Pisco Sour


Last year, my husband and I took a major trip through Central and South American countries. It had been our dream to visit Machu Piccu In Peru and we finally did.

After getting to Cusco right in time for lunch, I was handed my first Pisco sour. After one sip, I handed it off to my husband, who loves strong drinks.

So after that experience, I didn’t seek them out. At least I’d had a respectful sip!

Pisco is a clear brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit. It reminds me of grappa, which you won’t be surprised that I also don’t like.

Peru and Chile both claim the pisco sour as their national drink. Ironically, the most pisco sours offered to us were in Brazil. Here is the staff making pisco sours in Rio de Janeiro, at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in town.

But then, when visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue, I was a bit parched (honestly, it was hot hot hot) and I ordered a pisco sour. And it was fabulous! Totally different. Look at all those limes! Unfortunately I never found another one like it.

Pisco Capel is the variety I can purchase where I live. Here is a nice description of it from Market View Liquor’s website:

There’s a story, that when Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, drank a pisco sour in Valparaiso, Chile, he supposedly said, “That’s good, but… next time I’ll have a beer.”

Pisco Sour
Makes 2 drinks

4 ounces Capel Pisco
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 egg whites
4 drops Angostura Bitters, regular flavor

I used my handy dandy electric citrus juicer to squeeze the limes, plus more, cause freshly squeezed lime juice really comes in handy.

Place all ingredients in a blender jar or shaker jar. Blend until smooth and foamy. Pour in to glasses neat, or glasses with ice, if you prefer.

Serve immediately.

If you don’t want your pisco sours on ice, make sure all of the important ingredients are chilled first.

I actually really liked this ratio of ingredients. I wouldn’t want the drink any sweeter, stronger, or more tart.

Moro’s Yogurt Cake


It’s not often when I go to the same restaurant more than once. I’m usually done, and ready to move on to the next! Like my motto – so many restaurants, so little time!

One exception was Moro, in London. I’ve been three times – once was a special celebration for my daughter’s second master’s degree, this one from Sotheby’s (please allow me a little bit of boasting).

Moro is a busy, bustling restaurant in Clerkenwell. The cuisine is North African, so you can just imagine the offerings of courses representing Morocco, Spain, Egypt, and on through the Middle East, but generally referred to as Moorish in origin.

The Moro concept was started by the husband and wife team of Samantha and Samuel Clark, who were inspired by their travels to those regions.

I have so many different food photos from my dining experiences at Moro; I will share a few. The food is vibrant, flavorful, spectacular.

A few of us on that celebratory night ordered A signature dessert to share – Yoghurt Cake with Pistachios and Pomegranate, photographed below.


I can’t recreate that dining experience at Moro with my daughter, but I can make the cake!
Here it is:

Yoghurt Cake with Pistachios and Pomegranate
Adapted from recipe found online*

3 eggs, separated
70 g or 2 1/2 ounces white sugar
Seeds from 2 vanilla pods
350 g or 12 ounces yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 small orange
20 g or approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, sifted
30 g or 1 ounce pistachios, roughly chopped
Handful of pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or 180 degrees Centigrade.

I used a deep-dish pie pan for this dessert, and brushed it with butter lightly.

Find a deep-sided baking tray that will fit the cake tin and you can use as a bain marie.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 50 g of the sugar (I removed about 1 tablespoon for the egg whites) until thickened and pale.

Stir in the vanilla seeds, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and flour; mix well.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks, then add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk for a moment until the whitesbecome glossy.
Gently fold the egg whites into the yogurt mix, then pour into the pie pan and place it inside the baking tray.

Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour the water around the pie pan until it reaches halfway up the sides. Place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle over the pistachios, then bake for another 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Remove from the water immediately.

Eat warm or at room temperature. The consistency should be a light sponge with custard underneath.
Sprinkle the cake with pomegranate seeds and serve with a drizzle of yogurt.
Alternatively, I used a small dollop of marscapone.
It was May when we shared this yoghurt cake at Moro. But what a perfect holiday dessert this is! All that red and green!
The cake isn’t the prettiest desert; it looks like a pile of pudding on the plate. But you won’t care once you taste it!
If you’ve had trouble in the past opening pomegranates, I learned my favorite technique from the blog Chica Andaluza. Her technique worked perfectly!
* This recipe is in the original Moro cookbook.

Forgotten Pudding


This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, but not from a cookbook that I know of… I printed it, so perhaps it’s from her blog?

