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California Passion Fruit Bars

The first time anyone tastes something new, the moment can become etched in memory. This is true, of course, if it’s a “Wow, I want more of that” event or possibly quite the opposite. My Wow Moment happened in Hawaii when I bit into a passion fruit bar, a riff on the classic Lemon Bars: [...]

Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Greg Patent thebakingwizard

Here’s a special dessert for Valentine’s Day. It’s a special kind of soufflé — a flourless gluten-free cake, actually — that is meant to fall before serving. How much fun is that? It’s similar to a classic soufflé batter but contains a goodly amount of extra butter, which makes it heavier than traditional soufflé formulas. [...]

Ladyfingers

Greg Patent The Baking Wizard

When’s the last time you made ladyfingers? What? You can’t remember? And what the heck are they, anyway? Well, they’re sort of finger-shaped sponge cakes made from an airy batter of beaten egg yolks and egg whites and cake flour. I learned how to make them watching Julia Child on the French Chef episode “Introducing Charlotte Malakoff.” I get a thrill whipping up whites and yolks, and Julia made everything look so easy, I decided to try my hand at them. You can watch this episode on Amazon.com. Julia Child, The French Chef, Season 3, Episode 10.

Chocolate Almond Macaroons

I’m a macaroon lover from way back.  I’m not talking about macarons, the French sandwich cookies made with beaten egg whites. Macaroons do contain egg whites, but they’re simply stirred into the other ingredients. Coconut macaroons are among my favorites—chewy and sweet and altogether a pleasure to eat. But what about almonds? I just adore [...]

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Brownies

Sometimes I want a sweet baked treat but I don’t know what it is specifically. A cookie? Cake maybe?  Often a flavor or texture or both might pop into my mind and soon clarity sets in. A few days ago I found myself in this pleasant quandary when I suddenly remembered a brownie recipe I [...]

Kulebyaka: King of Russian Salmon Pies

I am completely smitten with a smashing new cookbook on Russian cooking, “T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks” (2018, University of North Texas Press), written by Sharon Hudgins, a Russian scholar and former University of Maryland professor. Sharon and I have known each other for many years, and I was thrilled when she sent me a [...]

Peachy Topsy-Turvy Cake

Greg Patent upside down peach cake

There’s really nothing like an absolutely ripe peach. When I bite into one—peeled or not, the taste I get as the juices run into my mouth make me moan with delight. Does this happen to you, too? Peaches are at their peak right now, and instead of just eating all of them fresh or making [...]

Strawberry Cream Cake

Here’s  a wonderful dessert to make now, during local strawberry season, where you’ll find farmers markets to be gold mines of succulent and perfectly ripe strawberries. Local berries are so tender and sweet and red all the way through with no crunchy cores. They also tend to be a lot smaller than commercial berries and [...]

Spicy Cheese Cornbread

Greg Patent the baking wizard

Years ago, when I was young, Carl and Shirley Sontheimer, then owners of Cuisinarts, Inc., hired me to travel all over the country to teach people how to use the food processor. One of the many recipes I created was, “Yogurt and Jalapeño Corn Bread.” I demonstrated it all over the country and people raved [...]

Maida Heatter’s Queen Mother’s Cake

Greg Patent. The Baking Wizard.

So here’s Maida Heatter’s most popular recipe, according to Saveur magazine: Queen Mother’s Cake. It’s a moist, light-textured, flourless chocolate cake made with finely ground almonds, butter, sugar, eggs, and semi- or bittersweet chocolate and glazed with a bittersweet chocolate ganache.  Maida published the recipe in her first cookbook, “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts,” [...]