Oct 31, 201801:01 PMBlog
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When I hear about Food 52’s “genius” recipes, I picture white-coated scientists rubbing their hands together and laughing gleefully. With apologies to the scientists in my family, the reality is perhaps more effective. The newest book of the genius series is about dessert. To find the recipes, editor Kristen Miglore reached out to both amateur and professional bakers for their favourite tips and recipes. If you’re a foodie, you will recognize the names of the bakers who provided the recipes or the restaurants where they were made famous. The recipes were tested and retested by the editor with the assistance of Food52 volunteers and the result is a well-curated book of desserts.
I liked the criteria for genius desserts: The results must taste very good. The recipes must be easy, and if not, be worth the extra effort. They solve problems, like making ice cream without an ice-cream maker. They surprise us, like amazing chocolate sauce or chocolate sorbet with no dairy. And they innovate and move our baking forward. The book offers tips for repurposing leftovers like pie crust scraps and creating “magic potions” like toasted milk powder and chocolate magic dust.
So what did I make? I was a bit of a mad scientist with my choices. I made Vegan Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting and it blew me away. The addition of pureed avocado makes the cake incredibly moist. While the icing was too sweet for my taste, I would make the whole thing again and adjust the sugar. If you prefer butter, the book also contains a recipe for Classic Yellow Butter Cake with Neoclassic Buttercream.
I also made Parsnip Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. I hear you thinking – why Naomi would you make a parsnip cake when you could make Chocolate Cloud Cake or Butterscotch Budino? Especially when you are not a fan of parsnips? Good question but the world is bigger than chocolate and caramel, my friends. The parsnips were not specifically identifiable and it was a deliciously moist and dense spice cake. I made it into a layer cake and it worked. The icing was the highlight and I will definitely make that again. In case the parsnips were a mistake, my back-up cake was the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake. Everyone needs a lemon cake like this in their life. A buttery, tender cake with a clear lemon flavour from a glaze of uncooked lemon juice and sugar, this is a classic. I cut the recipe in half and made it in a loaf pan and that worked too.
I tried the famous World Peace Cookies, because, why not? If you like not-too-sweet dark chocolate shortbread (who doesn’t?), you will like these cookies.
Lots of other recipes left to try - cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and other treats, just in time for your holiday baking. Worth it.