Fork's rendition of Sticky Toffee Pudding is triple-bathed in a rich, caramelly toffee sauce and also features a unique and astoundingly complementary porter ice cream.
'behind the sweets' on Serious Eats
I was recently invited out to Eli's Cheesecake World in Chicago's Dunning neighborhood by Eli's son, Marc Schulman, who has been president of the company since 1984. After spending some time with him and executive pastry chef Laurel Boger in the factory/store, I walked away truly impressed by the company's history of innovation as well as their dedication to quality ingredients.
It's hard not to immediately like a pastry chef who, after being asked if he personally likes the dish in question, answers with an enthusiastic "Yeah! Have you had it?" I have indeed had it, and written something of a love letter to it, even.
When creating a new dessert, Greg Mosko can be inspired by anything from a pear to a BLT. For the past three years, Greg has been getting inspired as the pastry chef at North Pond, where his Cranberry, Ginger dessert is currently on the menu through the end of the month.
In the world of small artisan food-makers, Katherine is a little unusual. Instead of a passion for one specific item born out of years of professional culinary experience, she has years of experience on the business side of the restaurant industry. Click through the slideshow to gain a little chocolate knowledge or reserve a spot at one of KAC's monthly Truffle Parties where you can create your own uniquely flavored truffle.
Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop features an ever-changing menu of sweets, including scones, bread pudding, and a delightful take on the pop-tart, which McCabe makes with a pie dough recipe adapted from her grandmother.
Lindsay was kind enough to show me the process behind their S'more Pie. This is one of many rotating pies, so if you're craving this picture-perfect pie after clicking through the slideshow, be sure to call ahead for availability or better yet, give them at least 48 hours notice and place a special order.
When Dana Cree invited me into her world of desserts at Blackbird, I was obviously excited, but I had no idea the outrageous experiences in store for me. Not only was I serendipitously around for a 15th anniversary toast before the start of service, but I also got to talk to Dana during a staff meal.
Anna Shovers has hit her stride in a seasonally-focused and ever-changing kitchen where Paul Kahan has given her free reign over desserts. One of her more recent creations is a chocolate cake with an unlikely addition: beets from local farmers' markets.
The Land of Middle Eastern Sweets is an area about as well known to me as the Gangnam Style dance, which is to say I recognize it when I see it but have no hope of personally reproducing it. But on a recent trip I discovered a fantastic sweet called knafeh.
Among Alliance Bakery's many eye-catching delights are several different entremet, or multi-layered mousse cakes, which may seem intimidating in their beauty and elegance. Brad Hillyer took some time on a bustling Saturday afternoon to show me how The Ellen is constructed.
Years of experience go into a sticky bun worth going out of your way for: Baker & Nosh's fulfills all of the usual sticky bun requirements (buttery, tacky goo and crunchy pecans), but it's also made with a fantastic brioche dough, so instead of being Cinnabon-soft, there's a little more crispy, buttery crust here than your usual bun.
Just over two years ago Sharin Nathan opened Sweet Sensations Pastry, which provides high quality scones, cookies, and cupcakes to the Ravenswood community. Check out how she makes her outstanding cinnamon custard-filled pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting.
Jen Templeton has built her menu on the idea of the familiar made enticingly unfamiliar. One of the few staples she tries to always have on-hand is her signature Whirlaway, a swirl of yeast dough that can be made savory or sweet. She kindly walked me through the making of a Chocolate Whirlaway, the most popular variation.
Toni Marie Cox from Toni Patisserie graciously took time away from wedding cake designing and decorating to show me how she puts a French twist on the classic Italian dessert. Click through the slideshow to find out why she declared this the perfect dinner party dessert.
Lisa from Blue Sky Bakery in Chicago was kind enough to show me how she whips up a batch of her fantastic Mixed Berry Scones. Their remarkably fluffy texture can be explained with just a few simple secrets.
Several years after inspiration struck, in December of 2010, Mara and Alex opened Chimney Cake Island near the intersection of Devon and Clark in Edgewater. Even though they are outside of their first year, they are still dealing with typical start-up problems but luckily Mara is putting out a consistently delicious pastry. And when I say delicious, I mean can't-stop-eating-this-thing-while-I'm-driving-and-now-there-are-walnuts-all-over-my-car delicious.
Jessie Oloroso, the head of Black Dog herself, was kind enough to give me free reign in her kitchen to see how she makes the shop's most popular flavor: Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel gelato.