The reason I wanted to make it again, and also post on it, because it’s so unique.

Here’s a quote:

“There is a wonderful poetry to the name of this dessert which, thankfully, once eaten could never be forgotten. It’s an old, old recipe popularly exhumed – I believe by the late, great Richard Sax. Think of it as a kind of marshmallow-based pavlova. That’s to say, you whip the egg whites as if making meringue, spread on a jelly roll pan, and put in an oven which you immediately switch off, leaving the pudding to cook overnight – hence, “forgotten.”

So that pretty much explains it. I own one book by Richard Sax; if I were more of a baker, I’d own more. His book is an incredible reference.


I had ten egg whites leftover from when I made creme fraiche ice cream, which used only yolks. So I knew I couldn’t waste them.

Typically meringues or a pavlova come to mind when one has leftover egg whites, but I’m so glad I remembered this recipe, and you will be too, if you’ve never made it before!

Forgotten Pudding
adapted from Nigella Lawson

6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
White sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Generously butter a jelly roll pan.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl, and have your electric mixer handy, as well as the sugar and vanilla.
Begin whipping the egg whites. Once they’re foamy, begin gradually adding the sugar. There are no pictures of me doing this, or adding the vanilla, as I don’t have three hands.

The egg white will become more foamy.
Then they will become more thick and opaque.

Keep whipping on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.

Pour the meringue into the jelly roll pan, and immediately spread it out evenly, filling the corners, and smoothing the top as best you can.


Place the pan in the oven.

Close the oven door, then immediately turn off the oven. Do not open the oven door until the next day. I prepared my forgotten pudding approximately 10 hours after putting it in the oven.
Toss your choice of berries with a little sugar and let them macerate for a bit. I used superfine sugar.
Right before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Place the cake on a serving platter, and cover the cake with the whipped cream. I did mine individually.
Then top with the berries. Slice the cake into 12 servings.

The forgotten pudding ends up like a meringue that you left out at room temperature for a few days. It’s sticky but soft. There’s no real crunch to it.

In the original recipe, Nigella also used passion fruit, but I couldn’t get my hands on any.

By the way, I looked at Nigella’s blog, and there was the recipe. So here is the link for the original forgotten pudding!

Lemon Pudding Cake


Rarely have I made dessert for my family, unless it’s a special occasion. I have nothing against desserts, but to me, they’re not part of a daily meal plan. I believe everyday food should be nourishing, so I save cakes and pies for celebrations.

However, when I was a private cook for a family, I made a lot of desserts. These desserts weren’t necessarily fancy; my people just felt like a meal wasn’t complete without dessert. So that’s when I bought a lot of dessert cookbooks.

Before I owned the book Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax, I’d never heard of a pudding cake. But after I made one, I was hooked.

What is it you might ask? Well, it is a pudding-y cake. That probably doesn’t help much. You prepare a cake batter that is very thin and cook it in a bain marie. I’ve also made some pudding cakes where the recipe states that you pour boiling water into the batter before baking.

Now a pudding cake isn’t something I’d prepare for a fancy meal, because it’s essentially a softer gooeyer version of a brownie. It’s pretty enough, but more preferable for a casual get together or late night snack. Trust me. I’ve made a chocolate pudding cake….

So here’s Richard Sax’s recipe. And by the way, although this book was published in 1994, it is so full of fascinating information from the author who was definitely an authority on desserts. I just discovered that a newer version, complete with a James Beard award, was printed in 2001.

Lemon Pudding Cake
serves 4

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with a rack in the center. Butter a 1-to 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch oval gratin dish or an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.


In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice; pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until blended.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high-high speed until they form soft peaks. Fold a little of the egg whites into the lemon mixture; gently fold in the remainder.

Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Place the baking dish in a slightly larger roasting pan; set on the center rack of the oven. Pour in enough hot tap water to reach about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.


Bake until the surface of the pudding is lightly golden, about 35 minutes. (The bottom layer will still be quite liquid.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.


Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.


You can tell how tender this cake is, and see the pudding-like layer on the bottom.


I serve this pudding cake with a few blackberries and some powdered sugar. It would definitely benefit from some slightly sweetened whipped cream as well.


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Oeufs à la Neige


My mother visited my husband and I once in 1982 after we moved to Houston, Texas. We had made dinner reservations at a well-known French restaurant in order to treat her to a fine dining experience during her stay, even though it was very expensive for us back then.

The first part of the dinner is a big blur, and not just because it was so long ago or I drank too much. It’s because a giant cockroach appeared on the wall behind my mother. Being new to Houston, I was still not well acquainted with these monsters people referred to as Tree Roaches. Unfortunately my eyes must have revealed too much, because my mother turned around and saw the darn thing, right before it took flight over her head. So I think that a huge part of the meal was more about assuaging my mother that these creatures lived in south Texas, and we all need to co-exist. (Of course, I was downright mortified, not being a fan of creepy crawlies.)

My mother didn’t especially love the dinner or the waiter, and she never embraced the cockroach. But we wanted the dinner to end on a high note, so we all three ordered Oeufs à la Neige.

My husband and I were in dessert heaven – this fabulous crème Anglaise topped with soft egg white clouds – an unbelievable dessert.

My mother hated it. She announced that she would make it for us the right way. And the next day, that’s just what she did.

I didn’t think this dessert could be better than at the restaurant, but it was oh, so much better. I don’t remember why it was so much better, but it just was.

So in posting this recipe I hope I am doing justice to my mother and the real Oeufs à la Neige, the way it is meant to be.

Oeufs à la Neige

4 cups whole milk, approximately
6 large, fresh eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar, divided into 3/4, 1/4, and 1/4 cups
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pour three cups of milk into a large, wide saucepan. Begin heating the milk over fairly low heat; you don’t need it to boil.

Place the six egg whites in a large bowl. Beat the whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Then add 3/4 cup of sugar a little at a time, along with a pinch of salt. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.


Make sure the milk in the saucepan in hot before you begin making the meringues. Then, using two large spoons, form quenelle-shaped blobs, or egg-shaped blobs of meringue and place them on top of the hot milk. As you can tell in the photo, mine are neither quenelle- or egg-shaped. They are simply blobs and that’s fine. And, they should preferably not touch.


Cook the meringues about 2 minutes, then gently turn them over and cook them another 2 minutes. Then carefully remove them from the milk and place them on paper towels to drain.


Continue until you’ve used up all of the meringue. Strain out any large blobs of meringue that are visible in the milk. Then add about 1 cup more of milk to the saucepan; there should be about 3 cups all together. I just eyeballed it, but if you prefer, strain the milk, measure it, and add the exact amount more to make a total of three cups.

Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat, and whisk in 1/4 cup sugar until it dissolves. Now you have the sweetened, hot milk, and your bowl of egg yolks.


Using the electric mixer with the same beaters, whisk the egg yolks until they’re smooth. Slowly introduce some of the hot milk to the yolks, mixing it in quickly so the eggs don’t cook in the hot milk. Just be slow and patient. You’ll probably use about 1 cup of milk by the time this process is complete. At that point, return the egg yolk and milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine.

This next step requires that you have everything ready to go – a large serving bowl topped with a strainer, a whisk, a spoon, and a rubber spatula. Over fairly low heat, cook the custard, whisking all the time, just until the point that you can tell it thickened up. Use your spoon to quickly dip it into the custard, then draw a line with your finger down the middle of the spoon. If the sides stay separate, the custard is perfect!!!


Whisk in the vanilla extract, then immediately pour the custard through the strainer and into the serving bowl. Use your rubber spatula to get the custard out of the saucepan, but if you see cooked custard on the bottom, leave it alone. If you’ve done a good job, there will be no blobs of overcooked custard in your strainer!


If you’re going to be serving the custard fairly warm (it’s also good cold), let the custard cool a bit. Then gently top the custard gently with the meringues.


Some people serve Oeufs à la Neige just like this, but I like to go a little step further and add caramel. If you have some purchased caramel, feel free to drizzle a little over each serving, maybe thinned a bit if necessary.

However, I just made my caramel by melting the final 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let the sugar slowly melt into caramel. This is the same process as when you make Crème Caramel.


Then just drizzle the hot caramel over the top of the meringues. I’m not that artistic, so this is the best I could do!


This kind of caramel will harden, so it adds a little interest to the dessert, as well.


Note: You could also scrape out seeds from vanilla beans for the vanilla flavor. I just didn’t wanted the custard speckled today, and I am out of vanilla beans. There’s also vanilla paste and vanilla powder, if you prefer those to the vanilla extract.

Verdict: This couldn’t have tasted better, I don’t think. The poached meringues were delicate and delicious. The crème Anglaise was perfectly smooth, with a subtle taste of vanilla. Even my husband had some. Then I threw it all away. Still fighting the Christmas pounds!