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By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Expert Guide

7 Ways to Upgrade Pie

Pecan Pie with Candied Ginger and Rum

At Boston’s Eastern Standard, pastry chef Lauren Kroesser is updating homey desserts for fall, offering sweets like a butterscotch bread pudding with salted caramel, or her rich pumpkin crémeaux with maple, pomegranate and goat cheese. But she is a pie lady at heart: “It’s my favorite thing by far to make and eat,” says Kroesser. “I love fruit pies and grew up making them with my mom. We would go up to Goodale Orchards in Ipswich every fall and pick apples and get doughnuts. Then we’d make crisps and pies.” Read more >

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Blogger Spotlight

Not Without Dessert

Ashley Rodriguez, author of Not Without Salt

Not Without Salt blogger and former pastry chef Ashley Rodriguez writes about her healthy family dinners and crazy-indulgent desserts. Read more »

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Unsifted

A Pastry Chef's Ode to Paris

Belinda Leong

Photo © Leela Cyd

Belinda Leong of San Francisco’s new B. Patisserie shares simple recipes that re-create her life in France.

Pastry chef Belinda Leong is known for her pedigree (Gary Danko, Manresa, Noma, Pierre Hermé) and for her kouign amann—a buttery, caramelized pastry from France’s Brittany region that resembles a puck-shaped croissant. Now that she’s opened B. Patisserie in San Francisco, customers have a new place to get their kouign amann fix. But Leong also uses her formidable technique to reinvent homespun desserts, such as a salt-flecked crémeux that’s like an intense chocolate pudding. Recipes like these are French in style, but American in spirit. “I want to re-create the life I had in Paris, when I worked at Pierre Hermé, and bring it back here,” Leong says.

Recipes

Cherry Clafoutis
“In France, there’s almond flour in everything—except clafoutis,” Leong says about the fruit dessert baked in batter. Bucking tradition, she includes the flour in her clafoutis to add custardy texture.

Bittersweet-Chocolate Crémeux
Crémeux (French for “creamy”) is a dense, soft, classic pudding that’s the new darling of many American pastry chefs. Leong gives her super-chocolaty version a salty edge.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Brown Butter Crumble
Brown butter, made by warming unsalted butter in a skillet until it is deeply golden, adds a wonderful nutty flavor to a chunky, streusel-like crumble. Sprinkle it on vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauces for outrageously good sundaes.

Lemon and Fresh Sorrel Sherbet
Leong started to incorporate wild greens and herbs into her desserts in 2009, during a foraging internship at the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. When sorrel’s in season, she uses the tart, lemony green to flavor her tangy sherbet, but mint, thyme and basil are also terrific.

Related:
Best New Pastry Chefs 2013
Beautiful Art-Inspired Desserts
French Dessert Recipes
San Francisco Travel

The Thinker Series

Inside the Baker's Studio: Gorgeous Italian Desserts

Pastry Chef Caitlin Freeman's Food Art

Photo © Erin Kunkel

Caitlin Freeman, pastry chef at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, creates stunning desserts for F&W's April issue inspired by Italian paintings and sculpture.

"I love its simplicity,” says Caitlin Freeman, describing how a 1919 Modigliani portrait inspired her to create a nectarine Pavlova—a dessert she came up with specifically for F&W’s Italian issue. As head pastry chef at the Blue Bottle Coffee Bar at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Freeman is surrounded by 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces, all of which spark ideas for recipes. (The best appear in her book Modern Art Desserts, due out this month.) But creating desserts inspired by Italian art from any era posed a different challenge: How to narrow the choices? Freeman says she began the process by asking herself a basic question: What do I like to look at the most? Antonio Canova’s 1793 marble sculpture of Cupid and Psyche turned into a white eclair. An 1892 portrait by Juana Romani took new form as a macaron with lemon curd on a ruffled gold plate (“As you can see, I became obsessed with ruff collars!”). VIEW ART DESSERTS SLIDESHOW »

Expert Guide

Christina Tosi Dreams of Unsung Ways to Eat Chocolate

Christina Tosi Dreams of Chocolate

Photo © David Malosh/ Art © James Maikowski.

Boxed candies can be supremely delicious and sexy. But to impress the truly chocolate-obsessed Valentine on Thursday—and provide shopping alternatives for stumped procrastinators—Momofuku Milk Bar’s sugar mastermind, Christina Tosi, reveals some of the more creative ways to enjoy chocolate.

1. Pair with fruits and vegetables. “Chocolate is a great way to hide the ‘healthy’ in your next tomato cake, beet, celery root or potato concoction, or zucchini bread!”

2. Serve with cheese. “Dark chocolate is great with any grassy cheese, and a great surprise on a cheese platter. You can even make a killer fudge sauce/spread with some grassy goat milk, to sit on your next cheese platter.”

3. Burn it. “Did you know that burning white chocolate slowly makes the most delicious, sweet brown butter bits?” Now you do.

