Secret Recipes

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by sternlight, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. sternlight

    sternlight

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    Since I'm new here, I thought I'd start out with a long-held desire:

    I have been cooking for 58 years (I'm 78) and love to make ethnic foods. I have scoured recipe books and now have a huge collection on my iPad, iPhone, and Macbook. There are several famous, and allegedly secret recipes I'd love to have (not knock-offs but the real originals). They are:

    1. Sacher Torte from Demel's in Vienna; In a famous lawsuit an Austrian court ruled that Hotel Sacher, and only Hotel Sacher could call theirs "the original"; Demel's and only Demel's could call theirs "the genuine", and nobody else could use the name.

    2. Hummus from Abu Hassan's (Ali Karavan) in Jaffa, Israel. Abu Hassan says the recipe is "nothing special" but tens of thousands of Israelis would disagree.

    3. Shorty Tang's New York cold sesame/peanut noodles. He's passed away now; the NY Times has honored him with articles in the past, including an approximation to his recipe by another. Two of his grandchildren claim to have the "secret" family recipe, which they won't reveal, and sell the dish on weekends at a market in NYC; that does me no good in LA.

    4. Crustacean's Garlic Noodles; from the Anh family's "secret kitchen". They have places in LA (Crustacean), San Francisco (Thanh Long), and overseas.

    5. Taramasalata from the now defunct White Tower Restaurant on Percy St. in London. It is much more creamy and addictive than most; being in London they made it with British Smoked Cod's Roe, a much better tasting and less heavily salted product than the ersatz "Tarama" sold in jars in the U.S. by Krinos and others. Whenever I visit London I buy whole smoked Cod's roe sacs (they are vastly larger than the Asian product) from either Selfridge's or Harrod's and happily eat it spread on toast or crackers in my hotel room.

    6. Turf Cheesecake; from the eponymous Broadway-located restaurant, long gone, run by Arnold Reuben in competition with the original Lindy's a block away, whose cheesecake was also great. NYC gourmets used to come to blows over which cheesecake was "better". The latter recipe has been published.

    Some may scream "Copyright" in response to my request, but a slight variation in wording vitiates any recipe copyright, which is not intended to protect individual recipes, their ingredients or proportions.

    In my search, the closest i have come to #1 was in the Alice B. Toklas cookbook, where she claims to have hired a chef from either Demel's or the Hotel Sacher. I have eaten the original/genuine ones at both Demel's and Hotel Sacher. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Demel's tasted better to me. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Hotel Sacher's tasted better. Strange.

    No luck on #2, which I know only by reputation.

    I have eaten #3 about 40 or 50 years ago when Shorty Tang was going strong. His place's cold noodles were a great favorite of many famous Juilliard musicians, one of whom introduced me to the dish.

    I know #4 only by reputation and would like to try to make it without shellfish.

    I used to eat #5 as a high point of every trip to London until the place closed. It was patronized by quite a number of locsl literati.

    I've eaten #6 often when I lived in New York, at both Lindy's and Turf. A recipe was published called "Turf, or is it Reuben's Cheesecake?" with no claim to authenticity. The originals had Philly Cream Cheese, no other cheese, no sour or heavy cream, flour only in the crust. It would break a toe if you dropped in on your foot.

    If anyone has the original recipes, even in paraphrase, I'd be most grateful for copies. If you don't want them published, e-mail is fine, with my assurance of personal use only.

    Thanks, and happy cooking;

    David Sternlight

    [email protected]

    Los Angeles
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Heh good luck and welcome to cheftalk.  Here we try to make our own.  :)
     
  3. sternlight

    sternlight

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    Thanks for the welcome. Believe me, I tried to make my own in each of the cases mentioned, as well as making those published recipes from both books and the web. Nothing came close enough or I would not have asked. I've spent countless hours a la cuisine experimenting, and other countless hours reading cookbooks in Borders and Barnes and Noble to decide which to buy, and I'm probably one of Google's best "customers" for recipe searches.
     

    It's ironic; I need to lose a LOT of weight, and I'm using Nutrisystem; so far 40 pounds down and lots more to go. So some of the recipes I mentioned are still being sought for sentimental reasons and as a hedge against the time when I can make uh, er, um, adjustments to my diet.

