Diner Desserts

Overview

Wrap your hands around a cuppa joe, slip a quarter in the jukebox, and dig into a sweet, satisfying slice of Sky-High Lemon Meringue Pie or Chocolate Marble Cheesecake. With Diner Desserts, you don't have to hit the highway to indulge in the favorite desserts of America's roadside eateries. From a Really Rich Double-Chocolate Milk Shake to Creamy Tapioca Pudding and Sour Cream Blueberry Crumbcake, author Tish Boyle has assembled much more than a baker's dozen of scrumptious treats. These are the desserts that no ...
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Overview

Wrap your hands around a cuppa joe, slip a quarter in the jukebox, and dig into a sweet, satisfying slice of Sky-High Lemon Meringue Pie or Chocolate Marble Cheesecake. With Diner Desserts, you don't have to hit the highway to indulge in the favorite desserts of America's roadside eateries. From a Really Rich Double-Chocolate Milk Shake to Creamy Tapioca Pudding and Sour Cream Blueberry Crumbcake, author Tish Boyle has assembled much more than a baker's dozen of scrumptious treats. These are the desserts that no one turns down, ever. This book is a warm slice of nostalgic Americana, with wholesome, easy-to-follow recipes enhanced by black and white photographs of classic diners. Perfect for home cooks and diner aficionados alike, Diner Desserts is sure to remind you that a slice of homemade pie is always a real good way to start the day.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Warm Slice of Nostalgic Americana

Wrap your hands around a cuppa joe, slip a quarter in the jukebox, and dig into a sweet, satisfying slice of Sky-High Lemon Meringue Pie or Chocolate Marble Cheesecake. With Diner Desserts, you don't have to hit the highway to indulge in the favorite desserts of America's roadside eateries. From a Really Rich Double-Chocolate Milk Shake to Creamy Tapioca Pudding and Sour Cream Blueberry Crumbcake, author Tish Boyle has assembled much more than a baker's dozen of scrumptious treats. These are the desserts that no one turns down, ever. This book is a warm slice of nostalgic Americana, with wholesome, easy-to-follow recipes enhanced by black and white photographs of classic diners. Perfect for home cooks and diner aficionados alike, Diner Desserts is sure to remind you that a slice of homemade pie is always a real good way to start the day.


Eve with a Lid On

Tish Boyle, in her latest book, Diner Desserts, tells us that she has learned some of life's most important lessons in diners. I don't know if I've ever learned anything of substance in a diner, but I sure have had some of my greatest heart-to-heart talks over a cup of "Joe" and some "Eve with a lid on" (coffee and apple pie in diner parlance). Food editor of Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design and author of numerous dessert books for pastry professionals—such as Grand Finales, A Neoclassical View of Plated Desserts, A Grand Finales: A Modernist View of Plated Desserts, and Chocolate Passion—Tish Boyle has, in her latest effort, taken us back to simpler days with a marvelous selection of home-cook accessible, memory-evoking desserts. Taking a bit of the atmosphere from the book, Tish and I had a great dessert heart-to-heart over "sinkers and suds" (doughnuts and coffee) in a New York City diner.

I asked Tish want prompted Diner Desserts, since she is most well-known for her books for professionals. "I have found that there is a whole generation that has missed out on home-spun desserts having been raised on confections made from mixes. I wanted to present to them the ideal of a diner dessert—unpretentious, well-made, richly flavored, and fresh. And, of course, a bit over-the-top with lots of cream, butter, chocolate, and farm-fresh fruit. What I have tried to do in Diner Desserts is capture the memory of what we think diner food was."

I noted that although many of today's diners look as warm and friendly as they have always looked, the food frequently isn't as welcoming and homemade tasting as I remember. In fact, I am always suckered in by those mile-high desserts that greet you in the entranceway of many diners, only to be miserably disappointed when I put the first forkful into my mouth. "For Diner Desserts, I didn't use current diner recipes. What I did was go back to the ideal in both taste and presentation—simple, great-tasting desserts made from real ingredients served in a warm, friendly atmosphere." Both Tish and I commiserated about how difficult it is to purchase a great home-style two-crust pie, layer cake, or simple pudding—even from the most highly recommended bakery. Tish said, "More and more home cooks are becoming home bakers. Not every day but once in awhile just so they can capture the memory of great homemade sweets. And, they really have to learn how to do this from cookbooks, because very few young cooks come from households where baking was an everyday (or even anytime) occurrence."

