Cook the Book: 'The Craft of Baking'

20091005thecraftofbaking.jpgOf all the celebrity chefs, how many of them are from the dessert world? I am wracking my brain to come up with at least one celebrity pastry chef, and I've got nothing. Mario handles the Italian front, Rachel takes care of meals for harried moms, Ina brings a reserved classiness to the table, Tom acts as mentor and judge for aspiring young chef—but what about sweets? Everyone loves dessert, so why do pastry chefs get the shaft?

In the spirit of bringing pastry chefs into the realm of food royalty, I would like to hereby nominate Karen DeMasco for the title of celebrity pastry chef. DeMasco's desserts have been a big hit here at Serious Eats for a while, her peach pie was the sleeper hit of an epic fried chicken dinner, her almond cake had dessert connoisseur Kathy YL Chan raving, and her breakfast pastries compelled Ed to name Locanda Verde's breakfast as the best in New York. Can you tell that we're big fans?

Fortunately for all of you who aren't able to make the pilgrimage to Locanda Verde to taste DeMasco's exemplary desserts, she has a new cookbook coming out, The Craft of Baking, co-authored by cookbook writer, editor, and food stylist Mindy Fox.

The Craft of Baking brings the desserts that DeMasco created in the kitchens Gramercy Tavern, Craft, and Chanterelle into your kitchen. DeMasco's approach to baking is unique. It's less of an exact science and more of a craft. Her recipes are jumping-off points that give you leeway to make them your own. She encourages you to add your own personal touches to her recipes—a concept that's quite refreshing for a baking book.

Win 'The Craft of Baking'

Lucky for me and for all of you, we are going to be featuring a recipe every day this week from The Craft of Baking. So far this evening I have made Apple Cider Muffins and White Chocolate Truffles, I'll be sharing my experiences (and the recipes, of course) as well as some others, such as Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches, Coconut Marshmallows, and Apple Fritters.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at Clarkson Potter, we are giving away five (5) copies of The Craft of Baking this week. All you have to do is tell us about the best dessert you've ever had in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, October 5 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.