The 22-year-old blogger Kamran Siddiqi is fascinated by classic desserts (“I have an old soul,” he explains). Here, the pie and cake recipes he’s perfected.
Kamran Siddiqi never met his great-grandmother, but he calls her one of the most influential people in his life: A brilliant home cook, she won culinary competitions all over India. Siddiqi was only five when he started cooking, too. Living in New York with his parents, he began teaching himself how to bake the desserts in Joy of Cooking. “My mother let me loose in the kitchen and told me just not to burn the house down,” he says. Now 22, he has a successful blog, The Sophisticated Gourmet, and a new cookbook, Hand Made Baking. He still learns by trial and error—it took him 80 tries to perfect one recipe—as he masters the desserts that have always eluded his mother. (A terrific cook but an unimpressive baker, she’d respond to her son’s complaints that her cookies were too hard by saying, “Dip them in milk!”) Says Siddiqi: “I have an old soul that reveres quality. I loathe washing dishes, and I love recipes that aren’t patronizing. I keep that in mind in my work because I like to share what I would’ve wanted someone to share with me.”