4. Eat it on toast. “Or in toast! With passion fruit curd and a cup of coffee.”

5. Smoke it. “My first run in with this was working as a pastry cook for Sam Mason and chef Wylie Dufresne at WD-50 in New York. We turned smoked chocolate into a killer ice cream.”

Follow writer Jasmin Sun on Twitter @jasminsun.

Related: Christina Tosi's 7 Craziest Cookie Ingredients
F&W Editor Picks: Best Chocolates
DIY Chocolates Candies

Grace in the Kitchen

Three Easy Pieces

© Con Poulos

The chocolate cookies soften as the cake chills overnight for a perfectly
moist, “cheater’s” cheesecake. // © Con Poulos

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

I've had such a blast working on these three-ingredient recipes. I really liked the challenge—it forces me to think in a clear and direct way, which is kind of great in the kitchen, especially when your pantry or wallet is limited. This icebox cake was superfun because the ingredients are completely accessible and not at all elevated: cream cheese, Hershey's chocolate syrup and Nabisco's Original Chocolate Wafers. The texture is like a very light chocolate cheesecake, but it looks more like a five-layer chocolate-buttercream cake.

My first test was with mascarpone instead of cream cheese, but it was a bit problematic because the particular brand of mascarpone I used (though delicious!) always breaks when whipped. Cream cheese is much more sturdy, almost too sturdy, so I had to thin it with a little water (I'd have used milk, but that would have put me over the three-ingredient limit). The chocolate syrup needed to be a thin, pourable kind. Though I'd have prefered a bittersweet hot fudge sauce, I really needed the viscosity and sweetness of the Hershey's. After sitting in the fridge overnight, it came together beautifully and was way more than the sum of its parts. Now all I can think of are all the cool variations: passionfruit juice, cream cheese and Nilla wafers; raspberry jam, cream cheese and chocolate wafers; apricot preserves, cream cheese and gingersnaps; espresso shots, cream cheese and chocolate wafers...Crazy! SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Chilled Chocolate Desserts
Amazing Cheesecake Recipes
Brilliant Three-Ingredient Recipes

 

Most Wanted Recipe

Gale Gand's Chocolate Blackout Cake

Gale Gand's Chocolate Blackout Cake
Chocolate Blackout Cake

Photo © Ryan Liebe.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of F&W’s Best New Chef awards, one of our biggest stars shares one of her most requested recipes.

Gale Gand was named a Best New Chef 1994 while at Trio in Evanston, Illinois. She is now a chef-in-residence at Elawa Farm in nearby Lake Forest, as well as a partner at Tru in Chicago.

Over the course of her memorable baking career, Gale Gand has fielded requests for hundreds of recipes. But the most persistent pleas are for her chocolate blackout cake. She made it for the first time in 1996, when a customer asked her to re-create the recipe from the iconic Brooklyn bakery Ebinger’s, which went out of business in the ’70s. But Gand had never tasted the cake, and the recipe was a secret. So she began researching descriptions. “This was pre-Google; it wasn’t easy,” she says. After multiple tests, Gand arrived at a version she was happy with—layers of tender chocolate cake stuffed with chocolaty filling. “Now, it’s almost an underground thing. Someone will call and say, ‘I hear you do a blackout cake,’ and I’ll say, ‘Who sent you?’” RECIPE: Chocolate Blackout Cake

Related: 50 Chocolate Desserts
22 Chocolate Cakes
Best Hot Chocolate in the U.S.

Wine Wednesday

After-Dinner Wines

Ray Isle, Food & Wine's Executive Wine Editor

Courtesy of Kathryn Rathke

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back after dinner and sip something sweet purely on its own. F&W's Ray Isle names his favorite after-dinner wines.>>

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Grace in the Kitchen

Decadent Candy Cookie

© Christina Holmes

A buttery shortbread crust forms the base for these chewy, chocolaty bars.
© Christina Holmes

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

These have to be one of my favorite chocolate bar cookies. The crust is buttery and crunchy and the topping is fudgy and chewy and completely indulgent. I have to admit, though, that the method is not entirely my own. We tested a homey baking book many months ago that had you combine chocolate (it used semisweet chocolate chips) with sweetened condensed milk to create a sort of quick fudge. It then got combined with something else, so you lost a little of its specialness. For my bars, the fudgy filling takes center stage. I used bittersweet chocolate (the darker the better, I think!) and spread the fudge over a buttery shortbread crust. The mixture is then topped with a pecan streusel and baked. When cooled sufficiently, these cut into the most perfect little bars. I love the high ratio of chocolate to crust—the opposite of a more delicate chocolate-dipped cookie. Most cookies scream for milk, but I have coffee with these because the warmth of the coffee melts the filling, making it ridiculously decadent. SEE RECIPE »

Related: Best Chocolate Desserts
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Best Hot Chocolate in the U.S.

F&W Best List

America's Most Indulgent Pies

Before you have to stick to your New Year's resolution, here are some suggestions on where to find super insane pies. Read More >>

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