It was a gutsy move baking these for the best French chef around, but I learned to make them from chef Mark Ramsdell of L’ Academie de Cuisine. I was elated when Jacques pronounced them “terrific!” and his daughter (and TV costar), Claudine Pépin said they were the best she’s ever had.
We’ve seen a lot of techniques over the years — and written a lot of pressure-cooker cheesecake recipes, too — and we can tell you we heartily don’t get why people tend to overcomplicate what can be a fairly simple process for a rich, mousse-like (not New York–style) cheesecake.
A layer cake is like a fanfare: It blares “Celebration!” Full of flavor, this cake is based on nuts, cranberries and grated parsnips, a vegetable that might not spring to mind immediately when you’re thinking cake.
Gingerbread men and women cookies hanging from the tree or sitting on the mantel are a charming holiday tradition. Ginger is not only an appealing spicy flavor, it serves as a great preservative.