Carine Goren-An Interview with the Best Selling Cookbook Author

by Sarah on June 30, 2010

Carine Goren was simply curious. Curious to know how to make sky high cheese cakes, how to keep the powdered sugar from melting away and how to get expert results in her home kitchen. Today, Carine Goren is a bestselling cookbook author, a recipe developer and a host on a popular TV cooking show.

What’s her secret?

It’s all in her bestselling book, Sweet Secrets where she shares everything she has learned from professional pastry chefs, bakers and chocolatiers on her journey to becoming the number one authority on all things sweet.

Sweet Secrets has wonderful recipes which are easy to prepare yet stunningly elegant. She also adds playfulness in her creations such as Crembo, a quintessential Israeli dessert available only in winter. It is a childhood favorite, but usually industrially made; full of artificial colors and flavors. Her version brings it to a more sophisticated level without losing its fun spirit. And of course using only the best ingredients.

Daniel Lailah, the photographer of the book, has brought the recipes to life: cakes smothered with chocolate, cloud like meringues, luscious fruit pies and so much more.

Where does she get her inspiration from? Well, perhaps Carine can tell us herself:

What recipe are you most proud of in your book Sweet Secrets?

Crembo. It has the freshness of summer, the taste of winter and the memories of childhood. This classic Israeli dessert makes me smile and I can never resist them. I also love desserts that are individual sized (and I don’t have to share with anyone). I chose crembo to be the first recipe in the book because of these reasons.

Have you considered using Middle Eastern spices in conventional baked goods? ( Like Ras el Hanut in Tarte Tatin)

Unfortunately I do not have exciting news regarding the incorporation of Middle Eastern spices in baked goods. I am very conservative with the flavor combinations I choose for baking. However, when it comes to cake presentation, I like to break convention and prepare them in unusual ways- in flower pots or even in tin cans. But with flavors? Not a chance. I’m not one to combine chocolate with chili or basil. I love classic flavors. It’s not that I do not admire the chefs who create such combinations, but it’s not for me … I have a recipe for pistachio cookies in Sweet Secrets. When I am really feeling daring, I use cardamom to spice them up. That is as bold as I get in the kitchen.

European influence is clearly seen in the pastry/baking industry in Israel with many Israelis learning there. Can you give examples of Israeli twists of classic desserts?

I’m actually more influenced by American than French baking. Nothing can compare with American desserts. They are extravagant, big, chocolaty and especially rich. The last recipe I developed (in my new book) is halva brownies. It combines halva, a favorite local sweet, into a pastry that is classic American. Yummy!

What trends do you see developing in Israeli baking?

Wow, it’s hard to predict. There are many influences and lots of insanely talented pastry chefs who are taking baking to different directions. However, I believe that the trend will be healthier baking, with reduced fat and baking with no added sugar. There are extensive references to healthier baking in the new book I am working on.

Who gets to eat all your baking experiments?

Family, friends, neighbors. My cat’s vet (even my fat cats get some crumbs). Sometimes I send the local grocery store a tray of sweet delicacies.  In short, there is a long waiting list and not even a crumb is left. When my relatives learn there is a photo shoot day, they are quick to “take a place” in line. At the end of the day they move in to take the leftovers.  Of course, that is in the hope that the photographer, Daniel, and my husband, Ronen, and I do not finish the desserts off during the shoot.


Homemade Mocha Crembo

Makes about 30-35 Crembo

White Chocolate and Coffee Cream:
500 ml (2 cups) of heavy cream (at least 38%)
1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee
250 grams (9 ounces) white chocolate

Rice Puff Base:
200 grams (7 ounces) milk or bitter chocolate (I used 70% chocolate)
1/2 cup Nutella (150 grams or 5.5 ounces)
6 1/2 cups rice puffs such as Rice Krispies

Chocolate Coating:
350 grams (12 ounces) bitter chocolate
3 tablespoons neutral tasting oil (45 ml)

Important: prepare the cream at least 4 hours in advance.

Break the white chocolate into squares in a medium sized bowl. In a small pot, heat 250 (1 cup) of cream with the coffee. When it just begins to boil, pour the mixture onto the white chocolate. Wait about 1 minute until the chocolate softens and begin mixing until it is completely melted.

Transfer the cream to the refrigerator for at least four hours, or until the mixture is very cold. This step can be done two days in advance.

Preparing the base:
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in a stainless steel pot placed over simmering water. When the chocolate is completely melted, add the Nutella. Pour the mixture over the puffed rice and mix until well coated.

Transfer the rice mixture to parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten the mixture until it is about 1 cm thick. It is ok if the rice puffs get crushed a bit. Transfer the flattened rice mixture to a tray and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes or until it hardens. Using a cookie cutter, cut out round wafers about 4 cm in diameter. Place in an airtight container until ready to use (up to one week).

Finish preparing the cream
In a mixing bowl add the white chocolate-coffee cream mixture and the additional cup of heavy cream (250 ml). Whip until a stiff cream is created. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag or heavy duty freezer bag, with a 1 cm opening. If using a freezer bag, simply cut a small opening in one corner of the bag.

Pipe the cream onto the rice wafers, about 4 cm high. Either in a spiral or in a cone shape. Put the Crembo in the freezer for at least two hours to harden.

Chocolate Coating

Melt the chocolate completely. Add the oil after the chocolate is completely melted. Let the coating cool to room temperature, but don’t let it harden. Transfer the chocolate to a narrow and deep bowl or container. Take each Crembo and dip them in the chocolate. Let the chocolate harden on the parchment paper for a few seconds.

Store the Crembo in the freezer until ready to eat. Before serving let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.

To buy Sweet Secrets Dessert book:

In the U.S.A.

In Israel

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