Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

150 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
90 grams (scant 1 cup) toasted, ground pecans (see Notes)
25 grams (1 1/2) egg yolks
5 grams (1 teaspoon) masala (see Notes)
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough just begins to form.

Transfer to a work surface and form into a rectangle, wrap with plastic or a reusable alternative, and refrigerate until chilled but still pliable enough to impress a dent when poked. (Alternatively, at this point you can refrigerate for up to a couple days, then let temp up on the counter until soft enough to roll.)

Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into squares (figure 2×2-inch, or smaller if you’d like). Transfer to lined baking pans, evenly spaced out by a couple inches, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown all over. Let cool completely until firm before digging in and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you want.

Notes:

Bien Cuit chef and owner Zachary Golper uses the sweet masala (with cardamon, fennel, cinnamon, dates and vanilla) from Moji Masala, which sells small-batch Indian spice blends. You can either order it directly from their website, or go off-road with your own mix of two parts warming ground cardamom to two parts ground cozy cinnamon and one part earthy ground ginger. For even more flavor, try adding some smashed fennel seeds or freshly cracked black pepper or both. With all the butter, lots of spice blends will work beautifully here.

With respect to the pecans, put them on a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and fragrant (just check on them frequently toward the end, because nuts can burn quickly). Let them cool completely before grinding in a food processor, or mincing with a knife by hand; if you’re working with a food processor, opt for short bursts, so you don’t accidentally end up with nut butter. If you want to underscore the sweetness even more, Chef Golper likes to sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top of the cookies; you could even upgrade that dusting sugar with some of the masala spices, too.

Bien Cuit’s Shortbread

302 grams unsalted butter
93 grams confectioners’ sugar
3.5 grams kosher salt
302 grams all-purpose flour
1/8 cup regular or raw sugar, for sprinkling

Cut the cold butter and reserve at room temperature to temper slightly. Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and flour in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for a few seconds to combine the dry ingredients.

Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until a smooth dough is formed and butter is fully incorporated. At first, the dough will look extremely flaky and dry; let it keep mixing and it will eventually come together into a dough.

Dump the dough into the baking sheet ordish and spread it evenly to the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

The next day, heat the oven to 300°F. Dock the dough every inch or so with a fork. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, 60-75 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Turn the shortbread out onto a cutting board, and slice into 4-inch x ¾-inch slices. Sprinkle with raw sugar and transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Icebox Pudding Cake

2 vanilla pound cakes (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups vanilla pudding (chilled or at room temperature)
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream, whipped

Optional toppings: tropical fruit; toasted coconut flakes and blueberries; shaved dark chocolate; banana slices and Nilla Wafers

Layer 1/3 of the cake slices on the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Top with half of the pudding. Repeat with second third of cake, and remaining pudding.

Add the last third of cake slices and top with whipped cream, adding desired toppings. (Unless using fruit toppings, which can be added to the top of the cake when serving.)

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in freezer for at least 3 hours.

Lemon Crepe Pudding

Ingredients

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup store-bought lemon curd
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
24 (10-inch) store-bought crêpes
1 medium Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced and seeded
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, lemon curd, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with butter. Arrange 1 crêpe on a work surface. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture evenly over crêpe, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold crêpe in half, and then fold in half again. Place folded crêpe in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining crêpes and remaining cream cheese mixture, overlapping folded crêpes in baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until crêpes are heated through and edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add lemon slices, sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon peel is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, and remove from heat. Spoon lemon sauce over casserole. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Classic Panna Cotta

2 (1/4-oz.) envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean pod, split
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons apricot jam, peach preserves, or orange marmalade, warmed

Sprinkle gelatin over 3 tablespoons cold water, and let stand 5 minutes to dissolve, stirring once. Meanwhile, heat milk and sugar in a small saucepan over medium. Cook, whisking often, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat; whisk in gelatin mixture until fully dissolved. Let cool slightly, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean pod into gelatin mixture; discard pod. Gently whisk in buttermilk and salt.

Divide mixture evenly among 8 (12-ounce) straight-sided glasses (about 1/2 cup each). Cover and chill until set, at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Serve in glasses or invert onto serving plates. Spoon about 2 teaspoons jam or marmalade on each serving.

Swedish Almond Cake

FOR THE CAKE:
½ cup plus 6 tablespoons/200 grams unsalted butter, melted and lukewarm, plus more unmelted butter for greasing the pan
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons/240 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups/250 grams granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup/160 milliliters whole milk, lukewarm
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

FOR THE TOPPING:
7 tablespoons/100 grams unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup/75 grams sliced almonds
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole milk

Make the cake: Center a rack in the oven, and heat it to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (using solid, unmelted butter), and dust the interior with flour; tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working with a mixer (use a paddle attachment, if you have one), beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually add the melted butter, followed by the milk and vanilla. (I like to pour the ingredients down the side of the bowl as the mixer is working.) Mix until the batter is smooth; it will have a lovely sheen.

