I always like to write my own blogs with my own viewpoint and perspective. But, alas, I was not able to be present at a wonderfully successful event last Saturday at the Scarsdale Public Library featuring Seth Greenberg and his delectable treats. It was a tremendously successful event, and when he travels to Larchmont, I am hoping to catch the event there! He is a superb chef !
A Sweet Treat: Seth Greenberg Shares Baking Secrets
Fine baking involves more than simply following a recipe. In a presentation entitled “Just Desserts: Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth,” renowned master baker Seth Greenberg demonstrated this point, offering some of the tricks, as well as the treats, of his trade to an eager crowd at the Scarsdale Public Library on Saturday, April 30. The program was the second in a series organized as part of the library’s evolving Scarsdale Cookbook Club.
While baking seedless raspberry thumbprint cookies and apricot hamantaschen before the approximately 115 community members who had gathered to learn from him, Greenberg revealed various ways in which a combination of top-quality ingredients, the proper tools for each task, and the correct techniques enable one to create an outstanding finished product.
Among other suggestions, Greenberg recommends investing in organic sugar and one of the better quality vanilla extracts on the market. Although he is not particularly concerned with the brand of butter used (his only requirement is that it contain a standard fat content, approximately 11 grams per tablespoon), Greenberg does care about the technique employed to cream butter. He suggests that serious cooks invest in an upright, rather than a hand-held mixer, as butter takes up to fifteen minutes to cream properly. Moreover, rather than wait until it has reached room temperature, Greenberg finds that it is best to begin the creaming process while the butter is still somewhat cool.
For Greenberg, baking is a family tradition. He is the son of New York City’s legendary baker, William Greenberg, Jr. Indeed, Greenberg worked alongside his father for more than 25 years, and their bakery had a devoted following of food critics and customers alike. The New York Times reviewed their apple pie as the best in New York. The Daily News concluded that their cheesecake was the finest in the city. The Greenbergs acquired a reputation for many other products as well, including their schnecken, wedding cakes, brownies, black and white cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and more.
Just as Greenberg learned to bake from his father, Greenberg’s older daughter, Stephanie, learned to bake from her father. Stephanie assisted Greenberg with the library presentation, interjecting helpful information (such as the fact that one should use large eggs when baking) and playfully bantering with her father during his talk. Stephanie, moreover, provided the inspiration for Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch (www.browniecrunch.com), a product that Greenberg sells on Amazon and in Shop Rite, among other venues. Observing his daughter’s preference for eating only the crispy outer crust of brownies, a penchant that he too remembered sharing as a child, Greenberg developed this product, which has the crunchiness of a brownie crust with none of the mushiness of the middle.
Although Greenberg enjoys creating new confections — he created and presented President Clinton with his birthday cake on the then president’s 50th birthday–, he also has a passion for teaching others to bake. Greenberg taught Martha Stewart and her viewers to bake his specialty schnecken during a live segment.
At the library presentation, Greenberg showcased both his talent for creating desserts and his gift for teaching students to make them. He assembled an enticing display table, laden with products that comprise a small fraction of the repertoire of treats that he teaches others to make, including chocolate frosted seven-layer cake, lemon bars, vanilla thin cookies, cheese straws, crème brûlée, and pinwheel biscuit-topped cobbler. He invited participants to sample his creations after the presentation, and he also gave out individually packaged goodie bags, containing cookie samples to all those who attended.
Greenberg offers a variety of baking classes in his West Harrison kitchen. Most of his classes are offered as part of a series, meeting once per week for three weeks. He also teaches a one-session class on wheat-free baking. Greenberg’s classes are designed to address the needs of both novices and seasoned bakers. For more information about upcoming classes and private lessons, contact Seth Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westchester is GREAT!