Genoise (Sponge Layer Cake)

This is the basic cake to use for light layered cakes, from the late, brilliant baker Lonnie Knisley. To make it chocolate, add a half cup of cocoa powder. Read More. . .

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LeRuth’s Back Door Pecan Pie
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

LeRuth’s Back Door Pecan Pie

RecipeSquare-150x150 Warren Leruth didn’t publish many of his recipes, and fewer still were for dishes he served at the restaurant. The pecan pie was one of the “back door” recipes in his Front Door, Back Door cookbook, a little collection he put out in the 1970s. Recipe details. . .

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Devil’s Food Cake
Bakery

Devil’s Food Cake

Here’s my devil’s food cake. It may be a lot different from yours–fluffier, for one thing. I am not claiming to be a better baker than you. Just different. By the way, what makes the difference between devils food and just plain chocolate? It’s the red food coloring. Read More. . .

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Cannoli
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Cannoli

Cannoli Cannoli are a favorite dessert in Sicily, and anywhere Sicilians have roamed–including New Orleans. They’re made by stuffing tubes of sweet, thin dough fried until crispy with sweetened ricotta cheese, usually including jellied fruit, chocolate chips, and pistachio nuts. They are made outstandingly well at Angelo Brocato’s in New Orleans. This recipe is based on the one in La Cucina di Andrea’s, a cookbook I wrote in 1989 with Chef Andrea Apuzzo. The shells are the hard part, but not too bad. While special forms are made for making…

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Mile-High Ice Cream Pie
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Mile-High Ice Cream Pie

Mile-High Ice Cream Pie The famous dessert at the Caribbean Room of the Pontchartrain Hotel was really very simple: three kinds of ice cream layered under a thick crown of meringue. Nobody notes that it’s an extravagant variation on baked Alaska. You do indeed bake it, ice cream and all. One slice is enough for two people–if they can finish it. The Caribbean Room made its own chocolate sauce, and that was a big part of the goodness of the dessert. The trouble with making it the way the Pontchartrain…

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Flourless Almond And Chocolate Cake
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Flourless Almond And Chocolate Cake

RecipeSquare-150x150 This is called torta di mandorle in Italy, from which it comes–through the hands of Chef Andrea Apuzzo and his talented, late pastry chef Lonnie Knisley. It’s not only a good dessert, but makes a marvelous breakfast. It’s so light and goes down so easily that you may as well make two of them at once. This recipe is adapted from the one in La Cucina di Andrea’s, which I wrote with Chef Andrea in 1989. Read entire article.

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Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies

Orange-Flavored Raisin-Pecan Cookies These are very light cookies, both in texture and in the absence of added sugar. The natural sweetness of the orange juice and other ingredients is enough. Use very ripe oranges–or satsumas, which should be available soon. 1/2 cup softened butter, plus one Tbs. 1 egg 2 Tbs. grated orange rind 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 2 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts 1/2 cup golden raisins Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 1. In…

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Tiramisu
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu “Tira mi su” literally means “pick me up” in Italian. That’s what’s alleged to happen when you eat this espresso-doused cake, although I think the sugar contributes more to that effect than the espresso does. It’s a a creation of relatively recent vintage, but it has become universal in Italian restaurants around the world. There are two styles of making it, both authentic. This one uses lady finger cakes, and is served by scooping it out of the pan with a big spoon. It can also be made (using…

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White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting This is a nice taste and is simple to make. It’s good on any basic yellow cake, pound cake, and even between layers of carrot cake or even bread pudding. 4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese 1/3 cup buttermilk 1 Tbs. sour cream Pinch salt 6 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar 6 oz. white chocolate, melted 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed with the sour cream until it’s creamy. Add the salt. 2. Add about a third of…

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie The rich, tart pie is named for the funny little limes that grow in the Florida keys. Those are almost impossible to find in stores, but regular limes offer plenty enough sacrifice in the amount of time it takes to juice them out. Remember to wear plastic gloves while juicing limes, as something in the skins will make you feel as if you had toothpicks shoved under your fingernails the day after if you don’t. If you’d like to bake your own pie shell, see the recipe…

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Whiskey Cake

Whiskey Cake This recipe came to me from the makers of Knob Creek Bourbon whiskey, a small-batch bourbon that’s good enough that you might be tempted to have a shot while making the cake (go ahead, but have it over ice cubes, with perhaps a little water–nothing more). The recipe is inspired by a cake made in the Greensboro, Georgia home of the grandmother of Luann Landon, who wrote a book about the dishes served there. It’s called “Dinner At Miss Lady’s,” and it’s published by Algonquin. 1 1/12 cups…

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Raspberry Tart

RecipeSquare-150x150 What a combination: red berries with chocolate. This version involved raspberries, but blackberries or ripe strawberries would also come out nicely. The recipe was sent to me by a radio listener, but I think she got it from a Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough box. That’s what I used to make it (the dough, not the box). I hate making pie shells. I love this pie.