    By the way, my new Swiss Diamond HD Pro frypan continues to be a marvel for scrambling eggs. I had been using the Anolon Advanced Bronze, which is excellent, but the HD Pro is even better, Now my wife (who occasionally forgets about use and care) runs the Anolon and I use the SD. :)

    Best;

    David

    www.sternlight.com
     
  4. siduri

    siduri

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    I have a recipe for sachertorte which was published in Barbara Maher's book "cakes".  She claims she got it from someone who got it from Frau sacher herself.  You might want to try it.  I can copy it but i'm away from home right now and don't have the book with me.  She also has a recipe for tarte tatin that she says was from the demoiselles tatin themselves.  They are both excellent, whether or not they are "genuine" or "original".

    Don't forget the schlag (or the chantilly, depending on the cake)
     
  5. thetincook

    thetincook

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    I've always heard Sacher sponge is really dry, so I usually use my default chocolate cake. I guess all the schlag helps.
     
  6. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I've eaten sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher.  It is not dry.
     
  7. sternlight

    sternlight

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    Yes please, on both the Sachertorte and the Tatin. Sounds good.

    To the person who said they heard Sachertorte was dry: Not the originals at Demel's and the Hotel Sacher. But is is true that if you have them ship it to, say, the West Coast of the U.S., what arrives IS dry even though it seems well wrapped. They probably need to be eaten fresh.
     
  8. siduri

    siduri

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    I had one in austria (Salsburg, not in vienna, so not in one of the two famous places) and it was dry.  But the recipe i have isn't - but i'll post it as soon as i get home. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    The great Andre Soltner (chef owner of the world renowned LUTECE )once said ""No one today invents a recipe or dish they simply modify what was done before by someone ,somplace, somewhere"" I kind of agree with him
     
  10. indygal

    indygal

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    Years ago, I had some books from Time/Life, foods of the world or something like that.  They were a series of books - each one covering the food of a different country.  I only got about 6 of them before I got tired of paying for a book every other month, but I did have one that had Sacher Tort in it.   

    In it was the supposed famous Sacher Tort from Vienna.  I might still have the book, but honestly it would be so hard to find in my stacks of boxes of books in the garage, I could not promise I could find it for you.  I remember the cover had an elaborate Viennese confection on fhe front cover.   don't really remember what the book was called, but probably something like "The cooking of Austria".    

    I tend to trust these books.   I had occasion to authenticate a few of the Italian recipes.   They correctly nailed Calabrisi style spaghetti (as opposed to styles of spaghetti from other regions - they called it "southern style"  and Calabria is way down south.   And also some Tuscan creations.   So it might be a good place to look for your Sacher Tort.  (I never made it, but I too would love to).   

    DD

    UPDATE: Here is a pic of the book, I snagged it off of eBay.   The recipe is in the recipe books (spiral bound).  There was a lot of info you would not want to miss in the regular book (regular book binding, and larger), like the quality of the chocolate, the particular alcohol used to wet the sponge cake, etc.  

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Vant help you but kudos on being so tech savvy, you dont hear it often from 78 yr olds, what an inspiration!
     
  12. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Looking at the recipe book IndyGal referenced, page 78-79, Sachertorte.
     
  13. sternlight

    sternlight

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    I owe it all to being frightened by an MIT education at a tender age.
     
  14. sternlight

    sternlight

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    And I should add, yesterday's nerds are today's alte kakers.
     
  15. siduri

    siduri

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    Indy Gal,

    i have that series - or rather, i could only take the small recipe books, though i loved the big part - had to take it in my suitcase from the states, and was sorry to have to part with the other half of them.  I loved the series, made many things from them - the french one has the absolutely best strawberry tart, with brisee crust, a layer of bavarian cream and strawberries, with redcurrant jam on top. 

    I never tried their sachertorte though. 
     
  16. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Here's the Sachertorte recipe as I have it in Mastercook:

                        
    * Exported from MasterCook *

                                   Sachertorte

    Recipe By     :Formatted by Pete V. McCracken, Personal Chef Services, 657 Village Green St., Porterville, CA 93257 (559) 784-6192, [email protected]
    Serving Size  : 8     Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories    : Desserts

      Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    --------  ------------  --------------------------------
                            Sacher Cake
      6 1/2         ounces  semisweet chocolate -- broken or chopped in small chunks
      8              large  egg yolks
      4             ounces  unsalted butter -- melted
      1           teaspoon  vanilla extract
      10             large  egg whites
      1              pinch  salt
         3/4           cup  sugar
      1                cup  sifted all purpose flour
         1/2           cup  apricot jam -- rubbed through a sieve
                            The Glaze
      3             ounces  unsweetened chocolate -- broken or chopped into small chunks
      1                cup  heavy cream
      1                cup  sugar
      1           teaspoon  corn syrup
      1              large  egg
      1           teaspoon  vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

    Line two, 9"x1 1/2" round cake pans with circles of waxed paper.

