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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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F&W Gift Guide

Giftable Sweets from from Dominique Ansel and Other Top Pastry Chefs

Pastry Shop Gifts: Chris Hanmer

The experts behind the recipes here may be famous for their complex creations, but some of their best sweets are their simplest. Read more >

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Best Thanksgiving Tips

Serve Something Fresh and Tangy for Dessert

Lemon Curd Parfaits

Not everyone has the fortitude to handle a rich dessert after a big holiday meal. Pastry chef Sarah Jordan of Chicago's Boka prefers to go the fresh and tangy route. Her three recipes are light, refreshing and very pretty too. Read more >

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Best Thanksgiving Tips

Instead of Pies, Make Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars

There's nothing wrong with the usual pecan, pumpkin or fruit pies, but serving the classic fillings as pie bars is fun, surprising and an easier way to feed a crowd. To make these three recipes from pastry chef Sarah Jordan of Chicago's Boka, you don't even need to roll out dough; you simply press it into the baking dish. Read more >

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Staff Favorites

The Incredible Forgiving Bundt

Matt Lewis of Baked

Baker Matt Lewis; © Chris Court

In our December issue, baker Matt Lewis, co-owner of Brooklyn’s amazing Baked, talks about his Bundt cake obsession, and why the dessert is an excellent fit for the holidays. Bundts are versatile, essentially self-decorating (they require little adornment other than a dusting of confectioners’ sugar) and much easier to transport than frosting-covered cakes. They are also incredibly forgiving, something we learned in the F&W Test Kitchen while trying to troubleshoot a cake recipe for a different story. When we attempted to bake a Bundt recipe using loaf pans, the results—while delicious—had sunken tops that were just too sad-looking to serve.

But why would the different shape affect the final result? For guidance, we turned to Shirley O. Corriher’s indispensible and brilliant baking reference, BakeWise. Corriher writes, “With cakes, many times an overleavened recipe is baked in a Bundt or tube pan.… It doesn’t matter if the top of the [cake] in a Bundt or tube pan is slightly sunken, you’re going to turn it upside down. No one will ever know!”

Of course: Cakes baked in Bundt pans are served bottom-up, with the decorative molding from the pan on display. In our case, the recipe in question had too much baking soda, causing the cake to rise too quickly in the hot oven and then deflate as the fast-rising bubbles popped. We corrected the leavening to produce lovely little loaf cakes, but we also gained some admiration for the humble Bundt: From now on it’s our go-to pan for any delicious-but-cosmetically-challenged cake recipes.

Related: The Beauty of Bundt Cakes
Best Cake Recipes
Gorgeous Christmas Desserts

Expert Lessons

Incredible Christmas Cookie Gifts Tags

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Christmas Cookie Gift Tags

Christmas Cookie Gifts Tags © Seton Rossini.

F&W’s Seton Rossini applies her graphic design talents to the gorgeous dessert blog Pixel Whisk. Some of her entertaining showstoppers include cupcakes that so closely resemble adorable potted succulent plants that recipients might be tempted to water them, and DIY cake stands made from vintage plates and goblets. Here, she explains how to create clever edible gift tags using a delicious Food & Wine sugar cookie recipe flecked with lemon zest. As Seton says "These tasty Christmas cookies can double as gift tags, place settings or even ornaments! (Just keep your dogs and toddlers away from the tree or your ornaments will go missing.)"

To see how to transform cookies in just a few steps click through the slideshow

Related: Beautiful Gifts to Make or Buy
Gift Picks from Star Chefs
Holiday Inspiration Served Daily

Grace in the Kitchen

Multilayered Crêpe Cake

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© William Meppem

Turning crêpes with a spatula often causes them to break. The easiest way
to flip them is with your fingers. Use a spatula or a table knife to lift up
the edge, then gently pick up the crêpe and flip it over.
© William Meppem

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.

The funny thing about crêpes is that I always forget just how easy they are to make until I have to test or develop a recipe for them. Then, I remind myself to make them more often (which I never do). I have started tearing out, bookmarking and flagging old recipes that I’ve either developed or tested and loved and have forgotten about. (I may have to try get a Pinterest account.)

It’s hard to remember what happened last week, let alone in 2001 (unless, of course, you’re Tina Ujlaki, whose memory is positively elephant-like), so forcing myself to look back has been supercomforting. There are dozens and dozens of recipes that I’d always wanted to make again, but then I had to move on to the next thing and poof, they disappeared. I’m going to try this chocolate and dulce de leche torte again—I know my kids will go crazy for it. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Beautiful Desserts
Mexican Desserts
F&W's Ultimate Holiday Guide

Expert Lessons

Top 10 Crimes Against Pie

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© Brian M. Heiser

© Brian M. Heiser

At Chicago’s Hoosier Mama Pie Company, former Trio pastry chef Paula Haney and her team make up to 600 pies a week, kneading dough nonstop for as much as an hour per day, and burning through literally a ton of flour in as little as eight weeks. But practice does make perfect, as Haney’s pies—like her Cherry-Berry Pie—come out superbly flaky and intensely flavorful. Here, Haney tips off home bakers to the many mistakes that can get in the way of pie perfection. 10 pitfalls to avoid when baking pie. »

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Grace in the Kitchen

Sweet, Tart and Creamy: The Perfect Summer Sundae

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Honey-Lime Strawberries with Whipped Cream // © Ryan Liebe

Strawberries become a bracing summer dessert when served over a scoop of lemon sorbet. / © Ryan Liebe

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.

Strawberries and cream is such a trite, hackneyed combination, but one I will unapologetically never grow tired of. It just needs a little help from some well-conceived ingredients. Here, I've made a quick syrup of mild honey, fresh lime juice and a hint of cardamom, brought it to a boil and poured it over sliced strawberries. Thirty minutes later, cooled and juicy, the compote is poured over tart lemon sorbet and topped with honey-spiked whipped cream. A little bit of lime zest makes this refreshing, quick dessert even brighter. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Fantastic Strawberry Recipes
F&W's Ultimate Summer Fruit Recipes
Healthy Fruit Desserts

Grace in the Kitchen

Fruit and Crumble: Separate but Equal

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Peaches and Plums with Sesame Crumble // © Ryan Liebe

Prepare the crust and fruit portions of this delicious crumble before baking them together so the topping stays crispy.

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.

After years of struggling with soggy fruit crumbles, I stumbled upon a clever method while testing a chef's recipe (huh, imagine that?). Cook the filling and crumble separately, and then bake them together for a few minutes to marry the flavors. Ta-da! The fruit is tender and jammy, and the crumble is crisp and perky. It's completely equal to the sum of its delicious and perfectly cooked parts! SEE RECIPE »

Grace in the Kitchen

Ooey-Gooey Creamy and Crunchy Cake Sundae

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German Chocolate Cake Sundae / © Ryan Liebe

F&W's Grace Parisi reimagines the flavors of a German chocolate cake into this decadent sundae.

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.

How can anyone not love ice cream sundaes? And the same goes for German chocolate cake. It just "goggles the mind" as a friend of mine says. For those who fall into the above category, skip ahead to tomorrow's post about tofu and millet. But for those of you who do love cake and ice cream, I urge you to try this deconstructed German chocolate cake sundae. A good sundae has three crucial components: ice cream, a gooey sauce and a crunchy topping. This one has coconut ice cream, a pecan-coconut caramel sauce (like the classic cake filling) and crumbled chocolate wafers. Feel free to try different ice creams and nuts—it's a template waiting to be played with. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Delicious Ice Cream Sundaes
Chilled Chocolate Desserts
Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S.

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