Because we all know: the last place you want to be on V-Day is waiting for a restaurant table. This year, try dinner at home instead.

By Robert Ramsey — Chef-Instructor, School of Culinary Arts

Figs and honey have long been considered aphrodisiacs by cultures the world over, so we’ll use both in this sweet and savory combination. Figs were supposedly the favorite fruit of Cleopatra and honey was prescribed by Hippocrates to boost libido. In short, this is the perfect, foolproof Valentine’s Day appetizer.

Fig Toasts with Ricotta

Fig and Ricotta Toast
Servings: Makes about two servings


1 pint fresh figs
1 small shallot
2 ounces wildflower honey
3 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large handful arugula
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
Salt to taste
4 slices of crusty, country style bread

Fig Toast with Ricotta


  • Start by slicing your figs in half. Then mince the shallot. Reserve in a mixing bowl together.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together ricotta, half the olive oil, the black pepper and a pinch of salt. Whisk this mixture vigorously until smooth. Reserve.
  • Next, separately whisk together the honey, remaining olive oil, vinegar, paprika and another small pinch of salt to form the dressing.
  • Toast the sliced bread until lightly crisp.
  • Add the arugula to the bowl with the figs and shallots, and gently mix with the dressing. Be careful not to overdress, you may not need it all.
  • To assemble, spread a quarter of the ricotta mixture on each slice of toast. Pile the fig mixture on top. Drizzle with a little extra honey dressing if desired.

Ready to get into the kitchen with Chef Robert? Click here for more information on ICE’s culinary arts program. 


By Jeff Yoskowitz—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

Every year since I can remember, my extended family has journeyed to my cousin’s house in Irvington, New York for a Chanukah celebration. My father, when he was alive, would enter their home, immediately tie on an apron, grab a bowl of latke mix and start frying potato latkes by the hundreds. It would take him hours, but he loved every minute of it.

jelly doughnutsIt was a special time for me, and I always ate too much of the iconic fried foods prepared for the celebration. When desserts were served, there were always fried doughnuts — usually jelly-filled — that I ate, regardless of how full I was. Over the years, it came as no surprise that I took charge of dessert, making jelly-filled doughnuts of all kinds. One of my favorite variations to make is this recipe, where the doughnuts are filled with the jelly before you fry them. There really is no comparison to eating a fresh, warm doughnut infused with a warm fruit preserve.

Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)



64g sugar
7g active dry yeast
170g milk (warmed to 100°F)
385g all purpose flour
58g butter (melted and cooled)
7g salt
150g whole eggs
fruit preserves, as needed
confectioner’s sugar, as needed


  • Mix sugar, yeast and milk the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer and whisk to combine. With the paddle attachment, add remaining ingredients (except fruit preserves and confectioner’s sugar) and mix for 5-8 minutes on medium speed to achieve smooth dough.
  • Cover dough and let rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  • Roll dough out to about 1/2″ thick and cut out circles with a 2” or 3” dough cutter.
  • Place about a teaspoonful of preserves in the center of each circle. Brush the preserves with water to moisten.
  • Bring the ends of the dough over the preserves and pinch the dough together to seal it completely.
  • Place the doughnuts, seam side down, on a floured surface. Cover with a floured towel, and let rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Deep fry at 350°F (about 90 seconds on each side, until golden brown). Test one doughnut first to ensure proper frying time and oil temperature.
  • Set doughnuts on a rack to dry and cool slightly, then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Want to study with Chef Jeff? Learn more about ICE’s School of Pastry & Baking Arts.


