When I was living in Basque country, just outside San Sebastian, I became obsessed with several Spanish sweets. Torrija and Basque cheesecake, especially. There is a pintxos bar in the old town of San Sebastian called La Vina, where they specialise in one thing: tarta de queso, or cheesecake. This is literally the only thing I would go there to eat. They bake approximately ten to fourteen cheesecakes a day, all dark topped and paper ruffled, and they always sell out. This is my version. It works well with acidic fruits such as apricots and citrus. I’ve also made it with poached quince and topped with wild fennel seeds, which was a huge hit. You can either make one large cake or several small ones. If you are going for individual cakes, reduce the baking time to 15 minutes.
Strawberry cake's a southern celebration, often appearing on Juneteenth picnic tables. Traditionally, it's plain cake layered with strawberry buttercream. I've always wanted more strawberry flavor, so I put it in the cake and topping here. Dehydrated strawberries, now sold everywhere as snacks, moisten and soften in a cream cake batter, delivering super berry sweetness. Fresh berries get to shine all by themselves, sitting pretty in a whipped cream cloud.
What’s not to love? A sweet and salty pretzel base, fresh strawberries barely held together with their own juices, and a whipped coconut cream topping. This is something I remember eating during the peak of hot Nebraska summers. I always tried to scrape more than my fair share of the salty pretzels on the bottom.
This recipe comes to us from chef Hugh Acheson and his book Pick a Pickle. You can also try his recipe for Pickled Blueberries. Acheson discusses more things to consider when pickling fruits and vegetables with Francis Lam during the listener question segment of our episode "How Restaurants Are Dealing." He also suggests two great pickling and food preservation resources, the Ball Jar website and University of Georgia's National Center for Home Food Preservation.
This is my absolute favorite way to eat pineapple. Beautifully caramelized on the outside and even juicer and sweeter on the inside after roasting.
Expert baker Christina Tosi, of Milk Bar fame, shared with us this recipe for her amazing and world-famous chocolate chip cookies. Find more delicious recipes at Christina's website.
A proper tart shell should be golden brown, uniformly thin, crispy, and have smooth, clean edges. When you bite into it, it should melt in your mouth as you chew. I’m practical when it comes to tart shells. To me, a tart shell must serve a purpose: it should carry as much fresh fruit as possible. During the summer in France, this means a punnet of ripe woodland strawberries—they taste so sweet, they could be candy—arranged on top of a layer of whipped vanilla ganache. I add as many as I can, so there’s not a sliver of ganache visible. A little strawberry jam piped on top deepens the tart’s flavor.
There’s something about a pastry cream that no mousse or ganache can ever replicate. It’s smooth and custardy—the perfect texture. You can eat it on its own by the spoonful almost like pudding, but it’s terrific in tarts and on cakes. It’s sturdy enough not to collapse under the weight of fresh berries, and subtle in flavor, so it highlights even the most delicate fruits.
Don’t be intimidated by the fancy name—chocolate ganache is just a mixture of chocolate and cream. A good chocolate ganache recipe is incredibly versatile. It can be infused with herbs and spices to create vibrant and flavorful fillings for truffles, or even melted into milk to make a rich cup of cocoa. When liquid, ganache can be used to glaze a cake; when set, it can be whipped and used to fill or even frost cakes.
If you’re looking for a healthy dessert recipe, I am giving you one right here. This bite is a cross between a nut bar and a praline. The maple syrup and honey caramelize and harden slightly giving you a crunchy, nutty bite with just a hint of sweetness. Perfect for your next hiking trip!