For Rebecca Albright, working at Ted's Bulletin is a dream fulfilled. "When people enjoy dessert," she said, "that makes me happy."
A California native who received formal pastry training at L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Albright says she has been a lifelong foodie, baking with both of her grandmothers growing up and then minoring in food science while in college. "That was like a cooking class," she said. "For example, we cooked a whole duck, but first we broke it down." She said she finds the scientific aspect of baking particularly appealing.
To earn spending money while in college, Albright worked for a local catering company. "I got to make wedding cakes," she said. Shortly after graduation, Albright moved to the D.C. area and enrolled in culinary school. After graduating, she secured an externship at the Willard InterContinental, where she oversaw and produced pastries for the high tea service, including petit fours and seasonal scones. She then moved on to work in the pastry kitchen of Clyde's Restaurant Group's top-tier restaurant, 1789.
|If you go|
|Where: 505 Eighth St. SE|
|Info: 202-544-8337; tedsbulletin.com|
|Hours: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily|
Now at the popular Ted's Bulletin, Albright has found a unique niche, a place where she can take classic American desserts and apply her own interpretive twists. Take the restaurant's beloved pop tart, a dessert that is a menu staple. Albright has created a Nutella pop tart, and during the summer months, she came up with a fresh peach pop tart. She has also created a massive weekends-only cinnamon roll for Ted's breakfastgoers, but note: These sell out fast. Another of her awesome creations is perhaps the best brownie in the world, so dense, thick and chocolatey that each bite is a bit of cocoa heaven.
Where do her inspirations arise? Albright says she has been fortunate to have moved into an apartment in which the former tenants had abandoned recipe clips and cookbooks with some of the recipes cited nearly 100 years old. "So these inspire me," she said. "I even found a recipe for Montgomery pie that tastes like gingerbread. This is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, like a shoofly pie. I like these old-fashioned concepts."
After all, she says, baking is what she grew up with, a romantic idea of what pies and cakes should taste like. "These are tastes I like to eat," she said. "These get to me. ... I often eat dessert instead of dinner."
What is your comfort food?
Soup, chicken noodle soup like from my childhood. I associate that with comfort time.
Which are your favorite cookbooks?
My favorite cookbooks right now are "The All-American Dessert Book" by Nancy Baggett and "The Last Course" by Claudia Fleming.
Where is your favorite restaurant?
Kushi Izakaya and Burapa Thai in Arlington. I also am a huge fan of Estadio. I don't eat out too often, but when I do, that is where I can be found.
What's in your fridge now?
Butter, fresh produce. I like to snack on fruit and salads at home.
Which is your favorite cuisine?
Home-style American, or when eating out, Japanese.
Ted's Bulletin's Malted Milk Chocolate Brownies
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 generous cup milk chocolate (Callebaut 32%) couveture discs
2/3 cup unsweetened baking chocolate
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 generous cup malted milk powder, such as Carnation
9 large eggs, room temperature
4 cups plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 cups chopped malted milk balls (Whoppers candy)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-18-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Heat butter in small loaf ban until butter is melted and light amber in color, about 5 minutes.
Carefully pour the butter into the top of a double boiler, and add in the chocolate. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat sugars, malted milk powder and eggs at medium speed until fluffy. Combine the flour and the salt. Gradually add to the sugar mixture, beating until combined. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture, beating again until combined. Stir in malted milk balls. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until firm in the center. Cool completely before cutting.