    In the top of a double boiler, heat chocolate until it melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

    In a small bowl, break up the egg yolks with a fork or whisk, then beat in the melted chocolate, melted butter, and vanilla extract.

    With a wire whisk or rotary or electric beater, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until they foam, then add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until  the whites form stiff, unwavering peaks on the beater when it is lifted from the bowl.

    Mix about 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk-chocolate mixture, then reverse the process and pour the chocolate over the remaining egg whites. Sprinkle the flour over the top. With a rubber spatula, using an over-and-under cutting motion instead of a mixing motion, fold the whites and the chocolate mixture together until no trace of the whites remain. Do not overfold.

    Pour the mixture into the 2 lined pans, dividing it evenly between them.

    Bake in the middle of the oven until the layers are puffed and dry and a toothpick stuck in the center of a layer comes out clean.

    Remove the pans from the oven and loosen the sides of the layers by running a sharp knife around them. Turn out on a cake rack and remove the wax paper. Let layers cool while you prepare the glaze.

    The Glaze

    In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the chocolate, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook on low heat until the chocolate and sugar are melted, then raise the heat to medium and cook without stirring for five minutes, or until a little of the mixture dropped into a glass of cold water forms a soft ball.

    In a small mixing bowl beat the egg lightly, then stir 3 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into it. Pour this into the remaining chocolate in the saucepan and stir it briskly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the glaze coats the spoon heavily. Remove the saucean from the heat and add the vanilla. Cool th glaze to room temperature.

    When cake layers have completely cooled, spread one of them with apricot jam and put the other layer on top. Set the rack (containing the cake) in a jelly-roll pan and, holding the saucepan about 2 inches away from the cake, pour the glaze over it evenly. Smooth the glaze with a metal spatula. Let the cake stand until the glaze stops dripping, them, using two metal spatulas, transfer it to a plate and refrigerate for 3 hours to harden the glaze.

    Remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour before serving.

    Source:
      "Foods of the World, Time-Life Books, New York, Recipes: The Cooking ofVienna's Empire, page 78"
    Yield:
      "1 9" round cake"
                                        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 735 Calories; 41g Fat (48.0% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 88g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 311mg Cholesterol; 128mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 8 Fat; 5 Other Carbohydrates.


    Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
     
     
  17. indygal

    indygal

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    Hi Siduri,

    That strawberry tart sounds wonderful.  I've have to look it up when I find my books again.  The thing I remember from the French book are the radish, butter and good crursty bread sandwiches  Those were common summer snacks in our family, and my mother joked "hey we're French and we didn't even know it".  We all had a good laugh.  Imagine our surprise later when we discovered we actually DO have a lot of French in our background.  We thought that we were probably 90% German, but found out we have more French and Irish in us than German!  The lady from Texas who was here researching our branch of the family looked totally confused when I told Mom "That explains the radish sandwiches".    <grins>

    The recipe sounds delicious, Pete.  While it has been a long time since I saw the book, I was pretty sure they used Grand Mariner or some such liqueur to sprinkle on the sponge cake.    I would not sweat to it though.  Did you see it in there?  You seemed to have the book.   At any rate, it looks devine, even without the GM.   I don't know why I never tried this.  I'm an apricot fanatic, and add a ganash to that, and. what's not to like?

    My father, an import meat inspector for the USDA, was fond of saying "there are no secrets in food".  Then went on at great length to tell how no one had ever been able to duplicate the Kingans dry sausages since the plant was torn down.   He saw no conflict in that.

    DD
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  18. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I transcribed the recipe directly from the book as close to verbatim as I could. There is no mention of sprinkling anything on the sponge cake.
     
     
  19. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Isn’t that funny? 

    I had the French and the Italian books!! 

    They are long gone now after several moves, but there is a recipe

    of cream of Asparagus soup that is just out of this world GOOD!! 

    You’ve urged me go look for that book in the library.   
     
  20. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    You must mean "Provincial France", page 24