It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to start planning events for 2018. If your New Year’s resolution is to be a better cook, baker or cocktail maker, you and your guests will love learning new skills at ICE. ICE’s Special Events department hosts over 400 culinary events every year, and we turn each event or celebration into a fun, gourmet experience.

figs in a blanket

To give you a taste of what’s in store when you host an event at ICE, Philipp Hering, ICE’s Special Events lead chef, is sharing one of our most popular, vegetarian-friendly bites: figs in a blanket with whipped goat cheese mousse – all of the tender, flaky, buttery goodness, with a feel-good substitution of juicy figs. Who says a healthy 2018 can’t be tasty, too?!

figs in a blanketFigs in a Blanket with Whipped Goat Cheese Mousse
Yield: 25 pieces

Figs in a Blanket


1 sheet puff pastry, cut into 3-inch triangles
7 large figs, cut into quarters
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)
Goat cheese mousse, recipe below


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • On a sheet pan, lay the figs skin side down. Sprinkle liberally with the sugar and bake for 5 minutes, or until caramelized. Let cool. Lower the oven to 350°F.
  • Lay one piece of puff pastry on a clean surface and place a cooled fig onto the wide end of the triangle. Roll pastry and seal the end with the egg wash.
  • Place the rolled figs on a sheet tray and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Goat Cheese Mousse
Yield: 1 cup


½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces goat cheese, brought to room temperature
1 bunch chives, finely sliced


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the heavy cream until very stiff. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon and beat the goat cheese until very soft and smooth.
  • Slowly fold in the whipped cream, a third at a time until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chives, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture into a pastry bag (or alternatively put in a bowl) until ready for use. Either pipe or spoon the mixture on top of the ‘figs in a blanket’.

Learn more about hosting your next event at ICE.

By Jenny McCoy — Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor

A small slice of my career as a pastry chef has been dedicated to introducing bakers to the flavor combination of pumpkin and chocolate. Some of you may have already tasted the duo — if you are one of those people, congratulations and please consider adding some chocolate chips to your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. However, if you have not had the experience of chocolate and pumpkin combined, stop your holiday baking plans now and redirect your attention to this post immediately. Your Thanksgiving is about to get so much better.

pumpkin bars

Roasted pumpkin, whether made from scratch or canned, has a slightly sweet and very earthy flavor. If you mix this quintessential fall flavor with chocolate, which can either emphasize or contrast the flavor of pumpkin, something magical happens. When I’m interested in a strong contrast of flavor, I pair pumpkin with dark chocolate, which has an intense flavor and a bitter quality that juxtaposes nicely with the sweet, mellow flavor of pumpkin. When I prefer to accentuate the sweetness of pumpkin and make it the star in my baking, I combine it with milk chocolate because together they both highlight their sweetness and milder flavors. (Pro tip: Play around in the kitchen with both combinations to see which you like best.)

In the case of my recipe for Pumpkin Nutella Bars, I’ve taken chocolate and pumpkin one step further in the direction of deliciousness by adding Nutella. While Nutella is made with cocoa powder (which is dark and bitter), it is also mixed with a fair amount of sugar and milk, so it really has a flavor profile closer to milk chocolate. And the addition of roasted hazelnuts cannot be beat.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of these Pumpkin Nutella Bars, and be sure to share any other fun pumpkin and chocolate baking ideas you have this holiday season!

pumpkin nutella barsPumpkin Nutella Bars
Servings: makes 16 servings


Pumpkin Bar Batter

Nonstick cooking spray
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
¾ cup pumpkin puree

For the filling

1 jar (13 ounces) Nutella

Pumpkin Seed Streusel Topping:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted


First, make and bake the Pumpkin Bar Batter

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9”x13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt and spices, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Mix the batter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and slowly alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the pumpkin puree, while mixing on low speed. Mix until the batter is smooth and evenly combined. Transfer the pumpkin batter to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the Pumpkin Bars are baking, make the Pumpkin Seed Streusel

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin seeds, sugars, salt and spices. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the bowl, while tossing the dry ingredients constantly, and mix until just crumbly. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Remove the pan of pumpkin bars from the oven and drop the oven temperature to 325°F. Let bars cool for 15 minutes.

