Growing up, my mom would make my sisters and I a very special birthday cake each year without fail. It was a fluffy chocolate cake with a secret ingredient: a potato. The potato adds a certain moisture to the cake without any additional heft. It's a case of potatoes and pastry working together as a smart, efficient team. Then just this past week, The New York Times did a piece on vegetables finessing their way onto the dessert plate. And this got me thinking about other dessert recipes that relied on the flavor, color, or moisture of an unassuming ingredient like a potato.
In Yes, This is Made of Celery, Mark Bittman explores the rising popularity of vegetable desserts and offers a few easy recipes at the end to get you started at home. But the point of all of this is the inclination to explore what you have in your pantry already and how you can use what you find in new ways. To break out of a chocolate dessert rut or whatever fruit you've been snagging at the farmer's market and create something unexpected. So here we have a few ideas to potentially inspire you. In the meantime, we'd love to hear about any of your favorite dessert recipes that rely on vegetables in an interesting way.
• Sweet Potato Brownies - Food Loves Writing
• Pumpkin Ginger Rice Pudding - Epicurious
• Pinto Bean Pie - Homesick Texan
• Triple Layer Cauliflower and Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes - Eat a Beet
• Thomas Keller's Red Beet Ice Cream - White on Rice Couple
(Images: Kathryn Hill; Faith Durand)