I asked Tish what her favorite dessert was in Diner Desserts. "Well, I do love simple puddings—you know, it doesn't take much longer to make a pudding from scratch than it does to stir up a mix. I also love the Boston Creme Donuts—which are a bit awesome to prepare—and the Apple Turnovers and Toasted Almond Cake." "What about novice cooks?" I asked, "Any advice?" "Begin with Butterscotch Pudding or Baked Fudge Pudding—they are both very simple to prepare. Brownies, too, are easy," answered Tish. "However, most of the recipes in Diner Desserts are relatively easy to do—I've tried to take all of the guesswork out of dessert making and let the homecook put easy-to-prepare, great-tasting, memory-provoking desserts on the everyday table." I can only say that after an hour's chat, I was longing for a piece of my Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie. Get your copy of Diner Desserts and begin baking. You will soon have friends saying, "Your desserts taste just like I remember my Mom's tasting. When are you going to open a diner?"

Judith Choate

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811824491
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tish Boyle the food editor of Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines. A graduate of La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, she now lives in New York City.

Clark Irey a San Francisco based photographer whose work has been featured in numberous publications, including San Francisco and Outside magazines.

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Read an Excerpt




Introduction


EAT


I learned some of life's most important lessons in diners. When I was a kid, my father, a doctor, would take me along to local nursing homes to visit some of his older patients. These outings, as you can imagine, did not register high on the fun scale. But my Dad's a smart guy, and he livened things up by taking me out to a diner for a hot fudge sundae on the way home. And so I learned that good deeds were rewarded. Nursing homes took on a more positive spin.


During high school in suburban New Jersey, the Plaza Diner ("where the elite meet," according to the menu) was the big after-school hangout. My friends and I would gossip endlessly over cheesecake, French fries, and soda (occasionally splurging on burgers) and speculate on the personal lives of the waitresses and busboys who passed by. We talked about SAT scores, college plans, and who was dating whom. And it was there, one Saturday night, that a drunken boy tapped on a glass with a fork and professed his love for me before a slack-jawed crowd munching on the Plaza's beloved diner fare. I learned to stay away from drunken boys. At least in public places.

In college, when we got sick of eating tofu lasagna and chicken cacciatore, my friends and I would pile into my fire-engine-red Cutlass Supreme (with a white interior) and head to the Miss Florence Diner in Florence, Massachusetts. Miss Flo's is famous throughout the western part of the state for its outstanding corned beef hash, potato fritters, and homemade pies. It's a real old-style diner, with a bright neon sign in front and jukeboxes at every booth. In mysophomore year I was late taking my last exam before the winter break and was stuck in town for two days before Christmas. Planning to head home early the next morning, I headed over to Miss Flo's for a solitary dinner, full of self-pity. I ordered a cheeseburger and French fries with gravy and played Elvis's "Blue Christmas" on the jukebox. The good food and comfortable atmosphere soon cheered me up, and I ordered apple pie à la mode and programmed the jukebox for a Christmas song by the Chipmunks. Inexplicably, "Blue Christmas" began to play again. A few of the locals at the counter gave me sympathetic looks. The bouffant-haired waitress approached with my pie and said, "What's with you and the King, hon?" I shrugged and explained that I must have pushed the wrong buttons. The pie was wonderful, and every time I hear "Blue Christmas" I long for a piece and think of Miss Flo's.


Most people in America can recall a diner experience. This modest eatery has become a cultural institution. Although the first diners appeared in New England in the nineteenth century, they have spread from coast to coast, across much of Canada, north to the Alaskan wilderness, and even beyond. The scope of the diner phenomenon can be appreciated by visiting the Internet: a single inquiry turned up over twenty-four thousand items on just one search engine. One of them was Roadside Magazine, the unofficial Web site for North American diners. Another was a chamber-of-commerce-type promotion from South Africa's Zulu state, inviting visitors to patronize Porky's Family Diner in Empfanga, the state capital. Of course, diner settings have been a staple on television (Happy Days, and Alice) and in films for decades. Movies that immediately come to mind are Five Easy Pieces, American Graffiti, Diner, Frankie and Johnny, Pulp Fiction, and Pleasantville, to name only a few.

Diners evoke a simpler way of life, a time when people ate French fries and cheeseburgers and sundaes without thought of fat, sugar, and cholesterol, when Formica was fashionable and playing records on the jukebox was good entertainment. Diners are warm and inviting, bustling with activity and chatter, with soft music playing and the aroma of strong coffee and freshly baked pie filling the air. They are purely American, and the food is uncomplicated, generously portioned, and inexpensive.

The diner dates back to 1872, when a Providence, Rhode Island, entrepreneur named Walter Scott hitched a horse to a small cart and began selling sandwiches, pies, and hot coffee to hungry night-shift workers. His business was a big success from the start. It was known as the Providence Lunch Counter and was the first portable restaurant in the country. People gathered around the cart, eating their food from the curbside. By the time Scott retired in 1917, the lunch-cart business had become a booming industry in the Northeast and several competitors had emerged.