Time to fill, top and bake the bars

  • Carefully spread the Nutella over the entire surface area of the warm baked bars. (If the Nutella melts a bit and sinks into the batter, that’s OK. Use a bamboo skewer or even a toothpick to create a marbled look.)
  • Sprinkle the Pumpkin Seed Streusel evenly over the top of the Nutella, and bake until the streusel is light golden brown and a wooden toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center of the bar, about 30 minutes. Cool the bars in the pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Master baking for all seasons — learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.


By Robert Ramsey — Director of Advanced Culinary Center

Searching for inspiration for your holiday table? ICE Chef Robert Ramsey, a specialist in Southern cuisine, is sharing three sides so good it almost hurts to call them “sides” — because, really, any one of these could easily steal the show: creamy sweet potato soup with brown butter, sorghum syrup and sage croutons, Southern-style collard greens with black-eyed peas, grilled Chesapeake Bay oysters smothered in garlicky, bacon-y butter… hungry yet? Keep reading to get the recipes. Your holiday guests will thank you.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup With Brown Butter, Sorghum Syrup and Sage Croutons
Servings: 8

This soup is luxuriously smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. It’s the garnish, however, that really sets it apart. When I was living in Tennessee, I discovered sorghum syrup — it’s maple syrup for Southerners. The taste is fantastic and it’s an authentic Southern specialty. There are a lot of brands out there, but I prefer the sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond (about halfway between Knoxville and Nashville). Like its cousin, maple, it’s a perfect complement to the sweet potatoes.

For the soup


2 ounces unsalted butter
3-4 sweet potatoes, totaling about 2.5 pounds, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 quart whole milk
1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch nutmeg
Salt to taste


  • In a large stockpot melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, celery and carrot and season with a good pinch of salt.
  • Cook, stirring often, until the onions turn translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the nutmeg, brown sugar and sweet potatoes and continue to cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar and cook about 3-4 minutes to reduce.
  • Add the milk, stock and cream and bring to boil.
  • Immediately reduce to a low, gentle simmer and allow everything to cook until tender, stirring often, about 30-40 minutes.
  • When all vegetables are tender, carefully transfer the soup to a Vitamix blender and purée until completely smooth, working in batches. Reserve.

Note: It’s best to make the soup 24 hours in advance and chill it overnight to allow the flavors to come together.


For the garnish


½ bunch sage, leaves picked from stems, minced
4 ounces butter
½ loaf stale sliced bread, crusts removed, diced
1 cup sorghum syrup
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 275°F.
  • In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it begins to foam and turn brown. Turn off the heat immediately and reserve.
  • Add sage to the butter while it is still hot — it should sizzle and pop a little.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add stale bread, browned butter, sage and a little salt and pepper to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook the croutons until dry and crisp. Reserve.


To serve


  • Reheat the soup gently, stirring often to prevent scorching. If the soup is too thick, adjust with a touch of milk and taste for seasoning.
  • Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top with croutons. Drizzle some sorghum syrup (and crème fraîche if desired) on top of each and serve.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Southern-style Collard Greens with Black-Eyed Peas
Servings: about 6-8

This dish is a classic for a reason and one of my favorite ways to enjoy greens in the cold weather months. Other greens like mustard, turnip and kale will work just as well in this recipe, though they each have a distinct flavor.


2 bunches collard greens, washed thoroughly, stems removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
6 ounces salt-cured country ham, diced
2 ounces unsalted butter
3 springs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
2 medium Spanish onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt to taste


  • In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the diced country ham and the onions and cook until the onions turn translucent, stirring often, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook one more minute.
  • Pour apple cider into the pot to deglaze the mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan, then increase heat to medium-high and reduce the liquid by about three-quarters.
  • Add the collard greens, black-eyed peas, chicken stock and smoked paprika and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow to cook until the beans and greens are tender, about one hour.
  • During the simmering process, the beans may absorb a lot of liquid. If this happens, add warm water, about ½ cup at a time, to keep the consistency of a stew.
  • The finished dish should not be dry, nor thin like a soup, but somewhere in between.
  • Season to taste with a pinch or two of salt.

