Brian Noyes cooks for comfort in The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook.
Following the success of his first cookbook in 2018, bakery owner Brian Noyes is set to release a long-awaited sequel, The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook (Clarkson Potter) in August. “These are classic and hopefully familiar dishes made from simple, local ingredients with a taste of home,” he says.
Noyes sparked his passion for cooking toward the end of his 30-year career as an art director for The Washington Post Magazine, The Smithsonian, House & Garden, and Conservation. “I started baking breads and cakes and cereal on Friday nights,” he says, delivering them to country shops near his Orleans, Virginia farmhouse.
He then completed an apprenticeship at the Culinary Institute of America, driven by dreams of owning a rural grocery store and inspired by memories of cooking with his Southern grandmother, Willmana Noyes.
Noyes opened its first Red Truck Bakery in 2009 in a renovated Esso service station in Old Town Warrenton. Soon Oprah Winfrey, Good Appetite, and Southern living sang his praises and a second Red Truck opened in Marshall.
The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook
As well as the pies, cakes, cookies and breads that have made him famous, Noyes’ new book includes recipes for home cooking like that classic summer favorite, tomato pie.
“This cake is amazing,” says Noyes, “best suited for the tastiest, meatiest tomatoes around.” Drain tomato slices on paper towels for five minutes before baking, then pat dry with more kitchen towels.”
- All-purpose unbleached flour for dusting
- ½ Recipe (1 slice) Savory Pie & Quiche Crust (see recipe below) or 1 store-bought crust
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 7 medium tomatoes, preferably mixed colors, sliced into 1/3-inch thick and drained
- 7 cooked bacon slices, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 16 fresh large basil leaves
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 spring onions, white and green parts, chopped, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pie dough into a 13-inch round. Gently fold (do not stretch) into a 10-inch pie plate. Trim and ruffle the edges. Place the pie plate in the fridge for 20 minutes to ensure the crust is well chilled before baking.
Remove the pie sheet from the refrigerator and sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over the bottom of the crust. Layer a third of the chopped tomatoes over the cornmeal. Scatter half the bacon bits over the tomatoes. Repeat with one more layer at a time: half the remaining tomato slices and all the basil leaves spread evenly on top, followed by the remaining bacon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, eggs, cheddar, parmesan, flour, cayenne, smoked paprika, and scallions. Spread the mixture evenly over the bacon layer, up to the ruffled edges of the crust. Arrange the remaining sliced tomatoes in an attractive pattern on top of the mayo mixture.
Place the cake on the rack in the baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, turning the pan front to back after 30 minutes, until the cake is bubbly hot, the edges of the crust are a deep golden brown and the mayo coating has colored slightly. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with more chopped spring onions and Parmesan, if you like.
Makes a 10 inch cake.
Savory pie crust
“Fresh rosemary or thyme complement the fillings in our quiches and savory pies, and we add some cheese, too,” says Noyes. “This dough freezes well.”
- 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano or cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or thyme (or a mixture of both)
- ½ cup cold water, plus more as needed
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening and, using your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender, work into the flour mixture until broken into pea-sized pieces.
Add the egg yolk, cheese and rosemary and mix everything together. Gradually add the cold water and stir just until a dough forms. If it’s crumbly, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. If it seems sticky, add a little more flour.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap or place each slice in a freezer bag, seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using, or freeze the dough for up to 1 month and thaw for 2 hours before using long in the fridge.
Makes two hard drives, enough for two 10 inch crusts.
Noye’s birthday cake
“For generations, this white cake has been served up for birthdays in the Noyes family,” declares Brian Noyes. “Here’s the beloved single-layer version based on the historic family recipe, although I sometimes double the recipe to make a double-layer cake.”
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour,
- plus more for dusting
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup whole milk
For the frosting:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup of sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round pan (with 2-inch sides) with vegetable oil spray and evenly flour the inside, tapping out excess flour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle. Add half the egg whites and beat well to incorporate, then the remaining half. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour and alternating with the milk, beating after each addition until just combined (don’t mix too vigorously). The batter should be creamy and smooth.
Evenly scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet to cool completely. Trim the cake so it sits flat as needed.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: In the clean bowl of a food processor, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Beat the mixture gently until the egg whites are warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Continue beating until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch. Leave boiling water on the stove.
Place the bowl of warm egg mixture back into the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually increase speed, beating until glossy, stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla, beating just until combined. Glaze the cake as quickly as possible, smoothing the top with an offset spatula while keeping the sides fluffy and wavy with swirls and spikes.
Place the chocolate in a separate bowl and set it over the pot of simmering water. Again, make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Stir the chocolate until completely melted and smooth, then remove the bowl from the pan. Let cool for 1 minute, then stir once to mix. You should pour the chocolate quickly before it thickens.
Spread the melted chocolate in a large, even circle over the smooth surface of the glazed cake, to the edges. If you like, you can lightly nudge some of the chocolate so it splatters over the side.
“Reprinted from the Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook” Copyright © 2022 by Brian Noyes. Published by Clarkson Potter, a Random House imprint.
Buy a copy from The Bookshop. This article originally appeared in August 2022 Output.