Bake for the holidays with the ‘Cake Boss’

If you want to dazzle guests at your holiday parties with fabulous desserts, this is the book for you: Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s hit TV show The Cake Boss.  

This is one of most comprehensive, delightful, and accessible books on home baking I have ever read. In his first cookbook ever, Buddy shares not only recipes, but tips and techniques for professional results as well as family anecdotes.
 
The book boasts 100 of Buddy’s best recipes for everything from classic butter cookies to ornate cakes. My favourites are his classic Italian desserts, such as cannoli and Sicilian cassata. There is something for every occasion and taste.
 
Buddy gets plenty of practice. The fourth generation baker was just 17 when his father died, leaving him Carlo’s, the family store in Hoboken, New Jersey. Buddy took his dad’s recipes, added his original decorating techniques, and business skyrocketed.
 
This book is perfect for the home baker who aspires to professional results. It would be a great gift too, for your own budding “cake boss”.
 
Here’s the author, Buddy Valstro, with a recipe from Cooking with the Cake Boss:
 
Buddy’s Pumpkin Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie, enough to serve 10 to 12
 
I think there’s no more classic American category of desserts than pies. They’re ready to reflect the seasons, with berries and stone fruits in the summer, and autumn bounty in the fall and winter. The first pie I think of is pumpkin pie because that’s the one that’s associated with Thanksgiving, when we make more pies in one week at Carlo’s than we do the rest of the year combined.
 
You might be surprised that we use canned pumpkin for this recipe, and suggest that you do the same at home. The reason is simply that fresh pumpkin is too variable and watery to behave right in a pie, let alone enable you to follow a recipe with any consistency.
 
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree (I like Libby’s Pure Pumpkin)
34 cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground mace
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust, store-bought or homemade
 
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
 
2. Put the pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Paddle at low-medium speed for approximately two minutes.
 
3. With the motor running, pour in the milk in two additions. Stop the motor, scrape the sides of the bowl with a wooden spatula, restart, and paddle for an additional two minutes. Add the eggs and paddle until absorbed, or approximately two additional minutes.
 
4. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch piecrust in a pan and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375°F, and bake until a finger dabbed onto the surface emerges clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
 
5. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for one to two hours. Slice and serve right away, or cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to three days.
 
From Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro.
 
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