Note: This dish is best made a day or two ahead, chilled and reheated gently before serving. This will allow the flavors to come together. Be careful not to scorch the bottom when reheating by stirring often.    


Grilled Chesapeake Bay Oysters
Servings: a dozen oysters

Big, plump, sweet Chesapeake Bay oysters are at their best during the holiday season, when the water is cooler. Specifically, I prefer Rappahannock, Stingray Point or Olde Salt oysters. At ICE, we pile them with smoky compound butter flavored with bacon and garlic. If you put just too much butter on top, don’t worry — the butter will drip over the shell into the flames below, creating a lot of smoke and flavor — and this is a very good thing.


12 Chesapeake Bay oysters
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 small bunch chives, thinly sliced into rounds
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Fresh juice from ½ lemon
4 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp
1 small pinch of salt
1 dash Tabasco sauce


  • Shuck the oysters, being careful to retain as much of the oyster liquid as possible. Leave the oysters in the cupped half of the shell and discard the flat half of the shell. Reserve.
  • Mince the cooked bacon until it resembles bacon bits you would use on a salad.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the minced bacon with all the remaining ingredients except the oysters. Beat the mixture together using the paddle attachment until well-combined, about one minute on medium speed.
  • Spoon the butter mixture onto the oysters, dividing evenly.
  • Place the oysters in the shells directly on a preheated grill, using tongs to move them to the hottest parts.
  • Cook 4-6 minutes or until the butter is melted and bubbling and the oysters have plumped. Serve immediately.

Vitamix is now offering special discounts on their popular Vitamix models: C- and G- Series, Certified Reconditioned S30, and Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs Machine. Use the URL and discount code below and find your culinary voice with Vitamix. Vitamix is now offering special discounts on their popular Vitamix models: C- and G- Series, Certified Reconditioned S30, and Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs Machine. Use the URL and discount code below and find your culinary voice with Vitamix.

Promotion Code: ICEVitamix21216
Expires: December 31, 2017

Want to master these Southern specialties and more with Chef Robert? Click here to learn about ICE’s Culinary Arts program.


To celebrate the release of her highly anticipated cookbook, My Rice Bowl, James Beard Award nominee Chef Rachel Yang will visit ICE on November 10. She and co-author Jess Thomson will reflect on their careers, provide insights for culinary business owners and discuss the process of getting a cookbook published. Attendees will have the chance to win a free copy of the book, which features 75 recipes based on Rachel’s deeply comforting Korean fusion cuisine. Below, Rachel shares one of her favorite recipes from My Rice Bowl.

By Rachel Yang, ICE Graduate and Chef-Owner of Joule, Revel, Trove and Revelry

For me, the best moment of cooking the food we cook is catching a customer trying to figure out what’s happening in their mouth. They take a bite and chew thoughtfully, but they either don’t find the flavors they expected or they can’t identify what they’re tasting. They take another bite and in a storm of discovery, they chat with their fellow diners about what’s happening. By this point, they’re already hooked — there are smiles and nods and reaches for another bite.

umami-packed potatoes

These potatoes are a prime example of a dish that creates that kind of experience. Tossed with a blend of Kalamata olives and soy sauce, they look like they’ve been coated in barbecue sauce, but somehow the combination of salt and butter with the deep umami flavor comes across like dark chocolate in the first bite.

But don’t take my word for it — try making them yourself!

Hot Potatoes with Black Olives and Soy Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

For the potatoes


2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the sauce


½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes

For serving


3 tablespoons canola oil
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup Thai basil, leaves picked and packed


  • Cook the potatoes. Put the potatoes, salt, coriander, peppercorns and bay leaf in a large pot. Add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, then cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the fattest potato. Drain the potatoes, halve lengthwise and spread on a baking sheet, flesh sides up, to cool.
  • Make the sauce. In a blender, whirl together the olives, soy sauce, mirin and chili flakes until smooth. Set aside.
  • Fry the potatoes and serve. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil, then half of the potatoes, cut sides down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned and crisp. Turn the potatoes and cook for another minute, then pour off the excess oil and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted, add about half the sauce and cook, stirring and turning the potatoes, until the sauce has reduced and the potatoes are well coated. Stir in half the basil, transfer the potatoes to a serving plate, wipe out the pan, and repeat with the remaining oil, potatoes, butter, sauce and basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines, by Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson.

