I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council and Marcus Samuelsson. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.
On November 12th we went to the Macy’s at the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx to watch a holiday cooking demonstration by Master Chef Marcus Samuelsson. The event was part of the Macy’s Culinary Council, a group of culinary masters that includes Marcus Samuelsson, Todd English, Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai, Cat Cora, Michelle Bernstein and Wolfgang Puck. The celebrity chefs participate in cooking demonstrations and events at Macy’s stores throughout the country, sharing cooking techniques with the public.
Just who is Marcus Samuelsson? Marcus Samuelsson is an internationally acclaimed chef and owner of the Red Rooster Harlem restaurant in NYC. You may know him as the Season 2 winner of Top Chef on Bravo and for his frequent appearances on Chopped on the Food Network.
Marcus greeting Bay Plaza Mall Macy’s Store Manager, Gerard Guichard
During the hour and a half long cooking demo, Marcus gave tips for Thanksgiving leftovers, shared secrets for cooking Thanksgiving turkey and explained that brining (soaking meat into salt water overnight) is actually used as a flavor enhancer. He is passionate about giving back and asked the audience to consider giving a turkey away to a needy family. However, he also said to consider the source. If the family is needy they may not have the ability to cook a turkey so don’t give them a frozen turkey or even a cooked one, but instead give an already prepared turkey that is sliced or added to a Thanksgiving dish. You will find plenty of recipes in his new cookbook to help you.
During the cooking demo, waiters walked around and gave everyone samples of some food that had been prepared using recipes from his cookbook. While not everything we tasted was demo’d on stage, it was a wonderful way to sample some of Marcus Samuelsson’s unique flare for cooking.
As an added bonus, the fine folks at Macy’s Culinary Council prepared a booklet of recipes for everyone to take home whether they purchased Marcus Off Duty cookbook or not. The recipe below is for the photograph you see of the Black Bottom Peanut Pie. This was a most delectable pie, rich and creamy, but yet zero calories – just kidding. You better skip dinner for this one.
Black Bottom Peanut Pie Recipe
Yield one 10-inch pie. Recipe compliment of Marcus Samuelsson
For the Crust:
- 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
- 11-ounce box vanilla wafer cookies (Nilla wafers)
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 1/2 sugar
For the Peanut Topping:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (3/4 stick)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 light corn syrup
- 4 teaspoons molasses
- 2 cups (about 10 oz) unsalted roasted peanuts
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Ganache:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cacao), finely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Make the Crust:
1. Preheat the over to 350ºF.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mill solids brown and the butter smells deliciously nutty, about 10 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Take it off the heat immediately.
3. Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the processor, add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cook on a rack.
4. Turn the oven up to 375ºF.
Make the Peanut Topping:
1. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then beat in the corn syrup and molasses. Stir in the peanuts and salt. Set aside.
Make the Ganache:
1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour over the chocolate. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
2. Pour the ganache into the cooled pie shell and let it set for 10 minutes. Spoon the peanut topping on the ganache. Use an offset spatula or table knife to spread the filling evenly over the ganache, covering it completely.
3. Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 325ºF and bake until the crust is browned and the topping is set, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
As a special bonus, guests could make a $35 purchase from the home department and receive a $10 Macy’s gift card, a copy of Marcus’ new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty, and the chance to have him sign it after the cooking demo. Over half of the people who attended the cooking demo made their purchase and got in line to have their cookbooks signed, like these young cooks. Their mom said they love to cook at home. It’s great to see enthusiasm and passion at such a young age.