What’s for Dessert: Claire Saffitz’s enjoyable and festive reply to the acquainted chorus



Our cookbook of the week is

What’s for Dessert

by Claire Saffitz. To strive a recipe from the e-book, take a look at:

cherry and brown butter buckwheat crisp; flourless chocolate meringue cake; and no-bake grapefruit bars


Claire Saffitz

rose to meals fame as a fixture of the Bon Appétit check kitchen. In her

Gourmand Makes

video collection, she recreated fashionable snacks together with



prompt ramen


Package Kats

. After 5 years on the journal, Saffitz went out on her personal as a contract recipe developer and video host. She could have constructed her profession as a breakout video star, however Saffitz has since revealed two knockout cookbooks in as a few years:

Dessert Individual

(Clarkson Potter, 2020) and, most just lately,

What’s for Dessert

(Clarkson Potter, 2022).

The 2 platforms feed one another, Saffitz says. By the point she began writing

What’s for Dessert

, she had launched the

Dessert Individual YouTube channel

. The way in which recipes would look and the way she would possibly display them was a part of the e-book’s improvement course of.

“I really like producing all of the YouTube content material as a result of I really like the instructing that it permits me to do. There’s a lot extra which you could clarify visually than you’ll be able to in a written recipe,” says Saffitz. Contemplating how recipes within the e-book would translate on digicam drove her to streamline them even additional. On video, in any case, all the things is seen. “If you happen to’re getting out 5 totally different bowls, that’s going to develop into obvious. And it’s going to, in a visible means, flip folks off. So, I feel simply having the video format actually, actually knowledgeable all the things I used to be doing for the recipes for (

What’s for Dessert

) in an excellent useful means.”

As a collector and scholar, Saffitz has distinctive perception into cookbooks. She graduated with honours from Harvard College, studied French delicacies and pastry at

École Grégoire-Ferrandi

in Paris, and received a grasp’s in historical past from McGill College, the place she specialised in culinary historical past within the early fashionable period.

Her schooling within the historical past of meals and origins of cookbooks impacts her work as a recipe developer and creator, albeit in an oblique means. “I’ve a lot context, I feel, for the work that I’m doing,” says Saffitz. “I’ve the concept there’s actually nothing new. It’s type of wonderful how up to date cookbooks can appear, regardless that they’re three or 400 years outdated.”

Past her academic background, studying cookbooks is considered one of Saffitz’s pastimes. She collects antiquarian and classic cookbooks, and delved into neighborhood publications whereas writing

What’s for Dessert

. She treasures her spiral-bound Etsy and eBay finds, and revisited her mom’s neighborhood cookbooks, which she cooked from time and again when Saffitz was rising up in St. Louis, Mo. “They’re such treasure troves of data and native historical past, and concepts about neighborhood and meals. They’re simply so charming. I really like studying them.”

Saffitz was particularly involved in regional, mid-century American dishes whereas writing

What’s for Dessert

. Along with neighborhood cookbooks, she took inspiration from the work of revered pastry cooks and authors, together with

Dorie Greenspan


Claudia Fleming


Whereas Saffitz’s first e-book was rooted in her perspective as a baker and her personal specific type, she wished to develop her horizons to develop into “a extra well-rounded dessert particular person” in

What’s for Dessert

. To that finish, she pushed herself to discover the unfamiliar: puddings and flambéed


, reminiscent of cherries jubilee, bananas flambé and crêpes suzette; and egg-based desserts, together with mousses and semifreddos.

Creating the recipes was a difficult however fascinating course of, she says. “I ended up making numerous desserts that I had by no means actually made earlier than as a result of they felt somewhat bit dated. However I had a lot enjoyable diving into that pool of mid-century American desserts, that are usually rooted in other forms of European desserts.”

As she was reviewing the unfold of recipes, Saffitz discovered an fascinating sample. A dessert’s construction usually comes from considered one of two locations, she explains: egg or flour. It struck her that the e-book is a roughly equal illustration of each. Consequently, lots of the egg-based recipes — reminiscent of chilled and frozen desserts, custards and puddings — are naturally gluten-free. These recipes additionally gave her new perception into the feel you’ll be able to obtain in egg-based desserts.

“You may whip the egg whites and you’ll create issues which are mild or ethereal. Or you need to use the yolks and you may make one thing that’s tremendous wealthy and silky and creamy,” says Saffitz. “I discover so many alternative textures on this e-book that have been so enjoyable to me. And now, I actually love mild, ethereal desserts. That was an enormous revelation for me as I used to be scripting this e-book.”

By design,

What’s for Dessert

has a retro feel and appear. Saffitz stays trustworthy to sure classics, reminiscent of crème brûlée, however for others, provides fashionable touches, whether or not by altering the flavour profile, together with totally different substances or lowering the sweetness. Take a classically candy dessert reminiscent of

floating islands

(îles flottantes, poached meringues in a pool of crème anglaise), for instance. She provides toasted almonds for crunch and darkish caramel for a slight bitterness. “I by no means really feel like I’m actually reinventing the wheel. I don’t even suppose that that’s essentially potential more often than not, however I attempt to be considerate inside the recipe. Staying true to what it’s, however nonetheless with the ability to, if I can, supply a counterbalance to some sweeter flavours.”

Accessibility was paramount for Saffitz as she wrote the e-book. And although she makes use of each a stand mixer and hand mixer at residence, all of the recipes in

What’s for Dessert

could be made utilizing the extra reasonably priced hand mixer. (If you happen to don’t have a mixer, Saffitz notes, you’ll be able to nonetheless make lots of the recipes by hand.)

Working by herself in her New York Metropolis condo impressed Saffitz to make an additional effort to simplify the recipes. “I type of received uninterested in cooking, however I received actually uninterested in doing dishes, and simply wouldn’t need to get one other bowl,” says Saffitz. She weighed each implement, each step, contemplating what number of she might lower whereas retaining a recipe’s integrity. “Laziness, as a recipe developer, could be a nice asset. And I feel it actually was for this e-book. I don’t know, laziness is presumably a unfavourable means of it, however a want for much less fuss general.”

Streamlining the recipes had one other impact: It put the give attention to the consuming of the desserts moderately than the making of them. “

Dessert Individual

, for me, is so much about my very own time and delight within the kitchen, type of on my own. And this e-book in some methods is the inverse. It’s like, ‘Let’s spend much less time within the kitchen with the intention to spend extra time with different folks sharing them.’ And that felt actually vital to me within the pandemic. As I used to be alone, on my own, creating the recipes, I actually was picturing and hoping that these have been issues that might develop into enjoyable and celebratory and shared.”

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