To register for Rachel’s talk on Friday, November 10, contact: or call ICE Customer Service at 212-847-0770.

Interested in studying the culinary arts at ICE? Learn more about our career training programs.

By Lauren Jessen — ICE Graduate + Blogger, A Dash of Cinema

Long before I attended culinary school, I attempted to make homemade marshmallows. Unsurprisingly, my first go was a sticky mess — my marshmallows fell flat. Flash forward a few years later to actually being in culinary school at ICE: when it came time to make marshmallows in class, I had flashbacks of my previous marshmallow miss and was nervous that the lesson would result in a frustrating mess.

ghost marshmallows

photos: Lauren Jessen

In class at ICE, the process ended up being frustration-free. Sticky? Yes. And even a little messy. However, the end product turned out better than I could have imagined. The marshmallows were fluffy, delicious and light. I learned the proper way to make marshmallows, as well as how to use the ingredients involved. The recipe we used in class was excellent, and I rely on it every time I want to make marshmallows.

You might be surprised to learn that the recipe contains only five ingredients, but when everything is combined and the whipping begins, sweet magic happens. The best part about homemade marshmallows? You can make them any flavor and shape! You can make classic marshmallows or add extract flavors such as vanilla, coffee or peppermint. Then, once the marshmallows have solidified, you can use cookie cutters to form them into any shape you desire.

These marshmallows are inspired by the 1984 film “Ghostbusters.” When the large Marshmallow Man threatens the city near the end of the movie, the Ghostbusters are shocked because they never thought a marshmallow would destroy them. They even talk about how they used to roast marshmallows at camp. I couldn’t resist making a smaller version of that frightful Marshmallow Man.

These Ghost Marshmallows are a perfect addition to any Halloween party. Eat them solo or add them to a hot cup of cocoa for a sweet and spooky twist.

ghost marshmallows

Ghost Marshmallows


85 grams cold water (1)
18 grams gelatin powder
265 grams granulated sugar
100 grams corn syrup (1)
100 grams water (2)
90 grams corn syrup (2)
Dextrose, as needed for dusting


  • Place the first measurement of water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow it to bloom and soften for 5-6 minutes.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup (1) and water (2), and heat to 230°F.
  • Meanwhile, add the corn syrup (2) to the bloomed gelatin.
  • Pour the cooked sugar mixture into the stand mixer bowl and whisk at a medium speed until the mixture has become thick and lightened. The mixture will look like marshmallow cream after 10-15 minutes of whipping.
  • While the mixture is whipping, prepare a sheet tray for the marshmallow mixture: spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with dextrose.
  • Once the marshmallow mixture is thick and lightened, transfer it to the prepared pan. Wet your hands with water and smooth the surface, patting the mixture down until it evenly covers the sheet pan.
  • Leave the sheet tray and mixture uncovered and let it set for one hour at room temperature.
  • After an hour (or you can leave it overnight), remove the marshmallow slab from the pan and flip it onto a dextrose-covered cutting board.
  • Cut the marshmallow slab into squares, or use a cookie cutter (generously coated with nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking) to cut the marshmallow slab into your desired shape. (I used a ghost-shaped cookie cutter for this recipe.) Toss the shaped marshmallow in additional dextrose.
  • To make eyes and a mouth for the ghosts, use a toothpick to add small drops of chocolate syrup to create the face.

Ready to master marshmallows and much more? Learn more about ICE’s career training programs.

