There’s something about chocolate pie that seems sort of wrong, right? Not because it photographs blurry—that’s just science!—or because its appealing exterior could be hiding an unwelcome surprise, but because it’s too… showy, somehow.
Pie is barely sweetened peak-season fruit and soft, warming spices; pie is rich custard that refuses to hold its shape when sliced and placed onto a plate; pie is labor-intensive but somehow unfussy. Pie is humble. Pie is not a moist, dense, almost criminally rich flourless chocolate cake baked in a pie dish, a dessert that earns its name only because it happens to be encased in a buttery, fully unnecessary crust.
Yet here we are. Continue reading →
The last time I attempted a cheesecake recipe, I served it on a torn-up paper bag, the height of rustic-eco-friendly-chic sophistication. (That, or we were at a picnic and forgot to bring plates.) My second cheesecake-like concoction was served in much more cheesecake-friendly environs—indoors, on a table, bathed in soft mood lighting and the wafting strains of an excellent playlist. Yet I still managed not to take a single decent picture, because even in my third (!) year of food blogging, I have yet to figure out how to make brown, crumbly things look tasty in photographs.
All of which is to say this: both the title and look of this dessert are unappetizing. “Chocolate cheese pie” sounds like a mistake, or a gross idiom I’d rather not try to define; when sliced, the pie looks not like this, but like a particularly heinous Pinterest fail. Continue reading →
The Sunday before last—which I spent on weekend edit duty, which meant a full day immersed in this atrocity—I posted the above photo on Instagram with this caption: “The world is bad, so I made a pie.”
My old boss responded with a perfectly chosen Onion article, first published on September 26, 2001: “Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake.” Continue reading →
The first time I leafed through Nonnie’s cookbook, I was surprised to find that there are barely any cookie recipes in there — just three, in fact, and one of them is secretly a cake.
Hidden in another section, though, there was something called “Cream Cheese Pastry” — a simple, cream cheese-enhanced dough that’s rolled out, cut, and filled with jam.
“Oh!” I thought. “So they’re rugelach!”
Not really. Continue reading →