A hot-milk sponge cake made a good base in our Boston Cream Pie recipe because it didn’t require any finicky folding or separating of eggs. Baking the batter in two pans eliminated the need to slice a single cake horizontally before adding the filling. We used butter to firm up our pastry cream, and we added corn syrup to heavy cream and melted chocolate for a smooth glaze that clung to the top of our Boston Cream Pie and dripped artistically down its sides.
Unlike most pie lovers, if I’m given a choice between a fruit- or custard-filled one, I always reach for the custard one first. The rich, custardy smoothness draws me in every time. This pie is no exception; the added brûléed sugar top gives the ensemble a slight crunch and added dimension in flavor.
The herbaceousness of butter lettuce lends itself perfectly to panna cotta. There is a gentle bitterness that cottons to the fat in the cream here. Then come the strawberries and their bright sweetness. A finish of olive oil, and this truly wows.
When it’s too hot outside to bake, but you still need a cake, fridge cakes are the answer! Simple and foolproof, this dessert from the new cookbook Fridge Cakes by Jean-Luc Sady is made by layering shortbread and whipped cream with marshmallows and chocolate in a loaf tin, then chilling the cake in the fridge for 3 hours before serving.
Sonker has spent too much time in the shadows. We wanted to give this Appalachian original its due.
Most recipes call for using a stand mixer, but we found this counterproductive to our goal of chewy, dense cookies because the mixer beats air into the dough. Instead we make our dough by hand, melting the butter for easier mixing.
Baked goods do something peculiar when boiled with milk: they dissolve and become stretchy and elastic. Throw the mixture into a blender, and this strange concoction becomes velvety and thick, like pudding. I first encountered this magic trick at a restaurant full of them, called Alinea. There, a pudding made by boiling brioche and cream was served with raspberries for an elegant “toast-and-jam” bite. Since then, I’ve applied the same principle to just about every other kind of bakery treat I can get my hands on—like gingerbread or devil’s food cake. Most recently, I’ve been reducing glazed donuts to a velvety pudding to flavor ice cream.
When it came time for Dan, my main squeeze, to celebrate his mother’s birthday, he made it clear that she wasn’t a cake person. Lucky for me, Holli is an ice cream person, and a popcorn lover as well, so I set myself to the task of making a buttered popcorn ice cream for her birthday. This was my first chance to make an impression on her, and I was determined it be a delicious one.
Meringue pie can be tricky to prepare. We figure out how to make a perfect lemon meringue pie with a sky-high topping that doesn't weep.