By Kathryn Gordon — Chef-Instructor, Pastry & Baking Arts

I have always loved chai. My favorite approach is, of course, to make it myself, rather than use one of the premixed packages that proliferate at coffee bars and are available at grocery stores (which often contain ingredients that do not belong in traditional chai). Surprisingly, it’s not difficult to make, and you can personalize the spice blend to your liking. In India, the mixture of spices in chai varies by region. Some chai blends contain various amounts cardamom — and some none at all. The same goes for ginger and black pepper; it all depends on regional tastes. During my travels throughout India, my favorite chai was a milky cup in Rajasthan, where the chai was ladled into a single-use clay pot, which was thrown onto the parched clay earth after using.

Chai Langues-de-Chat

Chai Langues-de-Chat with Blueberry Cream Filling (photo credit: Evan Sung)

When you’re ready to try your hand at homemade chai, feel free to experiment — you can try flavored honeys, non-dairy milks, or even steep the spices in water if you don’t like milk in your tea. If you want a spicier chai, just increase the amounts of spices or add the spices back into the chai to continue steeping after the tea is strained out. But don’t let the tea leaves steep for too long or you will get tannic after-tastes.

Once you conquer homemade chai, you should try baking with chai, too. Below is the recipe for Chai Langues-de-Chat with Blueberry Cream Filling from my book Les Petits Sweets. Langues-de-chat (French for “cat tongue”) are delicate cookies that break easily and absorb humidity — I’d recommend eating them the same day you fill them. These langues-de-chat cookies are filled with chai spices, which are balanced by a decadent, blueberry cream filling — it’s the perfect cookie for chai lovers.

Chai Langues-de-Chat with Blueberry Cream Filling

Yield: Makes about 50 (3-inch/7.5-centimeter-long) cookies or 25 sandwiches

For the Cookies:


2 tablespoons (36 grams) honey
1 teaspoon (1 gram) finely ground black tea
6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (90 grams) confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup (68 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (28 grams) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon (2 pinches) ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon (2 pinches) freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat the honey and tea in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey begins to boil, then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool completely.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the egg whites into the honey mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose and cake flours, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper. Alternating between the flour and the honey mixtures, add the dry and wet ingredients to the mixer a little at a time, only mixing until just combined before adding more. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
  • Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1.25-centimeter) round tip (alternatively, cut a ½-inch opening in the bag). Pipe the batter into 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) long ovals (cat tongues) on the baking sheet, 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart, until the batter is used up. If not all cookies fit on the prepared baking sheet, keep the batter in the bag until the first batch has baked, or use a second lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 7 minutes, until the cookies are golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. The baked cookies, without filling, can keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


For the Filling:


1/2 cup (120 grams) blueberry purée or fresh blueberries (boil for 1 minute and purée with an immersion blender)
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
8.8 ounces (250 grams or 1 2/3 cups) white chocolate (preferably Opalys), finely chopped


  • Heat the blueberry purée and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour in the chopped chocolate, and shake the pot so that the chocolate is submerged. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk rapidly from the center of the pot outward in a spiral shape until the chocolate is fully melted. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and refrigerate to let it set, about 1 hour.

To assemble:

  • When the mixture is firm, spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a ¼-inch (6-millimeter) round tip (alternatively, cut a ¼-inch opening in the bag). Pipe a strip of filling over the length of one cookie, and top it with another, slightly pressing the top cookie so that the sandwich is tight.
  • Once filled, eat cookies the same day.


  • You can use a neutral honey, such as clover, but the spices can also take something stronger if you prefer baking with a more assertive honey.
  • To grind the tea, pulse your favorite black tea in a spice or coffee grinder until it reaches a fine texture. If necessary, first clean the grinder by pulsing a bit of white rice, which will get rid of any lingering coffee flavor. You can also use a mortar and pestle.
  • To cut down the sweetness of white chocolate, which can be sometimes overwhelming, I like using Opalys, a low-sugar-added variety made by Valrhona.
  • These cookies are great on their own, but you can also sandwich them with your favorite ganache recipe, or as suggested here, with a blueberry cream filling.

This recipe has been reprinted with permission from Les Petits Sweets © 2016 by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Have a passion for pastry? Learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. 

