I'll have what she's having
I'VE never been to New York City, so my only knowledge of dining there comes from TV and the movies. The fictitious Central Perk coffee shop from Friends, the diner from Seinfeld (and the famous black and white cookie), Gray's Papaya hotdogs from You've Got Mail and, of course, the iconic scene featuring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal at Katz Deli in When Harry Met Sally.
All memorable moments from a city renowned for its wonderful food, food I am yet to experience. But Yasmin Newman has done what I only dream of doing - she's sampled the sweetest treats NYC has to offer.
A food and travel writer, photographer and presenter based in Sydney, Yasmin shares her culinary adventures with us in The Desserts of New York. Part travel journal and part cookbook, it's filled with an amazing selection of recipes that will have any self-respecting dessert lover drooling for days.
Nutella and burnt marshmallow thickshakes, chocolate crack pie, French toast ice-cream sandwiches, giant snickerdoodles, oatmeal cookie shots, and black sesame cream puffs - these are just some of the recipes you can whip up to bring a bit of NYC deliciousness into your home.
Yasmin devoted three months to this food adventure (that's dessert dedication!) and includes an extensive guide to New York neighbourhoods in her book so you can track down the cafes, bakeries and dessert bars that offer some of these gorgeous goodies for yourself.
S'mores baked alaska
150g dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped
125g unsalted butter, chopped
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
2 tbs almond meal
2 tbs plain flour
¼ tsp fine salt
6 large scoops coffee ice cream
115g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tbs caster sugar
55g (¼ cup, firmly packed) light brown sugar
90g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease six 150 ml ramekins and place on a baking tray.
Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
Place the eggs, sugar, almond meal, flour and salt in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined, then divide evenly among the ramekins. Bake the cakes for 13 minutes or until the tops are just cooked (the cakes will be slightly gooey in the centre). Cool completely in the ramekins, then turn out and set aside until needed.
To make the butter cookies, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a bowl.
Add the sugars and butter and, using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture clumps together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180C.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to a rough 3 mm thick, 25cm square. Transfer to a baking tray and remove the top sheet of baking paper, then bake for 8 minutes or until just golden and still soft.
Remove from the oven. While still warm, using an 8.5 cm cookie cutter (or a cutter slightly bigger than the cakes), cut out six rounds, then cool completely on the tray with the offcuts (you get to snack on these later).
8 egg whites
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
180g (½ cup) glucose syrup
To make the marshmallow meringue, place all the ingredients in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Cook, whisking, for 2 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm. Remove from the heat and, using an electric mixer, whisk for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form and the mixture is cool.
Just before serving, fill a piping bag fitted with a 9 mm plain nozzle with meringue. Divide the cookies among serving plates. If necessary, warm the chocolate cakes for 20 seconds in the microwave until just gooey in the centre but not warm, then place on top of the cookies.
Using an ice cream scoop, place a generous scoop of ice cream on one cake. Working quickly, pipe buds of meringue all over to cover the ice cream, cake and base completely. (Alternatively, use a spatula to cover them freeform.)
Repeat with the remaining cakes and meringue. Using a kitchen blowtorch, scorch the meringue, then serve immediately.
TIP: Make sure the ice cream is nice and hard or it will melt before you've finished assembling.
This is an edited extract from The Desserts Of New York by Yasmin Newman, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.99 and is available in stores nationally. Photographer: © Yasmin Newman (location) and Alicia Taylor (studio)