Food52 Co-founders, Amanda and Merrill couldn’t have said it better: “Genius Desserts is—let’s be clear—the book that every person needs. When you’re not a baker, but you need the birthday cake. When you’ve tried every chocolate mousse but haven’t found one that sticks. When you’re short on time and want your efforts in the kitchen to count.”
Get your copy of Genius Desserts today! And preview some of the featured recipes from the cookbook below.
No-Bake Persimmon & Goat Cheese Cheesecake
From: Louisa Shafia
Makes one 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25CM) cheesecake
1 1/2 cups (180g) shelled pistachios
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream, very cold
1 cup (80g) finely crushed graham crackers (from just over 5 whole crackers)
3 ⁄4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (185g) melted unrefined coconut oil, slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225g) sugar
Fine sea salt
5 very ripe Hachiya persimmons or other fruit
1 pound (450g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature, crumbled
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Toast the pistachios in a large skillet over low heat, tossing occasionally, until they turn golden and smell nutty, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Lightly oil a 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25cm) springform pan with coconut oil.
2. In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer or by hand, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Scrape the whipped cream into a small bowl to refrigerate briefly, but don’t wash the mixer and bowl.
3. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios, graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil, the cinnamon, cardamom, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and a pinch of salt until the mixture clumps easily when pinched with your fingers. Scrape the crumb mixture into the springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom, pressing it down with your hands. Use the bottom of a juice glass to pack it down well.
4. Halve the persimmons, scoop the pulp into a blender, and puree at high speed until smooth. If you want an even smoother puree, you can pass it through a fine-mesh stainer. Set aside 1⁄2 cup (120ml) of the puree and store the rest airtight in the refrigerator.
5. With the still-messy mixer and bowl, whip the goat cheese, the remaining 3⁄4 cup (150g) coconut oil, and the remaining 1 cup (200g) sugar until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the 1⁄2 cup (120ml) persimmon puree, the lime juice, and a pinch of salt, then fold in the whipped cream. Scrape the creamy mixture into the crust and smooth the top. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
6. To serve, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the pan, remove the sides of the pan, and cut the cheesecake into wedges. Garnish each slice with a generous spoonful of the remaining persimmon puree and pass the rest of the puree at the table. Store leftovers in the refrigerator airtight.
Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
From: Francois Payard
Makes about 12 (4-inch/10cm) cookies
2 3/4 cups (275g) walnut halves
3 cups (350g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (70g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (see page 5)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Spread the walnut halves on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until they turn golden and smell toasty, about 9 minutes.
2. Let the walnuts cool to the touch, then transfer them to a cutting board and coarsely chop them. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
3. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and walnuts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until the mixture has just slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
4. Using a 2-ounce (60ml) cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 mounds, spacing them 3 inches (7.5cm) apart. Put the baking sheets in the oven, immediately lower the temperature to 325°F (165°C), and bake until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto two racks to let the cookies cool completely before removing the cookies from the parchment. They shouldn’t stick, but if they do, check out the tip for releasing them on page 30. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Coffee Cardamom Walnut Cakes
From Claire Ptak
Makes 12 mini cakes
3 ⁄4 cup (75g) walnut halves
1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (see page 5)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns (or substitute freshly ground black pepper)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (180g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150g) sugar 2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210g) crème fraîche
1 1/2 cups (185g) confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly brewed strong coffee or espresso
Coffee Cardamom Walnut Cakes
1. To make the cakes, heat the oven to 350°F (175°C), with a rack in the center. Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin and dust with bread crumbs or flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Spread the walnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and warm them through in the oven for no more than 5 minutes—you’re not toasting them, just bringing out the fragrant oils. Let the nuts cool to the touch, then transfer them to a cutting board and finely chop them.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, pink peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl. Whisk in the chopped nuts.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat just to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Add the crème fraîche and mix just until combined.
5. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin wells. Bake until the cakes spring back to the touch, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool in their wells for about 10 minutes, then gently slide them out (you may need to run a small paring knife around the inside of the wells to ease the cakes out). Turn the cakes upside down on a rack and let cool completely.
6. To make the icing, whisk together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the coffee in a bowl. Add up to 1 more tablespoon coffee, whisking until the consistency of the icing is thick but pourable. Spoon the icing over the cakes, using the back of a spoon to nudge it toward the edges so that it drips over the sides. Let the icing set, about 30 minutes, before serving. Store any leftovers airtight at room temperature.
From: Marcella Hazan
Makes about 16 pieces
1 1/4 cups (170g) whole blanched almonds (or 11 ⁄ 2 cups/170g slivered, but not sliced)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225g) sugar
1 large potato, washed and dried well, and cut in half crosswise (for process step)
1. Using a knife, very finely chop the almonds into bits about half the size of a grain of rice. Scoop the chopped almonds into a bowl, leaving the smallest dusty particles behind.
2. Spread a large sheet of parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil flat on a heat-safe counter or board and smear the parchment evenly with the vegetable oil.
3. Combine the sugar and 1⁄4 cup (55g) water in a small saucepan with a light-colored interior (preferably lightweight) and melt the sugar over medium-highheat without stirring, but swirling and tilting the pan occasionally. When the melted sugar turns a rich tawny gold color, 8 to 10 minutes, add the chopped almonds and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the almond and caramelized sugar mixture turns a very dark brown, about 2 minutes more. Pour it, immediately but carefully, over the oiled parchment paper. Pick up one half of the potato and use the cut side to smooth the hot praline until it’s about 1⁄8 inch (3mm) thick.
4. When the croccante is cool enough to touch but not fully cool, flip or slide the slab onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment. Cut the slab into roughly 2-inch (5cm) diamond shapes and let cool completely. Store in an airtight jar in a dry, cool place at room temperature.
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