By Chef James Briscione — Director of Culinary Research

The role of a chef goes far beyond preparing food. Be it in a restaurant, culinary school, test kitchen or anywhere else, great chefs find a way to educate, inspire and create connections. They may seem secondary to the job of cooking, but these duties of a chef can often be more important than the meals themselves. As Director of Culinary Research here at ICE, I find myself spending more time in these roles than I do behind the stove. Not that I’m complaining — it’s this part of the job that has taken me around the world, and recently brought me back home.

Chef James Briscione

Since its inception four years ago, my wife Brooke and I have hosted The Wharf Uncorked, an end-of-summer food and wine festival on the Alabama Gulf Coast, right next door to our hometown of Pensacola, Florida. It has become a very important weekend to us for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it’s an amazing event that raises money for local charities. Secondly, it’s a fun day at the beach with a talented group of chefs. Finally, it’s a celebration of Gulf seafood — the food that both my wife and I grew up eating. Ever since an oil spill devastated the fisherman of this area, it has become increasingly important to let the world know that the Gulf of Mexico is open for business. Gulf seafood — shrimp, oysters and fish of all varieties — is both clean and delicious. In fact, the seafood from this region is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But nothing is more tasty and unique than royal red shrimp, a lesser-known species that’s very popular with local chefs.

royal red shrimp riceRoyal red shrimp hit their peak, in terms of flavor, from the end of summer through fall. Unlike brown and pink species of shrimp, royal reds prefer the cool deeper water far from shore. They can be found up to 60 miles off the coast and their flavor is reminiscent of a fellow cold-water crustacean: the lobster. At this year’s festival, royal red shrimp were not only a secret ingredient in the Chef Showdown — a live one-hour cook off between four of the area’s top chefs (luckily, I have retired my competition apron and get to play host, judge and taste-tester for the evening), they were also a feature ingredient for my main stage cooking demo. Below is the recipe that I prepared so you can taste for yourself (sadly, you won’t get to experience all the terrible dad jokes that accompany my live cooking). Don’t worry if you don’t have royal red shrimp at your local seafood market — this dish is delicious with any variety of shrimp. I hope you are inspired to try this Gulf Coast favorite, and if you do, tell us in the comments how it turned out!

Bacon-Basted Royal Red Shrimp with Low Country Rice
Yield: Serves 4


2 cups long grain rice (like Carolina Gold)
24 pieces royal red shrimp
12 bamboo skewers
Barbecue rub, as needed
2 tablespoons water
8 strips thick cut bacon, sliced into lardons (small strips)
1 yellow onion, minced
2 red bell peppers, small dice
2 jalapeños peppers, ribs and seeds removed, small dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Hot sauce, to taste


  • Preheat a grill or broiler.
  • Start by cooking the rice. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the rice and stir once to make sure rice doesn’t stick.
  • When the rice is just tender, pour it through a colander and quickly rinse with cold water — this prevents overcooking and separates the grains of rice.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the heads on 12 if possible. With these 12, make three small (about ¼-inch deep) incisions on the under side of each shrimp tail. This will allow you to straighten the tail and thread each shrimp onto a skewer so that the tail is completely straight and in line with the head. Lightly dust the shrimp with your barbecue rub of choice and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove the heads from the remaining 12 shrimp. Chop the tail meat and reserve.
  • To prepare the rice, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and water, and cook until the water evaporates and bacon is browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. (Note: cooking bacon in water may sound surprising, but the liquid helps to render the fat and the result is crispier bacon.)
  • Keeping the bacon in the pan, drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.
  • Add the onions to the bacon pieces and fat in the pan. Sauté onions until just tender, about three minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeño and cook two minutes more.
  • When the peppers are slightly tender and fragrant, add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted, about one minute. Add the chopped shrimp meat and cook one minute more, so the shrimp has just turned white on the exterior.
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook two minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, to desired consistency. Finish with the cilantro, butter, lemon and hot sauce to taste. Cover the rice to keep it warm while you prepare the shrimp.
  • Brush the shrimp skewers with the reserved bacon fat and place on a grill over high heat. Cook for two minutes on one side. Just before flipping, brush the shrimp with more bacon fat, then turn and cook for two minutes on the second side. Brush again with bacon fat before removing from the grill. Rest on a rack for a few minutes after grilling.
  • Divide the rice between bowls and top with grilled shrimp skewers (three per bowl). Serve immediately.