In 1887, a Worcester, Massachusetts, bartender named Sam Jones improved on Scott's concept by introducing the first sit-down diner. It was a lunch wagon equipped with an eating counter, stools, and a complete kitchen. A huge success, Jones's state-of-the-art operation was widely copied. In 1888, a former lunch-cart counter boy named Thomas Buckley built his first lunch wagon, which he named The Owl. Buckley began to manufacture standardized models of his Owl wagons and set them up around the country. This gained him the nickname the Lunch Wagon King. His Owl models had built-in stoves that allowed for menus that included hot meals. Diner competition became fierce, and rival businesses popped up in cities across the United States.


As the portable diner business grew, residents began to complain that the lunch wagons were unsightly. In the early 1900s, with this criticism in mind, a New Rochelle manufacturer named Patrick Tierney designed a sleek, prefabricated dining structure with all the amenities. It was a long, narrow building, similar in appearance to a railroad dining car but not mobile. It was called a dining car, which was eventually shortened to diner. Tierney's diners were compact restaurants with gleaming tile floors, shiny metal dining counters, indoor toilets, and separate booths for table service. His design became the model for the diner as we know it today.


The current popularity of the diner is due in part to its friendly atmosphere and spirit of camaraderie. The other, and more important, key to its success is tasty food that is filling, affordable, and quickly prepared. Diners have always served home-style food. On the savory side, menus may include such dishes as chicken-fried steak with a side of hash browns, meat loaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, or macaroni and cheese topped with buttery bread crumbs. While the menu items are all basic, they are rich in flavor and, of course, fat. Desserts follow the same formula. A typical diner menu may include butterscotch pudding, strawberry cheesecake, coconut cream pie, and devil's food cake. These desserts are all lavish in a home-cooked way, and this is the source of their appeal. They tend to be unpretentious, with strong, vibrant flavors and an emphasis on freshness. It is unlikely that a diner menu would include anything that is fussy or time-consuming to prepare. Napoleons, profiteroles, and other staples of haute cuisine found on the menus of highbrow restaurants are not diner fare.

Diner-style desserts are now more popular than ever, symbolizing our love for the plain, unadorned desserts of the past. The recipes in this book are inspired by all the desserts traditionally found on diner menus. They are made fresh every day from primary ingredients. There is no skimping on eggs, butter, or cream. They are oversized, bold, and sincere. Whether what you crave is a piece of cherry pie à la mode, a bowl of luscious chocolate pudding, or a hot fudge sundae, you will find your favorite diner-dessert memory in these pages.


Chapter One


Equipment


Quality kitchen equipment will last a lifetime, making it a solid investment. When purchasing baking pans, look for heavy-gauge ones. They will cost more but will produce better results and last longer. And remember, you don't need to buy everything at once. Start with the basics and add to your collection gradually, piece by piece.


Electric Mixers

While many of the recipes in this book can be made with a handheld electric mixer, a heavy-duty stand mixer is a great convenience. If you bake regularly, you should invest in one. I recommend KitchenAid brand mixers.

4½- or 5-quart electric stand mixer with paddle, whisk, and dough hook attachments
Handheld electric mixer


Food Processor

This appliance is indispensable for many tasks (grinding nuts, making cookie crumbs, mixing pie dough) and saves time chopping ingredients. I recommend Cuisinart brand, which has a variety of models available.


Basic Equipment

Stainless steel dry measuring cups: ¼, 1/3, ½, and 1 cup
Pyrex liquid measuring cups: 8, 16, and 32 ounce
Stainless steel measuring spoons: 1/8, ¼, ½, and 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon
Kitchen scale with ounce measurements
Stainless steel mixing bowls: 1, 2, 3, and 4 quart
Large cutting board
Rolling pin
Pastry blender
Citrus zester
Juicer
Fruit corer
Pie weights, dried beans, or rice for blind baking pie crusts
Two pastry brushes
Kitchen timer
Instant-read thermometer
Oven thermometer
Candy thermometer
Two cooling racks
Biscuit cutters: 2, 2¼, 3, and 3½ inch
3-inch doughnut cutter
Fluted pastry wheel
Rubber spatulas in assorted sizes
Heatproof rubber spatula
Small offset metal spatula
Large offset metal spatula
3-inch paring knife
6-inch utility knife
10- or 12-inch chef's knife
Long, serrated knife
Vegetable peeler
Slotted spoon
Cherry pitter
Wooden spoons in assorted sizes
Sifter
Fine-mesh sieve
Wire whisks in assorted sizes
Ice cream scoop
Parchment paper
Toothpicks or cake tester


Pots and Pans

Heavy saucepans: 1, 2, and 3 quart
12-inch frying pan
Deep fryer or 8-quart stockpot
Double boiler


