Author to discuss `Food52 Genius Desserts' on Sunday
The hardest part about writing her latest cookbook was when Kristen Miglore had to tell her mother she wouldn't be among geniuses.
Miglore, the creative director at the website Food52, recently published “Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake” (Ten Speed Press, $35).
It's the follow-up to Miglore's award-winning “Food52 Genius Recipes,” a book that contained a good number of dessert recipes of its own.
“Everyone needs a few recipes for weeknight dinners and the like, but the things that people really respond to are the desserts,” Miglore said. “Because of that, it was pretty easy to determine what our next book would be.”
Miglore began by reaching out the Food52 community, asking them to submit their favorite, and most trusted, dessert recipes.
“I wanted those recipes that people went to time and time again, whenever they need to bring something to the office or to a party,” she said. “Then I went on to food writers and chefs and test kitchens for their input.”
Then came months of testing and tasting all sorts of recipes, sometimes making as many as 11 different dishes in a day.
What qualifies a recipe as a “Genius Recipe” is that one that typically can be made fairly quickly and easily, with ingredients most cooks have at hand or that are easily obtainable at any grocery store.
“The way I see it,” Miglore said, “is that there is no reason why you can't have fresh-baked goods at home, no matter how busy you might be.”
However, the book does include recipes that are more complicated and require slightly more refined techniques and skills to pull off successfully.
“That's because, for a lot of people, baking is a pastime, something they do for enjoyment,” Miglore said. “And some times you want to take on something that's more of a project.”
Still, some recipes in “Food52 Genius Desserts” may look complicated, but looks can be deceiving — as when what you thought were chocolate chip cookies turn out to be oatmeal raisin.
“The apple butter doughnut recipe is one of those,” Miglore said. “It's based on Japanese milk bread techniques. Yes, it takes three days to do, but you are only doing these little bursts of activity each of those days. And you end up with fluffier, moister doughnuts.”
Miglore had already embarked on a career in economics when she decided that food was more fascinating than finance. She earned a master's degree in food studies from New York University and a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education.
She joined Food52, founded by former New York Times food writers and cooks Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, when the website launched. Her “Genius Recipes” column has earned her a James Beard Award nomination and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Award.
Her bio on her Amazon page states that “She lives in Brooklyn and usually has a pastry in her purse.”
“Actually, I do have a pastry in my purse today,” she said, laughing. “We were testing some recipes today, and one was for this incredible olive oil cake with cured black olives in it. So I have about threequarters of a cake with me.”
As for her own “Genius Recipe,” that's where she ran somewhat afoul of her mother.
“We have a family recipe for a blueberry cream torte,” Miglore said. “It has this graham cracker crust, a fluffy cream cheese middle and a blueberry topping — it's sort of a no-bake blueberry cheesecake, but lighter.
“However, we had already published it in our `Baking' book, so I didn't think it was right to repeat it in the new book,” she said. “But my mother just couldn't understand why I didn't think that recipe was worthy of being a `Genius Dessert.'”
NIBBY BUCKWHEAT BUTTER COOKIES
1¼ cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup buckwheat flour 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup sugar 2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest, plus more
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about
10 oz. Ritz crackers (85 crackers, from about 3
1. Whisk together the condensed milk and heavy cream in a large bowl until combined. Add the lime zest and juice and whisk until thickened, about 1 minute.
2. Spread 1 cup of the condensed milk mixture on the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate, an 11inch oval casserole, or a similar large shallow dish. Top with a single layer of Ritz crackers. Repeat, alternating layers of filling and crackers, until the dish is full, finishing with a layer of filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight — the longer you wait, the more the crackers will soften and meld with the filling. Serve cold, zesting more fresh lime over the top, if you like. ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt ⅓ cup cacao nibs 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla
J. KENJI LóPEZ-ALT'S TEN-MINUTE LIME CRACKER PIE
1. Whisk together the flours in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and salt ith the back of a large spoon or spatula, or with an electric mixer on medium until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (about 1 minute with the mixer). Stir in the cacao nibs and vanilla. Add the flours and mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Scrape the dough together onto a work surface lined with plastic wrap, and if it still looks loose or unevenly mixed, knead it with your hands a few times, just until smooth.
2. Roll the dough into a 12- by 2-inch log. Bundle the log in the plastic wrap, twisting the ends tightly to help even out the shape, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. To help maintain its round shape, refrigerate the log in an empty paper towel roll or tall drinking glasses.
3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
4. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into ¼-inch rounds. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1½ inches apart.
5. Bake the cookies until they are just beginning to turn brown at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets on a rack. The cookies improve with time and can be stored in an airtight container for at least 1 month.
— Adapted from Alice Medrich, reprinted courtesy “Food52 Genius Desserts.”
BOOK EVENTKristen Miglore (above) will be the guest of a BookSmart Tulsa event, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Mother Road Market, 1124 S. Lewis Ave. She will talk about and sign copies of her book, “Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake.” It is extremely likely that examples of the recipes contained in the book will be available for tasting.