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Friday, July 29, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Emily Luchetti who lives by the simplest truth: There's always room for dessert.

Ms. Luchetti is the executive pastry chef at Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco, and is recognized around the country for her award-winning sweet creations.

She graduated from Denison University in 1979 with a BA in Sociology and moved to New York City and got a job through The New York Times classified section with the title "No Typing Required". That job in a Wall Street executive dining room revealed how she could get paid for doing what she loved best- cooking. From there she went on to The New York Restaurant School and worked in various New York establishments (including David Leiderman’s Manhattan Market and The Silver Palate) building her resume and culinary skills. Traveling to France for a year in 1982 allowed her to continue her food education and learn how great food enriches people’s lives.

Emily joined Jeremiah Tower when he opened Stars Restaurant in San Francisco in 1984. She started as a line cook and worked her way up to lunch chef. Finally, her true passion for making desserts could not be ignored and in 1987 she became the pastry chef at Stars and remained there until July 1995. During that time Emily was also the co-owner with Jeremiah Tower of StarBake, a retail bakery. In 1997 she joined co-owners, Chef Mark Franz (who also worked with her at Stars) and Pat Kuleto, as Executive Pastry Chef at Farallon Restaurant.

Emily has also written three outstanding cookbooks, Stars Desserts (HarperCollins 1991), Four Star Desserts (HarperCollins 1995), and A Passion for Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2003). She contributed to The Revised Joy of Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and created the dessert recipes for The Farallon Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2000). She is now writing A Passion for Ice Cream (Chronicle Books, Spring 2006).

Since the debut of her first book in 1991, Emily has passionately taught baking to dessert lovers across the country. She writes cookbooks and teaches baking so that people can obtain the same enjoyment she does from creating something with her hands and giving delectable edible treats to others to savor. Fundamental to her passion for baking is the belief that desserts increase the social experiences and interactions of friends and family as they linger around the table eating great desserts. Emily takes the mystery out of baking as she makes the process fun and non-intimidating. Emily has taught baking classes and made television appearances across the country and in Australia. She and her recipes appear regularly in national newspapers and magazines. Emily has been featured on numerous news programs and The Food Network’s The Ultimate Kitchen, Sweet Dreams, Cookin’ Live with Sara Moulton and Sara’s Secrets.

Emily was chairwoman of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs from 1994-1999. She has been a national spokesperson for Northwest Cherries, Washington Apples, The Sugar Association and The National Butter Board.

Awards and Nominations
1991 Martini & Rossi Dessert Cookbook of the Year and IACP Nominee Stars Desserts
1993 & 1994 James Beard Nominations for Best Pastry Chef
1994 Chocolatier Magazine Top Ten Pastry Chefs
1995 James Beard Nomination for Four Star Desserts
1998 San Francisco Focus Magazine Pastry Chef of the Year
2001 Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Golden Whisk Award
2003 Food Arts Magazine Silver Spoon Award
2004 James Beard Nomination for Pastry Chef of the Year

Step aside Fig Newtons...a new figaroo is in town...

Makes 2 dozen
Cookie dough:
3 large hard-boiled egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
Grated zest (peel) from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Fig filling:
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) dried figs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup water

Place egg yolks, butter, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add flour and salt and again process until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight.

While dough chills, make filling: Cut figs into quarters, discarding stems. Put figs, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until figs are soft, about 5 minutes. Drain figs, discarding liquid. Cool to room temperature, then puree in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll half the dough (keep remaining dough refrigerated) into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Cut dough into 3-inch squares. Place 1 teaspoon fig puree along one edge of a square. Pick up edge of dough with a metal spatula and roll dough around filling. Place roll, seam-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Roll rest of cookies in same manner. Scraps of dough can be rerolled. The dough gets soft quickly. If it becomes too difficult to toll, refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake figamaroles until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

--From ``A Passion for Desserts,'' by Emily Luchetti

I found the Zat's Root Beer extract this morning, great stuff! I knew my favorite spice shop would pull through, only $2.19. Making some homemade Rootbeers later. Thanks for the tip!

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