Elizabeth Falkner is an inventive pastry chef and Caremi is her manga-inspired illustrated alter ego. Together they narrate Demolition Desserts, a look at some of the favorite creations to come out of Citizen Cake, Elizabeth's pastry-centric restaurant in San Francisco.
Demolition Desserts is an exciting cookbook, as are Falkner's high concept creations. Most have multiple elements: ice cream, shards of sugar glass, sauces, cakes. They have evocative names like "Suddenly Last Summer" (peaches sauteed in wine and honey, walnut-thyme streusel, sweet cream reduction, olive oil filo crisps) and "Gingerbread Bauhaus" (chipotle gingerbread, pear sorbet, pomegranate gel, royal icing shards). Traditional favorites are deconstructed and become novel, as in her spin on New York cheesecake, here called "Waking Up In A City That Never Sleeps" and consisting of cheesecake custard, sour cream sorbet, graham cracker powder and blueberry powder.
This is a cookbook for someone with a lot of energy to give to dessert; although there are a couple of homey classics and some excellent cupcake recipes, there are some seriously sophisticated flavors at play. But if you have the energy, Falkner's delight in her subject and the enthusiasm of Caremi's comic book presence keep these complicated desserts from being intimidating. She breaks each dessert down its elements, helps you identify which parts can be made in advance and even presents minimalist versions that show how to streamline to the sweet core concept of a dish without compromising its spirit of adventure.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.