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‘Cooking for Comfort’

New York Times columnist Marian Burros with recipes for foods like mom used to make.
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In these turbulent times, bestselling author and acclaimed New York Times columnist Marian Burros felt the change in America’s eating habits. More and more, Burros noticed that people were setting aside their salads and instead reaching for foods like meat loaf and mashed potatoes, while others longed for the cookies, cakes, and pies their moms used to bake. In “Cooking for Comfort,” she shares more than 100 recipes for comfort food. Check out the recipes below.


SO NAMED BECAUSE the dessert I was making for company, a fancy custard, was still sloshing around instead of standing firm an hour before my guests were due to arrive in an hour. Remaking the dessert was out of the question: not enough time. I couldn’t buy a dessert; it’s hard to get away with a store-bought dessert when you are a food writer and cookbook author, especially when the party had been planned five months in advance.

I rushed to the store with a concept in mind and that’s how this dessert got its name. It was O.K. (no one at the party complained), but I knew there was a better dessert lurking in there. A few weeks later my son, who owns a restaurant in Spain, was visiting. We decided to play with the original version and what you see before you is the result..

The recipe here uses a jar of lemon curd, just as I did in a pinch, but a recipe for lemon curd is included for those who would rather make their own.


16 ounces mascarpone

2 pints heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

Finely grated peel of one large lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 3/4 cups dry (fino) sherry

2 cups chopped, toasted, lightly salted pecans

1 cup bought or homemade lemon curd

30 or more Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi)

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, grated lemon rind, curls of lemon rind, jellied lemon slices for garnish (optional).


In a bowl, beat mascarpone to soften it. Add cream, sugar and lemon peel, and beat until mixture is partly thickened. Slowly beat in lemon juice and 3/4 cup of the sherry, and continue beating until the mixture is thick.

Fold in the pecans. Stir in lemon curd just enough to make streaks in the whipped cream mixture.

Quickly dip the ladyfingers, one by one, on both sides into remaining sherry. Place enough of them in the bottom of a 12-cup straight-sided glass bowl to cover the bottom. Place additional ladyfingers side by side, standing on end, around sides of bowl. Spoon in half the whipped cream mixture. Arrange remaining lady fingers on top of whipped cream; top with remaining whipped cream mixture. Finish with garnish of your choice - espresso beans, lemon rind, jellied lemon slices.



2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

Juice of 11/2 lemons

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon


In medium, heat proof bowl, beat the eggs and yolk until light. Add the butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Place over hot water, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken or reach 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent crust from forming, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Yield: 12 servings


Don’t let lady fingers stay too long in the sherry or they will become mushy. If you can’t find savoiardi, use American lady fingers. They are not as crisp The savoiardi should be available in an Italian market as will the mascarpone though it has become so mainstream you can find it in many ordinary supermarkets.

If you buy the lemon curd, be sure it is nothing more than lemons, sugar, butter and egg. No natural or artificial flavors or colors.

Excerpted from “Cooking for Comfort: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes That Are as Satisfying to Cook as They Are to Eat,” by Marian Burros. Copyright © 2003 by Marian Burros. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.