusy but savory. Friends described them as fruity with floral overtones.
Again, these were labor intensive since I had to boil the eggs and then remove the yolks and put them through a strainer (I don't have the arm muscles for that!). 

Based on these two baking adventures, I am prematurely stating that Johnny's recipes are a bit high maintenance (especilaly for the home baker in me). But I'm not totally turned off yet: he has promising recipes for pudding and banana cupcakes! Until we meet again, Johnny.

If you're up for the adventure, check out the above links for the recipes or even purchase his baking book.

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