Au­thor to dis­cuss `Food52 Ge­nius Desserts' on Sun­day

Tulsa World - - Foodscene - By James D. Watts Jr.

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

for serv­ing

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about

8 limes)

10 oz. Ritz crack­ers (85 crack­ers, from about 3

sleeves)

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

ex­tract

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.”

COUR­TESY/James Ran­som

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.

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