By Nan and Jan
Curious which tools food pros treasure the most in their gadget pantries? Jan and I are posing that question to food celebrities around the country and are reporting
back in this and future GadgetGals blogs.
Alice Medrich, known as the “first lady of chocolate,” has won more cookbook-of-the-year and best-in-baking-category awards than any other author.
She also knows a thing or two or three about cooking tools and clever tips for getting the most use from them. For instance, when it comes to making her favorite potato latkes and carrot torte, she turns to a potato
ricer to squeeze out excess moisture from the shredded veggies.
“Your potato ricer—that former darling of cooking magazines that now languishes in the back of your cupboard—is actually a
Potato Squeezer,” says Alice. It will forever change your life with latkes.”
“Here’s what to do:
Grate your potatoes as usual, with or without the onions or other veggies you are including. Scrub the dust from your ricer and fill it with as much of the
grated mixture as it will hold. Squeeze hard: actually rest the ricer against the edge of the sink and lean on it. A little leverage goes a long way: you won’t believe how much water even a small or weak person can get from a few potatoes! Dump the squeezed
stuff into a bowl and repeat until done. This is so easy (and kind of fun) that an obsessive person might be tempted to repeat the whole process a second time. Talk about dry potatoes!”
Alice says that same potato ricer makes easy work of squeezing shredded carrots dry to make her carrot torte. Again, squeeze the shredded carrots in batches.
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole almonds, skins and all
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar, divided
8 ounces (2 cups) lightly packed finely grated peeled carrots
1 medium organic or unsprayed orange
4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon (slightly rounded) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Unsweetened whipped cream (with a little vanilla if you like)
8-inch spring form pan with sides buttered or greased
A hand-held mixer
and a stand mixer, if possible
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. with a rack in the lower third.
In the food processor, pulse the almonds with 2 tablespoons of sugar until the nuts are very finely ground. Set aside.
Using a potato ricer, squeeze the grated carrots hard, over a bowl (if you plan to sip the juice) to extract as much juice as possible. Set aside.
Use a Microplane zester to grate the zest of the orange directly into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, and almond extract. Set aside
2 more tablespoons of sugar before adding the remaining 3/4 cup to the bowl. Beat the mixture with a hand held electric mixer or with a wire whisk for 1 or 2 minutes until it is thick and lightened in color. Sprinkle the grated carrots into the bowl, but don’t
mix them in.
In the (clean dry) bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium/medium-high speed until
the whites are white (rather than translucent yellow) and hold a soft shape. Gradually sprinkle in the reserved two tablespoons of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Scrape one quarter of the egg whites on top of the carrots
and batter. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the whites and carrots into the batter. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and pour the ground almonds over and around them. Fold the egg whites and almonds into the batter. Scrape the batter into the
prepared pan and spread the surface level.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the surface of the torte is golden brown and just beginning to separate from the sides of the pan and the torte springs back
when you press it gently with a finger. Cool the torte in the pan, on a rack. Slide a slim knife or spatula around the sides of the torte to detach it from the pan and remove the sides of the pan. Slide a knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to
detach it. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer the cake to a serving plate. Slice and serve with dollops of whipped cream.
Potato Ricer Details:
While there are other good ricers on the market, the Chef'n FreshForce Potato Ricer model is our fave because it's designed with an extra gear mechanism that makes it easier and faster to press the food through the holes. Soft-grip
silicone handles minimize the strain on your hands. Also, the stainless steel construction feels solid for lasting use, and it folds for compact storage. Top-rack dishwasher safe. Retails for $35. Available at amazon.com.
Meet Alice Medrich
Thanks to cooking teacher and author Alice Medrich, Americans have come to know and adore chocolate truffles. Alice received her formal training at the prestigious Ecole Lenôtre in France and
is widely credited with introducing the chocolate truffle to the United States when she began selling them at her influential dessert shop, Cocolat. Alice Medrich has won two James Beard Foundation Awards for Cookbook of the Year and IACP’s 2011 Best Baking
Book award. Having sold her retail business, Medrich currently devotes much of her time to teaching. Her latest cookbook,
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, focuses on fresh ideas for quick tarts, seasonal fruits, craving-inducing ice cream toppings, press-in piecrusts, and all-ingredients-into-the-food-processor cakes. Published by Artisan Books, the 288-pager retails