Ready to study the Culinary Arts with Chef James? Get more information on ICE’s career programs. 

Recipe by Jenny McCoy — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

Apples aren’t the only fruit we’re excited for this fall — it’s also cranberry season. If you’re looking for delicious ways to mix cranberries into your baking repertoire, Chef Jenny has an irresistible idea for you: a flaky double-crust apple-cranberry pie that’s the perfect mix of tart and sweet — the best of both worlds. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of crème fraîche, and let the compliments roll in.

Double-Crust Cranberry Apple Pie

Double-Crust Apple-Cranberry Pie

For the Flaky Pie Dough
Yield: Makes 1 double-crust pie or 2 (9-inch) pie crusts


3¼ cups (450 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons (8 grams) salt
2¼ sticks (252 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¾ cup (175 grams) ice-cold water, plus more if needed


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt together for a few seconds. Add the butter all at once, and rub into the dry ingredients to mix until the butter is reduced to small pieces about the size of peas. Slowly add the water and stir until the dough just comes together, yet lumps of butter remain in the dough.
  • Divide the dough in half, and flatten each piece into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, one to two hours.


For the Sauteed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling
Yield: Makes 6 cups


8 medium Gala or Pink Lady apples
¼ cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
Ground cinnamon, to taste
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) salt
4 to 6 tablespoons (56 to 84 grams) unsalted butter
¼ cup (56 grams) brandy (optional)
1 cup (130 grams) cranberries


  • Peel, core and slice apples into ¾-inch slices. Gently toss sliced fruit, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a large saute pan, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the sliced fruit and sauté until light golden and caramelized, turning fruit as needed. Add half of the brandy and cook until alcohol has reduced, tossing fruit in pan to coat.
  • Spread the cooked fruit in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining butter, fruit and brandy. Add the cranberries, stir and let cool to room temperature.


For The Double-Crust Apple-Cranberry Pie
Yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie


Unbleached all-purpose flour, for rolling
1 recipe Flaky Pie Dough
1 recipe Sautéed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling
1 large (50 grams) egg, lightly beaten


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter by starting at the center of the disk and rolling away from you. Use additional flour and give the dough a quarter turn between each roll to prevent it from sticking to the table. Continue rolling until the dough is an even ⅛ inch thick. Repeat with the second disk of dough.
  • Carefully roll one circle of the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate. Fit the dough into the plate by gently pressing it into the corners and against the base and sides of the plate. Trim the excess dough, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Place the lined pie plate in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill slightly. Roll the second piece of dough onto the rolling pin and unroll onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Spread the Sauteed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling into the prepared pie shell. Remove the sheet of rolled pie dough from the refrigerator and lay over the pie filling (if the sheet is stiff, just give it a few minutes to soften), reserving the parchment-lined baking sheet for later use. Trim the excess from the top sheet of dough to line up with the overhang of the shell. Fold the overhang in half, tucking the cut edge between the shell and the pie plate. Using your fingertips, decoratively crimp the edges together to seal. Cut a few decorative slits in the top of the pie crust to allow for steam from the fruit to vent. Place the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the dough slightly.
  • Lightly brush the entire surface of the dough with the beaten egg. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown, the filling bubbles and the liquid has just thickened.
  • Cool on a wire rack until just warm before serving.
  • This recipe is for a regular crust pie — to do a lattice crust, as pictured, check out this step-by-step guide.

Double-Crust Cranberry Apple Pie

Want to learn pro-level baking with Chef Jenny? Click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

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