In order to achieve the perfect balance of cakey and gooey—that sweet spot that all brownies should hit—the cooking time is crucial. It will vary by a minute or so depending on where the pan is sitting in the oven, so keep a close eye on them.
Homemade sweetened condensed milk traditionally requires ultra-low heat and up to 6 hours of constant stirring, but with a splash of heavy cream added to prevent scorching, I can crank up the heat and be done in 45 minutes. The result is thicker, creamier, and more luscious than anything from a can, with a rich dairy flavor and subtle notes of caramel. If you like chai tea, be sure to try the cinnamon-spiced variation.
These homemade grahams are buttery and crisp, with an incredible depth of flavor thanks to earthy whole wheat flour and the mellow maltiness of golden syrup—a type of light molasses.
Homemade graham crackers and stovetop condensed milk give my Key lime pie a freshness you won’t find in other recipes, and a more balanced sweetness. From the earthy crunch of the crust to the tangy yet creamy filling, these DIY ingredients take the pie to the next level.
Instead of gritty powdered sugar, this tangy frosting starts with a light vanilla custard made from fresh milk and eggs. That keeps it thick and creamy, but not too rich—perfect for slathering over my Red (Wine) Velvet Cake.
This cake’s color hinges on the anthocyanins found in red wine and raw cocoa, as even organic brands of “natural” cocoa powder lose their colorful potential in the roasting process. They create a shockingly pale batter, but in the oven it develops a mellow burgundy hue and rich cocoa flavor (plus, these acidic ingredients make for a velvety soft crumb). Paired with light and tangy Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s everything red velvet should be.
A hot-milk sponge cake made a good base in our Boston Cream Pie recipe because it didn’t require any finicky folding or separating of eggs. Baking the batter in two pans eliminated the need to slice a single cake horizontally before adding the filling. We used butter to firm up our pastry cream, and we added corn syrup to heavy cream and melted chocolate for a smooth glaze that clung to the top of our Boston Cream Pie and dripped artistically down its sides.
Unlike most pie lovers, if I’m given a choice between a fruit- or custard-filled one, I always reach for the custard one first. The rich, custardy smoothness draws me in every time. This pie is no exception; the added brûléed sugar top gives the ensemble a slight crunch and added dimension in flavor.
The herbaceousness of butter lettuce lends itself perfectly to panna cotta. There is a gentle bitterness that cottons to the fat in the cream here. Then come the strawberries and their bright sweetness. A finish of olive oil, and this truly wows.
When it’s too hot outside to bake, but you still need a cake, fridge cakes are the answer! Simple and foolproof, this dessert from the new cookbook Fridge Cakes by Jean-Luc Sady is made by layering shortbread and whipped cream with marshmallows and chocolate in a loaf tin, then chilling the cake in the fridge for 3 hours before serving.