Click here for recipe details.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

RecipeSquare-150x150 I got this recipe right before Thanksgiving from Chef Jeremy Langlois, who runs the kitchen at House House Plantation and its restaurant Latil’s Landing. It sounded so alarming to me that I am making one for Christmas. Red velvet anything is a dark, intense red color, a fine complement for the poinsettias in the room. The flavor of red velvet, however, is actually chocolate. I’m adding my usual component of orange peel and juice to the mix (Jeremy doesn’t have that in here). Otherwise, this is the way it’s served at Kevin Kelly’s magnificent sugar plantation complex on River Road in Burnside, halfway up the river to Baton Rouge. `

Remember to leave lots of time for cooling the cheesecake. This must be done slowly and gently, or you’ll have cracks in the top.

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Orange Ice Box Pie

RecipeSquare-150x150 Lemon ice box pie is wonderful. This is the same idea using oranges, which lack the necessary tartness to make it on their own. That’s easy to solve: just add lemon juice, and cut back on the sugar. I make this when I get a batch of oranges that seem unusually sour. I have a recipe here for making your own pie shell, but I never do. Too much work, and I don’t do it well, anyway. I like the pre-made refrigerated pie dough you can buy these days better than a pre-baked pie shells.

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Good Old Apple Pie

RecipeSquare-150x150 The cool snap we just welcomed in New Orleans over the weekend gave me a hankering for apple pie. As famous and emblematic as that dessert is, it’s something that very few restaurants serve anymore. I don’t know why this is, but it is. So the only course was to do it myself and hope I don’t eat the whole thing in a week.

Although a homemade pie crust is the ultimate way to go, I 1) hate making pie dough. . .

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Feelings’ Peanut Butter Pie
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Feelings’ Peanut Butter Pie

I never liked peanut butter pie until I had this one. It is a trendsetter: more than a few restaurants and bakeries around town make a fluffy peanut butter pie like this now, and some of them even give Feelings credit for it. If you visit the fine cafe on Franklin at Chartres in the Bywater section, you might also try their French silk (chocolate mousse) pie, or the hybrid of that and this peanut butter number. Read More. . .

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Lemon Tart
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart I got this recipe from Chef Susan Spicer when she was chef at the Bistro at the Maison De Ville Hotel, in the 1980s. If you like the tart taste of natural lemon as much as I do, you’ll enjoy this delectable little treat, which is not as tricky to make as it at first may sound. The only thing to be careful about is to avoid overheating the butter before you add it to the egg-and-lemon mixture to make the filling. Too-hot butter will make the eggs…

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David Guas’s King Cake

RecipeSquare-150x150 Making a king cake from scratch is the kind of thing that a commercial baker can turn out far more easily than the home baker. Not only that, but people are so accustomed to eating bakery-made king cake that they often reject as weird even a well-executed individual work. I have a baker friend in Washington D.C. who has a great recipe in his book GoodDamSweet. David Guas is a New Orleans guy who moved to D.C. with his wife Simone Rathle (who was for a long time the p.r. lady at the Windsor Court). So he understands the concept of king cake and what people expect of it. He has his own artisinal bakery in the D.C. area, and his book is terrific. I add more cinnamon when I bake his recipe, but otherwise it’s perfectly to my taste. Recipe details. . .

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Cranberry Cheesecake
Cakes, Pies, Cheesecakes

Cranberry Cheesecake

Cranberry Cheesecake Who ever came up with the idea of serving cranberry sauce with turkey and chicken? As a result, lots of people think of that as the only use for cranberries, a fine American fruit with many other possibilities. I’ve made cheesecakes with cranberries for years, and they’re delicious. Making it gets you along the way to making the fresh cranberry sauce for the turkey, and uses up some of it (we always have leftover cranberry sauce, no matter how many people we serve. Make the cheesecake a little…

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