Baking Pans and Equipment

Three 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches high)
Three 9-inch round cake pans (2 inches high)
9-inch glass pie plate
9- or 9½-inch deep-dish glass pie plate
7-by-11-by-1½-inch Pyrex glass baking dish
9-by-13-inch glass baking dish
Shallow 2-quart glass baking dish
10½-by- 15½-by- 1-inch jelly roll pan
11½-by- 17½-by-1-inch shallow baking pan
8-inch square baking pan
9-inch square baking pan
9-by- 13-by-1½-inch baking pan
9- or 9½-inch springform pan
Two standard cookie sheets
Two insulated cookie sheets
Two large baking sheets
12-cup standard (3-ounce) muffin pan
6-cup jumbo (8-ounce) muffin pan
6- and 8-ounce Pyrex custard cups or ovenproof ramekins


Garnishing and Serving Equipment

Cake comb
14- or 16-inch pastry bag
Assorted medium and large plain and star-shaped Ateco pastry tips
Four sundae glasses
Two banana split dishes
Two tall 18-ounce glasses
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Table of Contents

Introduction 8
Chapter 1: Equipment 14
Chapter 2: Ingredients 18
Chapter 3: Recipe Techniques 24
Chapter 4: Pie Heaven 28
Basic Flaky Pie Crust 30
Classic Lattice-Top Cherry Pie 34
Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust 36
Chocolate Cream Pie 38
Coconut Dream Pie 40
Sky-High Lemon Meringue Pie 42
Incredible Chocolate—Peanut Butter Pie 44
Banana Brickle Cream Pie 46
Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie 48
Southern Sweet Potato Spice Pie 49
Chapter 5: Under the Cake Keeper 50
Old-fashioned Jelly Roll 52
High and Mighty White Cake 54
German Chocolate Cake 56
Toasted Almond Brittle Crunch Cake 58
Carrot Cake 62
Boston Cream Pie 64
Blue RibbonCoconut Layer Cake 68
Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake 70
Lemon Layer Cake 72
Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy White Frosting 74
Maple-Walnut Cake 76
Chapter 6: Say Cheesecake 80
Classic Diner Cheesecake 82
Strawberry Shortcrust Cheesecake 84
Cherry Cheesecake 86
Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust 88
Chocolate Marble Cheesecake 90
Turtle Cheesecake 92
Chapter 7: Cobblers, Crisps, and Other Fruit Favorites 94
Apple-Raspberry Crisp with Pecan Crunch Topping 96
Ginger Peachy Cobbler 98
Cherry-Almond Oat Crumble 100
Black-and-Blue Cornmeal Cobbler 102
Strawberry Shortcake 104
Chapter 8: Proof of the Pudding 106
Rum-Raisin Rice Pudding 108
Creamy Tapioca Pudding 109
Butterscotch Pudding 110
Chocolate Malt Pudding 111
Maple Pudding with Sugared Pecans 112
Banana Caramel Pudding 114
Rich Bread-and-Butter Pudding 116
Baked Fudge Pudding 118
Chapter 9: Coffee Break—Cookies, Bars and Brownies 120
Old-time Peanut Butter Cookies 122
Mega Oatmeal, Walnut, and Chocolate Chip Cookies 124
Classic Black and White Cookies 126
Monster Fudge Nut Cookies 128
Rocky Road Bars 130
Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 132
Double-Fudge Frosted Brownies 134
Chapter 10: Dunkables—Doughnuts, Muffins, and Pastries 136
Banana-Nut Muffins 138
Jumbo Crumbly Blueberry Muffins 140
Sour Cream—Blueberry Crumb Cake 142
Glazed Almond-Cinnamon Swirls 146
Raspberry Twists 148
Diner-Style Powdered Buttermilk Doughnuts 150
Boston Cream Doughnuts 152
Chapter 11: From the Soda Fountain 156
Root Beer Float 158
Really Rich Double-Chocolate Milk Shake 159
Butterscotch Sundae 160
Hot Fudge Walnut Sundae 162
S'more Sundae 164
Triple-Threat Banana Split 166
Diner Slang 168
Suggestions for Further Reading 170
Index 171
Table of Equivalents 176
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2000

    Forget the calories for a while

    This is an unpretentious, gem of a cookbook. It contains a bunch of very easy recipes that produce desserts that will remind you of diner desserts, but taste far better. I¿ve tried a couple with high-octane, powerful results (for example, Toasted Almond Brittle Crunch cake will definitely get your guests¿ attention!). From the viewpoint of ease and reliability, I recommend this book highly. Background info put out by the publisher shows that the author¿s an expert on very sophisticated desserts created by pastry chefs from top restaurants. If you¿re interested in what¿s ¿modern¿or trendy, you should check out the author¿s books on plated desserts, not this one. Otherwise, you can't miss with this book, which shows that she¿s accomplished at both ends of the spectrum.

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