Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

Matt Lewis


Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 207 pp., $29.95

Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are the proprietors of Baked, which has storefronts in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Charleston, S.C., and this is the second cookbook they've brought to the Texas Book Festival. Since their last visit to Austin, these intrepid young men have traveled the country researching traditional American regional desserts, unearthing treasured heirloom recipes and rediscovering long-lost sweet treats. Baked Explorations presents 75 classic recipes, each with a distinctive new twist.

The first thing that attracted me to these recipes is that the authors and I share a fondness for many of the same flavors. Caramel, malt, coffee, hazelnut, buttermilk, coconut, and peanut butter figure prominently in many of the recipes, making them irresistible to me. Nutella scones? Check. Buttermilk doughnuts? Of course. Almond Joy tart? You bet. Peanut-butter banana cream pie? Love some. Malted waffles? Bring them on! The book arrived just in time for me to use Texas pears in the whiskey pear tart and local Gala apples in the caramel apple cake, and I'm sure the peaches I put up this summer will be great in the Peaches and Dream Pie recipe calling for canned peaches.

The recipes here are well-thought-out and very approachable, each with its own "Baked Note" offering a special insight, fascinating historical fact, or inside tip as an enhancement. I judge cookbooks based on how many of the recipes actually inspire me to get cooking. I've been spending plenty of time in the kitchen with these jewels, and I'm not nearly finished yet.

The authors will demonstrate recipes from this book in the Cooking Tent at 2pm Saturday. They will also present a cooking class at Central Market Friday, Oct. 15, at 6:30pm. The $70 price of the class includes a signed copy of Baked Explorations. For more information and to make reservations, visit

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Texas Book Festival
The Texas Book Festival's Read Warriors
The Texas Book Festival's Read Warriors
Book lovers charge the Texas State Capitol this weekend

Robert Faires, Oct. 25, 2019

The Highs and Lows of Houston Life in <i>Lot: Stories</i>
The Highs and Lows of Houston Life in Lot: Stories
Bryan Washington depicts residents with warmth and discernment as they live, fight, work, and love in a city that can be both a home and a challenge

Rosalind Faires, Oct. 25, 2019

More Food Reviews
Buttermilk Graffiti
Buttermilk Graffiti

Jessi Devenyns, Oct. 26, 2018

Pie Squared
Pie Squared

Melanie Haupt, Oct. 26, 2018

More by Virginia B. Wood
Top 10 Savory Bites
Top 10 Savory Bites

Jan. 1, 2016

Open Secret
Open Secret
The not-so-hidden pleasures of dine

Dec. 25, 2015


Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, Baked, Texas Book Festival

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle