We are all mourning the loss of Gourmet (particularly now knowing we'll be able to “look forward” to doubling up on Bon Appétit until our Gourmet
prescription subscription ends). In the meantime, we must move forward with Name That Pastry Chef and the rolling out of flaky pie crusts.
If you've noshed at Josie this week for the DineLA deals, you'll recognize the last-of season peach cobbler that's being served with caramel sauce and crème fraiche ice cream. It's an abbreviated version of this pastry chef's peach tart, and the absolute last peach-anythings of the season. Must. Go. Now.
Squid Ink: You've been working with Josie LeBalch since 1990, when you both were at now-closed Remy restaurant in Santa Monica. How has the local pastry scene changed?
Jonna Jensen: We're in our tenth year together, and that's just at Josie. By now I know what she wants in the brioche for the buffalo burger… but you have to change to stay creative. Evolving is key, to try as much as you can to find new products.
SI: Your latest discovery?
JJ: I was just in Denmark visiting my sister, and every year when the elderberry flowers bloom she goes out and picks the flowers and makes this syrup out of it. It smells so good. So we made some syrup at her house and I brought it back for the restaurant. I made elderberry ice cream this summer. It gives the ice cream that perfume-y quality.
SI: What are you planning for the fall menu?
JJ: I love pears, so a sliced pear and berry strudel, and the rest I'm working out right now, actually. I've got these date cakes with medjools – these dates are like candy – that I serve with lemon verbena ice cream and caramel. That's good.
Jonna Jensen's Almond Biscotti
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 ½ cups (18 ounces) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and add to the butter mixture. Add the almonds and beat until the dough just comes together. Chill the dough for two hours or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into two 4-inch wide logs on a lightly greased baking sheet. Use your palm to flatten each log to a 1-inch thick rectangle. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before slicing ½-inch thick. Turn the slices on their side and bake until golden and dry, about 10 minutes.