Thursday, September 27, 2007

Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts

If you don't know who Elizabeth Falkner is, you need to get her new book, Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake, and get a glimpse of her wonderful cooking sensibility as well as her very rock & roll outlook in general. Falkner is a pastry chef in San Francisco, and the owner of three restaurants: Citizen Cake (her first), Citizen Cupcake and Orson. This book is a collection of recipes from her restaurants as well as other flights of dessert fancy.

The book is decorated with beautiful photographs of her desserts as well as manga*-style illustrations (by Falkner's brother Ryan) of Falkner's cartoon alter ego Caremi—named, I'm guessing, for the legendary French pastry chef Antoine Carême.

And then there's the food. The book includes both the most elementary desserts—like chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cupcakes—as well as restaurant-style productions numbers, like Gingerbread Bauhaus (chipotle gingerbread, pear sorbet, pomegranate gel, royal icing shards) or Apple of My Eye (tarte tatin apples, cheddar crumbles, cinnamon ice cream, balsamic-apple reduction).

Each recipe comes with instructions on what components can be made ahead, as well as a category called "Minimalist Version." The Minimalist Version tells you how to make a less restaurant-y dessert with all the same flavors. When there is no way to minimize the dessert, it will say "Nope. Don't do it" or "It would be a mistake to minimize this one."

Even if you don't ever cook from this book, it's worth reading just for the good information you get on basic dessert ingredients (like sugar), and for a peek inside the mind of an extremely inventive chef.

*manga is the Japanese style of cartooning that, in its animated form, is called animé.

No comments:

Post a Comment