Cooking at Home with Susan C. Beer, Bedford/Pound Ridge
This dessert maven doesn’t step down from a challenge, whether it’s carefully constructing a lemon meringue terrine or baking her own wedding cake.
Author, managing partner of an art management company, and founder of a nonprofit, Susan C. Beer of Pound Ridge still finds time to indulge her love of cooking—and especially, baking.
Age started cooking: 11. Why? “I loved desserts and, since we never had any at home, I had no choice but to make them myself.” First dish: American Beauty Cake using Swans Down cake flour. Loves to make: Cakes and non-yeast breads. Passionate about: Collecting recipes, something she’s done since she was a child. Favorite dish to prepare: Chocolate roulade. “Guests always ooh and aah, yet it is one of the simplest desserts to make—and flourless.” Most unusual dish: “Drunken” turkey for Thanksgiving. “My turkeys are de-fatted, stuffed, and baked in covered and non-vented roasting pans and, every half-hour, they are basted with wine, usually about two bottles per turkey over the course of their cooking time.” Most enjoyable meal to prepare: St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Best leftover creation: Turkey tetrazzini. Weirdest ingredient dish: Sauerkraut cake. Favorite baked good to prepare: Hubbard squash bread with dried dates, figs, apples, cherries, apricots, and mango. Signature breakfast: Banana pancakes crowned with bananas cut one-quarter-inch thick and sautéed in maple syrup. Easiest dish to master: Bread. “In the end, if you’ve done everything else right, it’s all about the baking time.” Most difficult dish: Lemon meringue terrine. “The difficulty is in keeping the toasted almond meringues from breaking as you spread them with lemon mousse one layer upon another.” Can’t-live-without-it gadget: Mixers. “They facilitate the bread- and cake-making process while saving time.” Three must-have spices: For cooking in general, curry, thyme, and oregano, and for baking, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Always in her pantry: “Chickpeas, a great addition to salads and soups, and flour, for baking.” Biggest cooking triumph: Her wedding reception for 100 guests for which she prepared everything, including the multi-tiered wedding cake—her childhood American Beauty Cake with a vanilla frosting, adjusted and adapted with a filling of dried fruits between the layers and festooned with fresh flowers. Most recent cooking mishap: Heavy cream refusing to whip with guests due to arrive momentarily.
Must-watch cooking show: Iron Chef America. “The chefs’ creativity with ingredients always inspires me to experiment and create new recipes.” Cookbook collection: Numbers in the hundreds. Cooking idol: Chef Masaharu Morimoto. “His creativity with different foods and ingredients is amazing, as is his presentation.”
Local Shopping & Dining Guide
Regular supermarket: A&P on Route 117 in Mount Kisco. “I find what I want there, from fruit and vegetables to yogurt, ethnic products, and fish.” Favorite gourmet shop: Whole Foods Market in White Plains. Best source for fresh produce: “In season, the two farm stands near me—Seedswell Vegetable Farm on Guard Hill Road and Daisy Hill Farm just off it.” Preferred cheese purveyor: Plum Plums at Scott’s Corners in Pound Ridge. Best local farmers’ market: Gossett Brothers Nursery on a Saturday morning on Route 35 in South Salem. Don’t-Feel-Like-Cooking Restaurant: Bedford Post Inn.
For Beer’s recipe for chocolate roulade, please go to westchestermagazine.com/webexclusives.
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