Figs, Mermaids & Lemon Bars

At the end of last month, I finally found figs in the local markets. Phew! There is a Fig Manhattan Bar recipe in cookbook #2 and it’s one of my favorites to bake at home. Despite searching for figs for the photo shoot everyday in May, this baker could not get her hands on any. Figs are seasonal, but this year was beyond challenging. New York had a long, snowy, cold winter and then a thaw, and then a violent April cold snap. Apparently, fig trees didn’t know whether to burst forth with fruit or wait.

figs These gems were a long time coming and I’m baking tonight. I will be rushing back to the photo studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn tomorrow to shoot a piece of this delicious bar. I hope the publishers will let me sneak another photo in the book.

mermaid paradeOn June 21, I did the ultimate in NYC kitsch – I went to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Some of the mermaids are bare-breasted, so this parade may not be for everyone. The crowds were unbelievable, but it still was fun to see the floats with homemade touches of brassy local color. And it’s always good to have a REAL Nathan’s hot dog, even if the wait was over 30 minutes.


Here’s an unabashed plug: if you find yourself on the west side of Manhattan on the Highline, afterwards, slip into Chelsea Market. Cull and Pistol is my go-to place for fresh lobster cooked to perfection.

lobster2In terms of ya never know who you’ll sit next to,the last time I was there, a friend and I were next to a couple from Denmark. I found out about the bridge between Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden. I plan to be on that train that traverses these Scandinavian coasts when I am in Copenhagen in early August. Will write about it for September’s blog. I can hardly wait!

And, of course, after dinner, stop in at Fat Witch Bakery – a few shops towards Ninth Avenue on the other side of the concourse from Cull and Pistol. We’re open until 9pm Mon-Sat and 8pm on Sun. Our wrapped Witches will last 5 days at room temperature and 3 weeks in your refrigerator.

We were just talked about in Japion. Here’s the link. I can’t read Japanese, so if you do, let me know what it says!

LemonBars_008Last but not least, I’m going to start posting our recipes on Pinterest. Since it’s July and lemons are nice and juicy, I’m posting my favorite lemon bar recipe. I make it all the time during the summer. We bake them for our Chelsea Market bakery also, but they often sell out before 5pm. They’re too delicate to ship, so are available in our store only.

The Witch

Butterscotch Flip Ingredients

Brownie Bottom
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unbleached flour
Pinch of salt

Top Butterscotch Layer
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Grease a 9” square baking pan with butter and dust with a little bit of flour.  Tap out the excess.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the brownie bottom, melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat.  Take off heat before completely melted and then stir until blended thoroughly.  Set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy.  Add the cooled chocolate and mix until well blended.

Measure the flour and salt and sift together directly into the chocolate mixture.  Mix gently until combined.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.  Set aside.

For the top butterscotch layer, melt the butter and set aside.  Beat the brown sugar and eggs together and add the vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add the melted butter.  Beat together.  Measure the flour, salt and baking powder and sift directly into the batter.  Mix gently until smooth.  Add the butterscotch chips, stirring in by hand.  Spread the butterscotch batter over the brownie bottom.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or only with crumbs.  The top should be a golden butterscotch color.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for at least one hour.  Cut just before serving.

Yield:  12-16 pieces