shuna lydon

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« Cocoa Nib-Buckwheat Pannacotta, Honey Marshmallows, Cocoa Brownies, Milk Chocolate Crunch Candy & Shuna's Famous Hot Fudge Sauce | Main | The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival & Marshmallow Knitting. »

25 January 2010


Sweetie....I am asking for a book filled with all your magic prose and pictures so I can just pick it up and leave it open at any page, any time.
You are a dessert whisperer. Thank you.

Thanks to Mr. Ruhlman for turning me onto this salty/sweet blog! Your prose are delish... I'm favorite-ing you.

Did you see that Michael Ruchietti was wondering out loud about butterscotch on Twitter the other day? He was wondering how different kinds of brown sugar affect butterscotch in which way. Cumin is so interesting in so many ways; a friend surprised me with a cumin chocolate cake a couple of years ago so that I know it's possible, but I never think to use it when I'm baking.
Btw, I love how much you champion salt. I use Maldon salt in everything and rub it between the palms of my hands to make it finer in baked goods (my grandmother taught me that for dry mint in a Persian appetizer).
LHR-->JFK just for your desserts, (or you know, the other way around), I'm on it.

I am a newly addicted follower of you blog. Your writing is!

If only I could taste your magnificent work.


What a passionate way to describe a dessert. I've never had butterscotch before, sorry I'm Greek, we don't have that, but, I want to learn how to make it. And pot de creme. And dulche de leche.
I'll try...

Hi Shuna! I just made some butterscotch sauce following the simply recipe's link. It behaved like the instructions said it would but upon cooling it became grainy. Is this normal or did I do something that caused sugar crystals to form? It is a delicious recipe btw.



"Eggs are great whisperers" is the second-best bit of food zen I've encountered this week. Number one? My friend Amber assuring me that when I attend pastry school in the fall, I should "just concentrate on the softness of my own butter."

: )


I haven't read you waxing so poetically in some time. And now I'm itchin' to scratch together some Butterscotch, just to whet my families appetites for MORE.

Love to you Shuna...

o my god! i have never read anything like this in conjunction with food. nobel prize worthy. suddenly i feel like i am falling in love....your food writing is insanely sensuous. you are amazing (without being a drama queen, just so literary). golden hands with a gift for creating amazingly innovative and flavorful desserts, and golden lips~for making words come alive and creating amazingly flavorful verbal beauty! i am inspired. thank you. now that i have discovered you i'll have to come by and pay a visit from time to time.

whoa. just read another post. the expeletives and sexual metaphors and talk is so not to my taste. still, brilliant food and writing. but i no longer thinks this is quite my comfortable place for paying visits....oh well.

Lovely dessert!

Each more amazing than the next... *sigh*

i meant to say, each more amazing than the last... *befuddled*

Shuna, have you posted the recipe for the pot de creme? I can't seem to locate it and I'd really like to give it a go - of course, I'd also really like to come to your current restaurant and taste the original. Hopefully soon. These frigid temps make for perfect pot de creme eating weather! Thanks!

I had the pleasure of baking off 30 or more creme brulees each night at a busy restaurant where I was pastry assistant. It's the kind of experience that inspires comment so I completely relate to your passionate outpouring on pot de creme (related to brulee in method) and timing it just right. I love "egg whisperer." Hilarious and right on the mark. For me, it was one trick that helped. Upon taking the custards from the oven, I would shake the entire sheet pan holding the ramekins just a little. If the centers wobbled but the outsides stuck to the rims, it was done. Not very scientific but it worked. That, and timing them every minute at the end of the baking time to check repeatedly for the correct "shimmy." (Eggs also communicate with their hips - do eggs have hips? I imagine in your world they would!) Thanks for another great post.

I gave you a shout-out on Twitter, but I must say it here too: I tried your butterscotch recipe as a topping for fudge (added chopped toasted pecans too). It was simple and absolutely fabulous.

Hey Shuna - beautiful desserts all! Thanks for sharing...I have a butterscotch creme brulee on my menu right now, and though the results are worth the trouble I notice that my "window" between almost-done and over-done is very, very tiny. I stir in a few little cubes of salted butter and a little scotch and vanilla to the hot custard before it goes in the ramekins - none of my other variations on creme brulee do this to me. Do you have this issue with your pot de creme recipe?

hello Ashley, I'm not exactly sure what your question is? My own experience with custards that need to be baked in the oven is that they need to be cohesive, light emulsions, before heading into the oven. Merely pouring cream + egg + sugar into a container & then setting it into the oven would not arrive at the same textural conclusion as does making this into a mixture first.

Therefore, I would never add anything {especially solids} to a custard appareil after it was made & before it was baked. Alcohol, for example, has a way of denaturing coagulation, which might be what you're speaking of... Do tell me if your question was in no way answered by me and I will attempt to readdress it. ~ Shuna

Thanks Shuna - yes,it's got to be either the butter or the alcohol that does something to the texture of the custard, making it difficult to tell when it's set. I can pull it out of the oven at the right moment, having done this many times. But it's something that requires not doing anything but watching the custard for ten minutes. May I ask at which point you incorporate your butter and vanilla extract? BTW my recipe is 1 qt cream, 1 cup packed dk. brown sugar, 10 yolks, 1/4 teaspoon salt and I've been stirring 1 T. butter, 1 T scotch whiskey and 1 t vanilla extract to the finished custard before baking.

Ashley, I make butterscotch 'sauce' and add this to a base pot de creme (or in your case creme brulee) recipe for which I lower the cream since the butterscotch has so much cream in it already. I find I get a better butterscotch flavor when I can a. season the butterscotch and b. season the finished married custard, before baking it.

As a reminder, butterscotch does not inherently have alcohol of any sort in it. And vanilla extract has alcohol in it, which is fine enough for me because I would rather taste the ineffable, amazing, true flavor of butterscotch in a butterscotch dessert, than the taste of scotch, which is wonderful, I agree, but too strong a flavor up against butterscotch, in my opinion.

Custards are emulsions which rely on an egg's ability to coagulate. When you start messing around with the rules, you will have an inconsistent set, at best. While I agree that pot de creme/baked custards need a bit more babysitting in the oven than, let's say, brownies, I can not afford to have inconsistency that would lead to waste in my pastry department. I have too much else to do & make. ~ Shuna

Sheer poetry ( and lust) to this not-as-crazy-about-chocolate lover, which means, butterscotch, lemon, rosewater...scents like that. I can't wait to try making this. Oh yum.

where's the flippin' recipe? dont tease .....want to make some now!!!!

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