These tasty recipes include honeyed fig crostatas and banana pudding with a vanilla wafer crumble.
Food & Wine
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Towering Coconut Layer Cake
Because Tyler Florence wanted his Wayfare Tavern to feel like a century-old San Francisco institution, he researched menus dating all the way back to the Gold Rush. This cake couldn't be more traditional: four layers of rum-brushed yellow cake filled and frosted with a light and airy, coconut-scented meringue-buttercream.
Ad Hoc's chef de cuisine Dave Cruz created this rich chocolate mousse as a refined homage to the pudding he loved as a child. At the restaurant he serves it simply, but it's also wonderful garnished with giant curls of bittersweet chocolate made with a vegetable peeler.
Kathleen Callahan of Seattle’s Emmer & Rye started her career studying marine biology, then segued into cooking fish in restaurants. Her latest move was to the pastry kitchen; she decided it would be much more pleasant to "smell like vanilla at the end of my shift." Today she makes delicious desserts like this frozen pie topped with slow-simmered cranberries.
Moon pies are classic Southern cookies filled with marshmallow and coated with chocolate. Rebekah Turshen, the pastry chef at Nashville’s City House, models hers on the classic, but also on the excellently named Goo-Goo Clusters, a peanut candy invented in Nashville in 1912. She spreads crispy sugar cookies with chocolate and peanut butter, then sandwiches them around a marshmallow filling.
Yigit Pura perfected this crisp-creamy French dessert while working at restaurant Daniel in New York City. His updated version combines little lime meringue kisses with basil ice cream and sweet mango sorbet.
Most pastry chefs love lemon and orange. Deborah Snyder of Manhattan's Lever House, however, champions the also-ran of the citrus world: grapefruit. In one cold, creamy dessert, she layers pink grapefruit curd in a crunchy graham-cracker crust with caramel sauce and a delicate topping of fluffy meringue.
Flo Braker flavors her ethereally light shortbread with finely ground espresso beans. The best part is the golden, gooey butterscotch glaze, which becomes deliciously fudgy as the bars sit in the cookie jar.
Kevin Sbraga credits his father, Harvey Beachem, with creating these linzer torte-inspired cookies at Harvey's Bakery in Willingboro, New Jersey. He takes his father's recipe one step further, adding anise and coriander to the raspberry jam that he spreads between the hazelnut cookies (which are spiced with cinnamon and cloves).
The Help’s ending hinges on a secret involving Minny’s famous chocolate pie. Newspaper columnist Lee Ann Flemming, one of the best bakers in Greenwood, made 53 chocolate pies during filming, including 12 vegan and gluten-free versions she prepared in just one day for actress Bryce Dallas Howard. Her fudgy version here is neither vegan nor gluten-free: It’s as classic as it gets. You can make your own crust, but Flemming uses packaged.