Books: The Lee Brothers

50573602Brothers Matt and Ted Lee are out with a new book, “The Lee Bros. Charleston Cookbook.”

I don’t have it. But I’d like it. Hint, hint.

But I don’t feel like I’m missing it, in part because I continually turn to the pages of their 6-year-old book, “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook” for fresh ideas and concepts.

You won’t know them from the Food Network. The Lee Brothers aren’t restaurant cooks, either. They grew up in Charleston, S.C., but fled to the Northeast for college. There, they founded a southern specialty foods company, The Lee Brothers Boiled Peanuts Catalogue. They now spend their time as food and travel writers.

I don’t generally rip off recipes, but this is one I follow word for word. We first prepared it for summer smorgasbord guests, and it was a hit. We’ve served it twice since.

Hint: Cook these directly in the pan, as suggested. Don’t try to use paper muffin cups, unless you want half of the cake to cling to the paper.


3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups (8 ounces) fresh raspberries
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.

Sift together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In another large bowl beat eggs until creamy and yellow. Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, and butter (mixture will look curdled and broken). Slowly add flour and whisk until batter is smooth and combined.

Spray 8 standard-size (3-ounce) nonstick muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan cups, filling about two-thirds full. Transfer to oven and bake until sides of cakes are evenly browned (check by inserting a knife tip between the rim of cake and muffin cup, pulling gently to expose side of cake), about 9 minutes. If cakes are not evenly browned, they will not hold together when inverted. Continue baking, checking every minute, until evenly browned.

Meanwhile, place raspberries in a medium bowl; add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and gently toss to coat.

Invert cakes onto eight individual plates. Place berries on top and alongside cakes; serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Servings: 8.


3 thoughts on “Books: The Lee Brothers

  1. Ali says:

    Bill, do you make your own buttermilk or buy it? Also, if you don’t use it all in a recipe, do you have any go-to uses for it? I hate buying for one recipe and not having other uses, feels wasteful. Just curious what the chef would do!

    • I buy it.

      I would tell you that leftovers never go to waste. They go into biscuits and pancakes and homemade ranch dressing. But the last part would be a lie because I almost never make my own ranch dressing.

      Ronnybrook Farm, which has a shop in Chelsea Market and has products available in every “nice” market, used to sell its own “real” buttermilk. The stuff we buy in stores is fake.

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