Christina Tosi, pastry chef extraordinaire of Momofuku Milk Bar has now decided to share her fabulous desserts in a cookbook. With whimsical recipes like Cinnamon Bun Pie, Red Velvet Ice Cream and Pretzel Ice Cream Pie, you’re probably going to want to make everything in this cookbook.
Read below as Chef Tosi gives us some insight, via email, into how she creates recipes and what advice she would give to budding chefs.
Q: Why did you decide to write your new cookbook, “Momofuku Milk Bar”?
A: Honestly, Milk Bar was only a year old when the “Momofuku Cookbook” came out in 2009. People were so immediately attached to the baked goods, they began to get upset when they realized the “Momofuku Cookbook” only traced the steps of Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar and Ko. So I decided to pick up where Dave left off with “Momofuku Milk Bar.”
Q: How would you describe “Momofuku Milk Bar” and its desserts to those in America who haven’t gotten a chance to visit?
A: I guess I’d say they’re my personality in the form of a baked good. It’s one gal’s take on a bakery she’s wanted all her life. Milk bar’s desserts are a documentation of my love of food, junk food and sweets in surprising and funny ways. They’re honest and with a sense of humor. Like much of the food at Momofuku, they’re loud in flavor, at times confusing to try to wrap your mind around, but always make sense once you succumb to them and take a bite.
Q: What are your biggest inspirations when creating recipes?
At Milk Bar, we never stop looking for inspiration. We go out to eat, we cook at home, we turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine. We get ideas from friends, family and customers alike. Everything has potential to be an inspiration for our next creation
Q: What was your favorite childhood dessert?
A: Cookie dough.
Q: It says in your new cookbook that you don’t waste anything. How can the home cook incorporate leftover cake scraps (besides snacking on them)?
A: We use cake scraps in a world of desserts. We blend them into ice cream bases for flavor, we toast them in the oven and use them as textural elements in ice cream toppings, layers of cake or cookie dough. We also take cake scraps, moisten them and roll them into balls, coat them in a little chocolate and roll them in something textural, that we call “cake truffles.” We make them out of each of our layer cake scraps, and they’re an awesome way to get a bite of cake without having to commit to a slice.
Q: Your story in the cookbook of how you achieved your success is fascinating. What advice would you give to young chefs, beginning their careers?
A: It might sound corny or overplayed, but stay true to yourself, and stay true to your heart. That and whatever you do, do it with all your might.
I wanted to get into the dessert world so bad, I thought my path was a NYC pastry chef for a highly regarded fancy restaurant. On my climb, I know I worked harder and faster and hungrier than anyone near me, but on my climb I also realized that it wasn’t exactly me, that the truth in me was less finicky and more casual. I realized I’d rather scoop a million cookies and jump around to music than temper chocolate or spin a tuile a mile long.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this blueberry and cream cookie?
A: I wanted to make a “momofuku” cookie long ago. Momofuku means “lucky peach” in Japanese and my only starting point was to use peach as a starting point for flavor. I thought a “peaches and cream” cookie could be cute. But as I was mixing and developing this idea for “milk crumbs” the “cream” flavor and textural element I wanted in this “peaches and cream cookie,” the more I realized it wasn’t quite me; my heart wasn’t quite in it. I am more of a blueberry muffin batter type gal, so I decided the cookie should be a blueberry and cream cookie, and it would be an homage to the dense muffin top of a blueberry muffin, the only part I’d be likely to eat and love, aside from the batter.
Dying to make the blueberry and cream cookie? Here’s the recipe.
For more of Christina Tosi’s recipes, grab a copy of the “Momofuku Milk Bar” cookbook.