The baked goods that come out of Brooklyn based bakery Ovenly, are totally awesome! Whether you are into sweet treats or savory ones, Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga have worked together to create the perfect recipe. Their recipes begin with classics like muffins, cookies, scones, cakes, crumbles…you name it…but what these women do so expertly, is surprise us with unexpected and delightful flavor combinations. They add savory notes into sweets that are absolutely perfect. They make a vegan chocolate chip cookie that is so popular it should have it’s own Facebook Page. And then there are the total mind blowing surprises like Bloody Mary inspired scones, that frankly are just totally cool!! As an Ovenly devotee, I was thrilled to chat with Erin about the bakery, the Ovenly Cookbook, and her tips for home bakers. I hope that her tips and culinary point of view inspire you to do a little experimenting the next time you pull out your mixing bowls!
I love the unique flavor combinations that you and Agatha come up with for Ovenly. How do the two of you decide what unique twist you are going to try on a classic baking concept? Do you ever put the breaks on an idea because it seems too out there, or is the Ovenly kitchen a true playground when it comes to new ideas?
We love coming up with interesting flavor combinations and refreshing classic recipes with Ovenly’s signature twist of salty and sweet. We throw around ideas all the time but we know when one sticks when we both can’t wait to get into the kitchen to test it out, and when we can’t stop eating it when it’s baked!
Do you have a few rules of thumb for home cooks when it comes to experimenting with their own tried and true baked good recipes?
Spices are a great way to start experimenting–they add flavor, but won’t drastically affect baking ratios. Another rule of thumb is to swap ingredients that are similar for a different taste. Any inclusion can be swapped for another (chocolate chips for coconut flakes, pecans for dried fruits, etc) and often times fats can be swapped as well. For example, try a blend of melted butter and olive oil instead of canola in pumpkin spice bread or melted coconut oil for melted butter in blondies.
Image by photographer Mark Weinberg
Is there anything that you will not mess with when it comes to baking? A rule that must be followed or a tradition that you believe should remain untouched?
Don’t cut corners when it comes to full fat. If a recipe calls for butter and whole milk, don’t substitute margarine and skim milk. Fat = flavor.
What ingredients or tools do you consider necessities for the home cook when it comes making great baked items at home?
Citrus zest is an easy way to boost flavor and a metal zester is an underrated tool in the kitchen. A kitchen scale is also great for baking in small kitchens because it means there are less bowls and measuring spoons to wash when you are done (and more time to enjoy your freshly-baked treats).
Image by photographer Mark Weinberg
I love sweets, but my taste buds often lean towards the savory side of things. Is there a recipe in the Ovenly cookbook that you consider a “don’t miss it” item for those of us who salivate at the thought of savory baked treats?
The Bloody Mary Scone (p.26 of the Ovenly Cookbook) is an easy recipe and perfect for people with taste buds that lean savory. We love bringing a batch to brunch gatherings and it’s an excellent recipe to make for a crowd.
Social media has hinted that a new Ovenly cookbook is in the works. Can you offer any hints as to where this book will pick up? What can we expect?
Yes, the rumors are true! We’re working on a second cookbook and while we’re keeping the details under wrap, we can guarantee it will contain just as much sweet and savory with a touch of Ovenly spice as our first book.
Image by photographer Mark Weinberg
Opening Image courtesy of Ovenly by Winona Barton-Ballentine
Bloody Mary Scones
Recipe courtesy of Ovenly via Ovenly: Sweet & Savory Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery”
8 tbsp. (4oz. chilled, unsalted butter)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
2/3 tsp. ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 small plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces, seeded and liquid removed
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. + 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
2 tbsp. Tabasco Sauce
1 1/4 cups + 2 tbsp. chilled heavy cream + more for brushing
Red pepper flakes and celery salt, for garnish
8 cornichon style pickles
The ladies say “Go crazy with the garnish! Any Bloody Mary-esque condimetns, such as caperberries, pearled onions or celery, work with these.” I myself think a little cube of salami and some aged cheddar would be extra tasty as well!
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the butter into 1/4 – to 1/2- inch cubes and freeze for 10 minutes before using. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices and garlic salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, puree the sun-dried tomatoes. It will yield about 1/4 cup of puree.
Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, quickly cut or blend the cold butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. The butter pieces should be mostly about the size of small pebbles, but some larger pieces are okay.
Using a spoon or your hands, mix the chopped tomatoes into the flour-butter mixture.
Whisk the sun-dried tomato puree, Worcestershire, 2 tablespoons of the horseradish and the Tabasco into 1 1/4 cups of the chilled cream. Stir the cream mixture into the flour-butter mixture with a large wooden spoon or a fork until dough begins to come together. The flour-butter mixture should not be fully incor0porated at this point, and do not overmix.
Transfer the dough and any loose floury bits to a floured counter-top or pastry board/mat.
Quickly knead the dough until it comes fully together, and then flatten it with the palms of your hands into a 3/4-inch-thick mound (the shape does not matter at this point). Fold the dough in half, give it a quarter turn and then flatten in again. Repeat this process 3 more times.
Flour your surface once more, and then shape the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick round that is 6 inches in diameter. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into 4 equal triangles. Then cut those in half to make 8 even triangles. Place the triangles on an ungreased rimmed sheet pan.
Mix the remaining cup cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons horseradish. Use a pastry brush to brush each triangle with the cream, and then top each with a few red pepper flakes and a generous sprinkling of celery salt.
At this point, Erin and Agatha recommend placing the rimmed sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will help the scones firm up and retain their shape during baking. If baking right away, brush with cream and top wiht red pepper flakes and celery salt to finish; or if freezing, brush wiht cream and top wiht garnish just before baking.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scones comes out clean
While the scones are baking, prepare the garnish for the scones. Skewer 8 toothpicks with 1 cornichon and 1 olive (or other garnishes of choice).
Cool the scones on a wire rack. Once cooled, stick a garnished toothpick in the top of each scone and serve.