Holiday dessert buffet? Sign us up, especially when Hedy Goldsmith, Michael’s Genuine dessert doyenne and James Beard Award nominee, is doing the baking. She has created a dazzling spread that’s a little organic, a little industrial, a little Art Basel, a little holiday and totally Hedy. It’s also doable for the home cook.
To show how it’s done, Goldsmith invited us to her Coral Gables home. Butter, sugar and spice are in the air, her all-star desserts are covering the table, from creamy creme fraiche cranberry panna cotta to crisp, caramelized palmiers. With a background in visual arts, Goldsmith makes pastries in which design and dessert intersect, from the crisp phyllo crown on the chocolate bourbon tart to the sculptural cluster of meringue sticks glamming up a lemon tart (or any tart, even — shhhh — store-bought).
Delighting in mixing forms, Goldsmith combines celadon and lavender hydrangeas and cymbidium orchids from Always Flowers instead of obvious holiday choices like juniper and holly. Aluminum gutter screens add techno flavor; succulents and crosscuts of Australian pine add a primal note. It’s holiday without sugarplums, fruitcake or anything else cloying.
Goldsmith, whose Baking Out Loud was recently named one of Food and Wine’s cookbooks of the year, coaxes depth from desserts with herbaceous accents — dry mustard makes the gingersnaps snap. So does pairing them with champagne, like a magnum of blush-colored Billecart-Salmon brut rose. Goldsmith’s apricot Linzer torte, rich with anise and lemon zest, deserves something more complex, like smoky Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21 Year-Old Bourbon or a toffeeish Barbeito Bual 1982 Madeira. Talk about a party.
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It all comes together for a display worthy of Art Basel, yet utterly, irresistibly edible. Sweet.