20th century cafe cookbook

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart, excerpted from Baking at the 20th Century Cafe by Michelle Polzine (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Aya Brackett.

 Baking at the 20th Century Cafe by Michelle Polzine (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020. A glorious confection of ten airy layers, flavoured with burnt honey and topped with a light dulce de leche cream frost­ing. It’s an impressive cake, but there’s so much more. Wait until you try the Dobos Torta or Plum Kuchen or Vanilla Cheesecake.

Throughout her baking career, Michelle Polzine of San Francisco’s celebrated 20th Cen­tury Cafe has been obsessed with the tortes, strudels, Kipferl, rugelach, pierogi, blini, and other famous delicacies you might find in a grand cafe of Vienna or Prague.

Now she shares her passion in a book that doubles as a master class, with over 75 no-fail recipes, dozens of innovative techniques that bakers of every skill level will find indispensable (no more cold but­ter for a perfect tart shell), and a revelation of in­gredients, from lemon verbena to peach leaves.

Many recipes are lightened for contem­porary tastes, and are presented through a California lens—think Nectarine Strudel or Date-Pistachio Torte. A surprising num­ber are gluten-free. And all are written with the author’s enthusiastic and singular voice, describing a cake as so good it “will knock your socks off, and wash and fold them too.”

Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.   (more…)