Photo of Lisa Donovan
Photo of Lisa Donovan

Lisa Donovan

Lisa Donovan is a James Beard Award-winning writer and chef who has redefined what it means to be a "Southern baker" as the pastry chef to some of the South's most influential chefs.

Expertise: Baking, Pastry, Foodways, Social Justice

Experience: Lisa Donovan has been formative in developing, writing, and establishing a technique-driven, historically rich narrative of traditional Southern pastry in restaurants across the country, and in print. She is a regular contributor to Food & Wine and has been a featured speaker at René Redzepi's globally renowned MAD Symposium, discussing the culture and responsibilities of restaurants. Lisa centers her work on advocacy and education. Her recipes and writing have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, Literary Hub, and Saveur. She is the author of "Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger", which earned her a Les Dames d'Escoffier International M.F.K. Fisher Prize in 2021.
Chef and author Lisa Donovan has found herself questioning how she can best be of service to her community. It's taken her back to the kitchen.
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Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Rating: Unrated
New!
The key to a perfect panna cotta is the right ratio of gelatin to dairy. Lisa Donovan uses just enough to set each dessert while maintaining a creamy, luscious texture. Using vanilla bean paste adds beautiful flecks to each panna cotta, but vanilla extract will work well, too.
Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls
Rating: Unrated
5
When shaping the rolls, use tension in your cupped hand rather than too much excess flour to coax the dough into a ball. A generous brushing of melted butter on the baked rolls adds shine and flavor, while ajowan seeds offer an herbal bite reminiscent of thyme and cumin.
Pouring the batter into a hot skillet ensures a perfectly cooked, dark golden–bottomed crust with a fluffy, golden interior. To check for doneness, rely on the visual cues for browning—a cake tester will come out clean before the cake is cooked through.
Buttermilk Cream
Rating: Unrated
New!
Whole buttermilk adds a cultured tang to classic sweetened whipped cream. A touch of sugar and salt balance the light and airy topping; adjust them to taste. Serve this easy dessert-topper with Lisa Donovan's cast-iron cornmeal cake.
Using a European-style butter with a higher butterfat percentage produces a super-flaky, tender, and flavorful crust. Donovan does not include sugar in her crust, but the high ratio of butter provides plenty of browning and flavor.
Dried Apple Hand Pies
Rating: Unrated
4
As the dried apple slices rehydrate and cook in each delicate hand pie, they transform into a saucy, concentrated filling. To create a smoother, rather than chunky, apple filling, smash apples with the side of a spoon while stirring.
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An award-winning pastry chef traces the arc of her career through her kitchen notebooks.
Acclaimed pastry chef Lisa Donovan details her experiences with sexual harassment, both in and outside of the kitchen, and calls upon men to stop looking the other way. "I refuse to be afraid to say these things out loud any longer," she writes.
Dried Apple Hand Pies
Rating: Unrated
4
As the dried apple slices rehydrate and cook in each delicate hand pie, they transform into a saucy, concentrated filling. To create a smoother, rather than chunky, apple filling, smash apples with the side of a spoon while stirring.
An award-winning pastry chef traces the arc of her career through her kitchen notebooks.
Acclaimed pastry chef Lisa Donovan details her experiences with sexual harassment, both in and outside of the kitchen, and calls upon men to stop looking the other way. "I refuse to be afraid to say these things out loud any longer," she writes.
Superjuicy, indescribably tender and more aromatic than any green-market peach you've ever tasted, the fruit sold by The Peach Truck has Nashville's best cooks swooning. Pastry chef Lisa Donovan takes a bite.
Pastry chef Lisa Donovan tells why she decided to send herself to school in the kitchen.
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Chef Lisa Donovan shares a recipe honoring Edna Lewis and M.F.K. Fisher—the women who inspired her to cook—and changed her life.
Peach Hand Pies
Rating: Unrated
1
These adorable peach hand pies are a fun alternative to a traditional pie. Freeze them up to a month in advance and pop in the oven for an impressive last-minute dessert. Slideshow:  More Hand Pies 
Peach-Buttermilk Ice Cream
Rating: Unrated
New!
Be sure to use the best buttermilk you can get for this recipe: The ice cream is just as much about the rich, tangy buttermilk as it is the fragrant peaches. Slideshow:  More Ice Creams 
Caramel Layer Cake
Rating: Unrated
New!
This impressive cake is encased in a fudge-like caramel frosting. Pastry chef Lisa Donovan adapted it from a recipe by Southern-cooking doyenne Edna Lewis. Slideshow:  More Layer Cake Recipes 
Semolina Budino
Rating: Unrated
New!
This comforting, not-too-sweet pudding is pastry chef Lisa Donovan’s ode to the spoon bread in M.F.K. Fisher’s classic How to Cook a Wolf. Slideshow:  More Gooey Dessert Recipes