A SWEET STORY WITHNatasha PickowiczHow the NYC-based pastry chef is savoring moments at home, staying inspired and finding new ways to give back.
“Without being in a professional kitchen every day, I’m not reaching for the same stiff pants and work boots. I basically live in soft clothes now.” (P.S. Meet Tini!)
What’s making her life (even) sweeter right now1. “My recently adopted kitten, Tini. It’s been a month of shacked-up bliss.”2. “Chinese hot pots. The most luxurious winter meal.”3. “A small tumbler of Meletti Anisette (an Italian liqueur) with an ice cube after dinner. And a piece of citrus and some chocolate.”4. “The $25 tape player I bought for all the cassettes I unearthed after moving apartments.”5. “My dessert pop-up, called Never Ending Taste. I donate part of the proceeds to nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity and access.”
In the kitchen with Natasha
“Going to the market and discovering new ingredients always gives me lots of ideas.”
“Thinking about pastry through the lens of fundraising and community organizing is the cornerstone of how I approach my work today.”
Natasha’s hazelnut amaretti YIELDS: ABOUT 3 DOZEN SMALL COOKIESIngredients
100 grams hazelnuts
100 grams almond flour
75 grams powdered sugar
90 grams egg whites
4 grams kosher salt
100 grams white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup freeze-dried blackberries (optional)
Flaky sea salt
Step 1
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
On a clean sheet tray, toast the hazelnuts until deeply golden and fragrant, shaking the tray occasionally so they cook evenly.
Step 3
Let the hazelnuts cool completely, then grind them in a food processor until they’re the size of coarse breadcrumbs.
Step 4
Pour the ground hazelnuts into a large bowl with the almond flour. Sift the powdered sugar on top, and whisk to combine.
Step 5
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip room-temperature egg whites until they foam and start to turn white. Gradually stream in the sugar and salt while the mixer runs at high speed. Once it’s all added, let the mixer whip on high until the meringue is glossy and holds medium-stiff peaks. Add the vanilla extract and whip to combine.
Step 6
Turn out the meringue into the bowl with the nut mixture. Using a large spatula, gently fold the meringue into the sugared nuts without deflating it. Use your hands to crush and break up the freeze-dried fruit and gently fold to combine.
Step 7
On a large sheet tray set with parchment and nonstick cooking spray, portion the amaretti onto the baking sheet, using an ice cream scoop or small spoon. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt to the top of each cookie.
Step 8
Let rest at room temperature for five to 10 minutes. Bake in a 350-degree oven, rotating halfway through, until just baked through, about 15 minutes. The cookies should have a slightly crisp edge with a chewy inside.
Fresh out of the oven! If only we had Smell-O-Vision…
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