Decrease the speed to low, and gradually add the dry ingredients. When the flour mixture is almost fully incorporated, finish blending by stirring with a spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Slide the cake into the oven, and set your timer for 30 minutes.

As soon as the timer dings, start the topping (leaving the cake in the oven): In a medium saucepan, mix together all the topping ingredients. Place over medium-high heat and, stirring constantly, cook until you see a couple of bubbles around the edges. Lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring nonstop, for 3 minutes. The mixture will thicken a little, and your spatula will leave tracks as you stir. Remove the pan from the heat.

Immediately take the cake out of the oven (leaving the oven on), and carefully pour the topping over the cake, nudging it gently with a spatula to cover the cake completely.

Return the cake to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 minutes (total baking time is about 50 minutes) or until the topping, which will bubble and seethe, is a beautiful golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack, and cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully work a table knife between the side of the pan and the cake, gently pushing the cake away from the side (it’s a delicate job because the sticky topping isn’t yet set). Remove the sides of the pan, and let the cake come to room temperature on the base. When you’re ready to serve, lift the cake off the springform base and onto a platter.

Shortbread

16 tablespoons (2 sticks/226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (113 grams) granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups (226 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113 grams) semolina
2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Have ready a 9-by-13 baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on low speed just until combined. (You’re only looking to incorporate them, not add a lot of air to the mixture.) Alternately, you can use a handheld mixer or even a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Stir in the flour and semolina on low speed until combined. The dough won’t come together into a cohesive mass, so don’t be surprised if it’s crumbly. Clumps, however, should form when pressed together between your fingers. You can briefly knead the dough by hand, if needed.

Press the mixture into the pan, level and smooth the top using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar, and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until pale golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. With the tip of a sharp knife, score the slab to form 24 triangles (we accomplished this with three rows of four squares that we then cut in half). Let the shortbread cool completely in the pan before lifting the pieces out.

Note: Mary Berry mixes the all-purpose flour with semolina, a coarse flour you often find in pizza or pasta, for extra crunch. For an even more melt-away mouthfeel, swap in equal amounts of cornstarch or rice flour for the semolina. Prefer only flour? That’s fine, too. Whatever you use, be sure not to overwork the mixture, as it will create too much gluten and toughen the dough.

Make Ahead: The shortbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Magic Bars (Seven-Layer Bars, Hello Dollies)

10 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch morsels optional
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Center the oven rack; preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 square baking dish with parchment paper.

Put the butter in a medium-size glass bowl. Microwave on “high” until the butter is just melted. Stir, with a fork, the crushed graham crackers into the butter. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking pan, pressing it down firmly with knuckles. Layer the crust evenly with the chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, nuts, and coconut. Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly all over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chocolate melts and the coconut begins to toast — about 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least one hour. Unmold and cut into 30 squares or “bars.” Enjoy this sweet treat with coffee or hot chocolate. Refrigerate leftover bars for up to 5 days.

Maple Pecan Caramel Corn

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or sunflower
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup toasted pecans (see Tip)
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 300 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil and 3 popcorn kernels over medium-high with lid on top. When kernels pop, add remaining kernels to pot, lower heat to medium-low, and crack the lid open a sliver, facing away from you, to release steam. (Alternatively, you could cover the pot with a mesh deep-frying screen, or an upside-down colander or strainer.) Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping stops.

Transfer popcorn to a heatproof bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels. Add nuts to bowl.

In a medium pot, bring maple syrup, butter and brown sugar to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter and sugar have melted (the mixture should be foamy). Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat, and stir in salt, vanilla and baking soda. (Mixture may bubble up.)

Immediately pour hot syrup over popcorn mixture, and use a spatula to mix it well. Scrape popcorn onto prepared baking sheet in one layer. Bake, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, for 25 to 35 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can remove a piece of the popcorn, and after letting it cool for about a minute, it’s crisp when you bite into it. Taste and sprinkle lightly with more salt if you like. Let cool before serving.

Tip: To toast pecans, spread them in one layer on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees until they darken slightly at the edges and look golden inside if you break one in half, 8 to 13 minutes. Stir the nuts once or twice as they bake for even cooking.

Lemon Custards with Strawberries

FOR THE CUSTARDS:
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, lemon zest and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer vigorously until mixture thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until mixture has cooled slightly and a skin forms on top, about 20 minutes.

Stir mixture, then strain through fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout; discard zest. Pour mixture evenly into six 6-ounce ramekins or small bowls.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours.

As the custards chill, prepare the strawberry topping: Toss strawberries and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Let fruit macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the sugar is dissolved.

To serve, top each lemon custard with some strawberry topping and grind black pepper on top.

Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk, (Or substitute with equal amount Lactose-Free or Almond Cooking Milk)
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Classic Rice Pudding

1/2 cup (100 grams) long-grain rice, preferably jasmine
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 quart (946 ml.) whole milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup (50-67 grams) sugar (to taste)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Rinse the rice under cold running water, then turn it into a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Add the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Rinse the saucepan with cold water, shake out excess (don’t dry) and pour in the milk and sugar. If you’re using a vanilla bean, scrape the pulp into the pan and drop in the pod (if you’re using extract, you’ll add it later).

Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stay close: Milk is notorious for bubbling over.

Lower the heat, stir in the rice and cook at a steady simmer, stirring frequently (especially at the start) for 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is very tender, the pudding feels just a little thick as you stir it and most of the milk has been absorbed (the pudding will have cooked down by about half). It’s hard to give an exact time because it depends on the rice, the size of the pan and the amount of heat beneath it.

Scrape the pudding into a heatproof bowl, and remove the vanilla bean, if you’ve used it. If you’re using extract, stir it in now.

Cover (if you want to avoid a skin, press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding), and cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Tightly covered, the pudding will keep in the fridge for about four days; serve cold or at room temperature.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1/4+cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, plus more to serve
1 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Arborio rice, briefly rinsed, then drained
4 inch strip orange zest, white pith removed (see note)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup shelled roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and cardamom; set aside. In a large (6- to 8-quart) Dutch oven, stir together the coconut milk and 2½ cups water.

Bring to a boil over medium-high, then stir in the rice, sugar mixture and orange zest. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the pudding is creamy, about 50 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla, transfer to a bowl and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days (let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving). Sprinkle individual bowls with pistachios and dust with additional cardamom just before serving.

Layered Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup prepared lemon curd
Kosher salt
About 20 whole graham crackers
Blueberries, for serving

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of overhang. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and just firm; do not overbeat. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of salt.

Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking them to fit. Repeat the layering with the remaining lemon cream and crackers, finishing with a final layer of cream. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Uncover and invert the cheesecake onto a platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Serve with blueberries.

Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream Pie

One 8-ounce box gingersnaps, lightly crushe
1 dried sweetened pineapple ring (1 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped candied ginger
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups dulce de leche (16-ounce jar)
1/2 cup Looza passion fruit nectar
3 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut

In a food processor, combine the crushed gingersnaps with the pineapple, candied ginger and butter and process until fine crumbs form. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

In a blender, blend the dulce de leche and passion fruit nectar until smooth.

Spread 1 pint of ice cream in the chilled crust. Using a very small ice cream scoop (2 tablespoons), scoop the remaining 2 pints of ice cream into the crust, leaving some nooks and crannies. Drizzle 3/4 cup of the dulce de leche sauce over the ice cream, allowing it to pool in spots. Sprinkle with the pistachios and coconut and freeze until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ring and cut the pie into wedges. Serve the extra dulce de leche sauce at the table.

Make Ahead: The pie can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Three-Ingredient No-bake Icebox Chocolate Cheesecake

70 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (from 2 packages)
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate syrup, such as Hershey’s

Put 20 of the chocolate cookies (reserving 50 whole cookies) into a zippered plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them to fine crumbs. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with enough plastic wrap to extend by 4 inches all around.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup of water and beat the chocolate cream for 2 minutes.

Arrange 9 cookies in an overlapping ring on the bottom of the prepared cake pan and place 1 cookie in the center. Spoon one-fourth of the chocolate cream (about 1 1/4 cups) over the cookies, being careful not to disturb them. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate cream, ending with a layer of 10 cookies on top. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the cake. Lightly tap the pan once or twice on a work surface. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.

Peel back the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Press the cookie crumbs onto the side of the cake to coat evenly. Cut into wedges and serve.

Make Ahead: The plastic-wrapped cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Maple Glazed Peaches with Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk cold (*or see notes to make your own buttermilk)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing biscuits after baking

For glazed peaches:
3 medium peaches cut in half and removed from stone
3-4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup **or see notes for substitution option
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme, optional
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
For serving:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Crème Frâiche or Thick Yogurt

Preheat oven to 475F with rack in centre of oven.
Make the biscuits: (Can be made several hours ahead) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup, scoop out dollops of batter and drop onto a baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with a bit of melted butter. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. (If making ahead, cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in microwave briefly or pop into a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so.
For the peaches: Preheat a large skillet on the stove-top over medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add a few thyme leaves, if using and cook for one minute. Add the halved peaches, cut side down, and cook until bottom starts to colour. Once the peaches are coloured a bit, add the maple syrup and cook for about 30 second more. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then flip the peaches over. Let the syrup simmer until it is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat under the pan.

To serve: You can serve directly from the larger skillet you cooked the peaches in or transfer to smaller skillets or plates, topping with biscuits, thyme sprigs and a dollop of crème frâiche or yogurt, and spooning reduced syrup over-top. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a bit of lemon zest. *I find it best to allow the peaches and syrup to cool to a bit before serving, for best flavour and to keep the creme fraiche or yogurt from melting too much.