Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts
Recipes From Citizen Cake
by Elizabeth Falkner
What do Julia Child, Snickers bars and Pink Floyd have in common? They are just a few of the sources of inspiration for Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake. Having honed her skills as a pastry chef at famed San Francisco restaurants Masa’s and Rubicon, Falkner opened her own bakery-turned-restaurant, Citizen Cake, in 1997. The cookbook’s chapters are organized in variations on the themes of chocolate, fruit, cookies, cakes, and drinks, and the recipes represent the full range of her culinary career, from elaborately plated desserts to baked goods like the Snickers-inspired Candy Bar Cupcakes.
In most of the dishes, Falkner deconstructs traditional desserts and gives each component its own spin, often incorporating Asian flavors and aesthetics. The classic tiramisu becomes Tiramisushi, with chocolate sponge cake and mascarpone filling prepared to resemble sushi rolls, complete with biscotti chopsticks and fruit ribbons posing as pickled ginger slivers. Although thoughtful touches like this sound like (and are) a lot of work, it’s the intricate details and unusual additions (like the basil-mint oil with her chocolate and mint ice cream sandwich) that take these treats from the everyday to the transcendent. In the final chapter, “Core Recipes,” Falkner provides the building blocks for her creations and encourages cooks to compose their own, whatever their inspiration may be.
Reviewed by Becky Sauer