Zoe Nathan has the zany, freewheeling air of a person on a permanent sugar high. "It's a huge pastry playground," she boasts of her bakery. Her salted-caramel squares are just as bold, with tender caramel atop a dense, buttery crust. "I've always loved salt and sugar," she says. "As a kid, I'd dip my fries in milk shakes." More Fantastic Dessert Bars
The trick to these crisp, chewy bagels is the poolish, a fermentation starter (also known as a mother dough) made with bread flour, yeast, and water. It is quickly assembled the night before the bagels are made.
Zoe Nathan, the pastry chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California, prefers to be called a baker, which better reflects her unpretentious style. "I like making desserts that go from oven to table without a lot of fussing and futzing," she says. Her stunning yet simple crostata, which uses juicy blood oranges at their peak, is nothing but sweet-tart oranges and a bit of sugar on a flaky, buttery crust. More Pie and Tart Recipes
A terrific make-ahead breakfast strata from baker and pastry chef Zoe Nathan, who uses multigrain bread to add a distinct flavor to this satisfying casserole. Slideshow: Great Strata Recipes