Baking is caught somewhere between a science and an art. Chemical reactions take place at the same time as layers of cake are artfully constructed or sugar is exquisitely pulled and colored. Mastering both the art and the science takes endless hours of practice or unfailingly good guidance. It is just this type of guidance that Sarabeth Levine, the owner of Sarabeth’s restaurants and jam maker, shares with home bakers in her new book “Sarabeth’s Bakery, From My Hands to Yours.”
Her career started with a secret family recipe for Orange-Apricot Marmalade, which she served at her husband’s café and grew from there. For the past 30 years she has been baking breakfast treats and whipping up silken eggs at her restaurants, which helped revolutionize the city’s brunch scene.
Drizzled throughout her book are recipes for a several traditional Jewish baked goods. Her rugelach, which former New York Times Dining columnist Mimi Sheraton calls “the best rugelach in New York and the best I have ever had this side of my grandmother’s kitchen,” are rich with cream cheese and crisp on top. Her babka is a riff on a traditional recipe, made with a breakfast Danish dough.
She talked with us about the roots of her recipes, being a self-taught baker and just how important technique (and flour selection) is in baking. She also shares with us her rugelach and babka recipes.