'Guest Star' on Serious Eats

'Maida's Big Apple Pie' from Nick Malgieri

Once when visiting Maida in Miami Beach we fell to talking about pies. "They're the hardest thing of any to get right, don't you think?" Maida asked me. True perfectionist that she is, Maida meant that to get the pastry dough to a golden flakiness and the filling to just the right stage between runny and set required a lot of work. She then told me that a young friend had just asked her to teach her to make an apple pie, and that she had thought about it for a while and decided to make a big free-standing pastry that partially enclosed a cinnamon and brown sugar-scented cooked apple filling. This pie is inspired by hers. More

Maida's Big Apple Pie

This big free-standing pastry partially encloses a cinnamon and brown sugar-scented cooked apple filling. It's great for a crowd—in fact, it's perfect for Thanksgiving if you have a lot of people over. Best of all, it's baked on a big round pizza pan or cookie sheet, so you don't need any special equipment. More

Nick Malgieri's Sicilian Fig Bars

Although fig bars are standard American fare, fig-filled cookies are also very traditional in Sicily, where they are called cucidati. I've decided to merge the two and make a fig bar that is shaped like the industrially-made one, but has some typical Sicilian seasonings in it for extra flavor. More

Sicilian Fig Bars

Although fig bars are standard American fare, fig-filled cookies are also very traditional in Sicily, where they are called cucidati. I've decided to merge the two and make a fig bar that is shaped like the industrially-made one, but has some typical Sicilian seasonings in it for extra flavor. More

Nick Malgieri's Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

This intriguing recipe comes from my friend Fritz Blank, chef-owner of the now-defunct Deux Cheminées, one of Philadelphia's loveliest restaurants. I like to use pure or light (rather than extra virgin) olive oil to prepare it. This is a great dessert to make if you're expecting a crowd; it makes 2 cakes with one batter that's easily mixed. The best part is that they can be made days in advance, wrapped, and frozen, so you don't have to fuss any more than defrosting the cakes and making some whipped cream before you serve them. More

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

This is a great dessert to make if you're expecting a crowd; it makes 2 cakes with one batter that's easily mixed. The best part is that they can be made days in advance, wrapped, and frozen, so you don't have to fuss any more than defrosting the cakes and making some whipped cream before you serve them. More

Chocolate-Buckwheat-Almond Cake

Pairing buckwheat with chocolate may seem odd until you try it. Both are smoky, earthy, velvety and strong, making them perfectly suited for the others' company. I like to have a gluten-free chocolate option in my repertoire that's not the clichéd torte, which can be too heavy for a lot of occasions. This cake is also great for laid-back Passover Seders. (But don't make the mistake I did of trying it out on the more Orthodox side of my family.) More

Lemon Seed Cake

Lemon seed cake will keep, wrapped well, refrigerated for up to 10 days. I like it best the next day because its flavors tend to marry and the cake moistens, but who can say no to a slice of just-baked cake with sticky glaze? More

Shuna Lydon's Hojicha-Burnt Honey Ice Cream

It seems odd to say that one of my favorite aspects of this ice cream is its bitterness—its 1-2 punch of double bitterness created by the burning of the honey and the long steeping of a tannic roasted tea—but it's true. Somehow by being a ridiculously smooth and silky butterfat-enveloped ice cream it all calms in your mouth. My First Assistant sums it up by saying it tastes of bubble tea without the large black tapioca pearls. Whichever way you spin it, it's a delicious ice cream flavor you can't stop eating once you start. And it's refined-sugar free. Sugar refined by humans, that is. More

Shuna Lydon's Blueberry, Juniper, and Cornmeal Drop Scones

I have a thing for foresty flavors. If a tea is described as mossy; if pine needles are infused into a custard; if gnomes built their homes and hung their tall red felt hats there, I'm in. While making a California Bay Laurel leaf pastry cream and blueberry compote for a filled doughnut, I discovered the blueberry's affinity with piney flavors. At Peels, where I'm the pastry chef, we offer seasonal herb, fruit and vegetable monthly-changing sweet and savory scones. Cornmeal offers great textural juxtaposition, as well as an obvious seasonal pairing. On the East Coast there's no better berry to dedicate late summer bakery offerings to than our prized blueberries. More

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