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« Lemon Sherbet Granita, Olive Oil Relish & Honey-Orange Blossom Sabayon | Main | Cocoa Nib-Buckwheat Pannacotta, Honey Marshmallows, Cocoa Brownies, Milk Chocolate Crunch Candy & Shuna's Famous Hot Fudge Sauce »

07 January 2010


Tell your FOH to sell the dessert as the 'grown up version of your grandma's gingerbread cake.'

Yes, it's horribly frustrating to make a bloody awesome dessert, only for people to ask 'so, do you have anything chocolate?'

The trick is to rename things, like when I was at Nobu, we called it Japanese Cheesecake, which it was, but no one knows Japanese Cheesecake is a light sponge with cheese flavour, not NYS Cheesecake.

I feel like they have to be slightly mis-led in order to really try something different.

(Bang head against marble, over and over and over again.)

I have taken the liberty to highlight, in your comment, what struck me the most, what I LOVE! I know compliments are not your thing, but you fucking rock. Hard. I hear you, and changes will be made. Today. xx shuna

Spicy gingerbread? Now that's pretty weird.

It sounds delicious to me, but I can see how a "regular" Joe would not "get" it. I wish more pastry chefs were more daring with flavors, most desserts are so boring, seen over and over.

Happy baking!

Sounds amazing to me!

I run into this too, and I have to say, it's up to the FOH to sell it sometimes. It's imperative that they taste it, *get* it, and load enough enthusiasm behind it so they can spread it around to the uninitiated. And your stout reduction is brilliant ~ makes me think of mead, which obviously is a success story! Rock on.


I'm pretty sure I'd just be scared by how good it was.

Your ability to write about food and express the emotions and feelings it emits is breathtaking...

I'll take two...extra Brown Butter-Bacon Vinaigrette on the side please!

This dessert sounds incredible. I would be one of those that the description might make me take a bite out of my server. Ginger-anything should be warm and teasingly (or not so teasingly) spicy. I couldn't agree more on the contrasts.

If I wanted a plain chocolate something, I wouldn't be out in a restaurant. I "save room for dessert" to be able to fully enjoy the craft of the chef.

I would order that! I only eat bacon every few years, but that bacon vinegarette would tempt me, to be sure.

I was glad to see a link to your gingerbread! 2010 is the year I'm converting to a different gingerbread. I've been making the GT Guinness Stout gingerbread since the recipe was published in Gourmet in 2001. Then the version in the CF's book that uses half the amount of sugar...? IMO that recipe would have been toast if it didn't have romantic, wintery words like tavern and stout in the title, not to mention that 1 cup of molasses is just so yummy. The internet is full of love/hate for that recipe along with A LOT of tips for buttering and flouring that pan.

I made it three times this holiday season and I'm done with it's finickiness. One stupid question: in your recipe, does ounces for the liquids (molasses, syrup, buttermilk) refer to fluid ounces? I have a scale and like the exactness of weighing dry ingredients. I'm just never sure about the liquid measurements. Do they get weighed, or do you use a measuring cup and read ounces?

So, so looking forward to making your gingerbread.

Kristine, I always weigh my liquid ingredients. It's rare that the line on a measuring cup is "true." Also I just put my pot on the scale so that I save a bowl to wash! Sorry it took me so long to respond-- I hope my gingerbread makes it into your home/oven/mouth! ~ Shuna

Why would anyone not want to try this? I love simple desserts that are well made but I'd rather be challenged than reassured by a restaurant dish. You're an eloquent, both verbally and pastrily (not a word, I know) dessert genius. xo

This post left me speechless! You are a genius in baking and writing alike and I'm learning so much from you. Connecting these wonderful flavors makes so much sense - makes me want to hop on a plane NOW and have one.

I would lap this up, I love spicy, buttery caramelly desserts. Unfortunately the bacon would put me off since I dont eat meat....

The only scary about it is that I can't get to NY fast enough to try it.

now this is just pure deliciousness.

i'll drink it with the smuttynose imperial stout.

how could anyone not like this?

Shuna, sounds great to me, I love gingerbread and with some lemon curd, sounds weirder!?
Ale could make some good bread too!

Thank you for putting to words the complex experience of being present with life. I often feel the way you write; the incarnation of platted dessert and where the inspiration comes from.



(I did not feel I could leave that in your comment section, but that’s verbatim what I said out loud in my office when I read this)

*and thanks to your grandmother for giving me permission to post it in the comments!

Damn girl, sounds like sex on a plate to me. What's not to like?
Once again in awe of your writing. And I don't know why, but "roasted roasty roastedness" just made me smile from ear to ear.

I'm a painter and I love the way you weave a painter's perception into your food writing by calling attention to its intensely visual aspect. I learn something from your writing every time I visit. I worked for Diane Forley as her pastry chef (my survival job at the time to support my painting believe it or not!) at her restaurant before Verbena, Oggi Domani in Manhattan, and relate very much to the struggle to educate diners. I agree with some of the other comments that keeping some ingredients "secret" is one way to not "scare them." Although once I wrote an interview about a chef who outright said he liked scaring people with his new ideas. Perhaps we need to embrace our ability to do this, and just keep putting innovative things out there.

this says warm like nothing else shuna. scary? hell no!

This dessert looks mouthwateringly amazing, please tell me there's a way to get a hold of it in NYC. I would challenge myself to the recipe but I definitely wouldn't want to mess up the first impression of what could be a lifelong friend!

Hello Susan, I'm sorry to say you have missed this dessert, as it was on for just a few months-- what I like to call 'high winter.' The gingerbread recipe is really easy & truly versatile though-- don't be terribly afraid of it. As for where I work, you can usually find out by checking my online resume at If you get into the restaurant, please ask for me-- if I'm there it would be lovely to meet you in person. ~ Shuna

I am a professional chef working on a new recipe and I googled bacon brown butter. Your blog popped up, and I've got to say, this recipe sounds delicious. In reading this post, I find we have similar philosophies. I am going to try this!

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