The Year’s Best Pastry Cookbooks

The Year’s Best Pastry Cookbooks

Good morning. My friend Kurt makes the cornbread dressing we eat every year on Thanksgiving, has done so for 20 years, and for each and every one of them he’s made enough to feed an army. Leftover dressing is a highlight of my post-Thanksgiving nights, well into this week.

Maybe that’s the case for you as well? If so, here’s a fast no-recipe recipe for it, a narrative way to make your stuffing new again, as a base for a meal of fried eggs, gumbo or turkey à la king. Waffle it up! Just fork a bunch of leftover stuffing into a bowl and mix into it a couple of whisked eggs and some warm stock. You’re not looking to make batter. You want it just so everything is wet and glossy. Spoon that mixture onto a greased waffle iron and close the top. Let everything get good and crisp on the outside, then ease the waffle out of the iron and serve the result underneath your eggs or stew. (We should all probably be doing more waffling. Our pals at Wirecutter have some definite thoughts about which iron to have in your kitchen.)

It would be totally understandable, of course, if you’d prefer the shock of the new this week, a taste of the present and not of the past. Melissa Clark obliged in a big way today, with a roundup of the best pastry cookbooks of the year. Naturally there are recipes to accompany Melissa’s words. There’s one for a milk and honey cake, adapted from Odette Williams’s “Simple Cake.” Another for a Japanese cheesecake, which Melissa adapted from the one in Joanne Chang’s “Pastry Love.” You might like the potato chip-chocolate chip shortbread cookies Melissa adapted from Shauna Sever’s “Midwest Made.” For myself, I can’t wait to make the condensed milk pound cake she learned from “Baking at République,” by Margarita Manzke.

David Tanis came through as well, with a spread of sandwiches you could serve at a holiday party: smoked salmon, cucumber, radish and herbs; egg salad with green olives, celery and parsley; spicy steak and watercress on a hard roll; cream cheese with dates, pecans and rosemary; and a croque Dijon with ham and cheese.

And how about some cocktails to go with the food? Rebekah Peppler made a great argument for us this week: Batch cocktails are the way to go. And accordingly, here’s a recipe for a pitcher of Martinis. Here’s another, for a mess of Boulevardiers. Robert Simonson, meanwhile, makes a pitch for eggnog.

Many more recipes, new and old, await you on NYT Cooking. Go browse a while! (You need a subscription to do so. That’s not weird or unfair. It’s the way the business works now, the way we get to stay employed. Support our mission this season. Buy someone a gift subscription.)

We try to be inspiring on Facebook, as well, and on Instagram and YouTube, too. Come visit! Watch Alison Roman make chicken confit! And absolutely get in touch with us directly, if you have a problem with your cooking or our technology: We will get back to you.

Now, keeping in the holiday spirit, check out this Twitter thread by Ian Boudreau, about dogs who destroyed Thanksgiving.

I hope you’ll read our Eric Asimov on the wine books you ought to be gifting this year. And take a look at our 2019 gift guide while you’re at it. (For contrast, here’s the Fly Lords list.)

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