It’s quite the coup to have this baker at my party.
Jill often says that she credits me for making her pistachio sansrival famous. “When you [first] wrote about it , the phone didn’t stop ringing for days!” She tells me in her characteristically high-pitched and excited tone.
I didn’t even know her all that well then except of course by reputation. Jill is legendary in the food industry. Her knowledge and skill of baking is practically unsurpassed and she’s the one I and pastry chefs turn to when a question on baking science has us stumped. I’m also very fortunate that we even got to work together when we were part of the staff at the now-defunct Foodie magazine of ABS-CBN Publishing, she as food stylist and recipe consultant; I as columnist and copy editor.
It was almost a year ago while we were having coffee that mention of a second Dessert Comes First party came about. As usual, I voiced my apprehensions but Jill said, “I’ll make dessert for you.”
And so she is.
I consider it a coup to have Jill as one of the bakers at my 6th Anniversary Party because for one, she’s one of the very best bakers out there; and secondly, she’s terribly, terribly difficult to pin down. She’s in high demand as a food consultant, recipe demonstrator, and other food-related tasks, all of which she does inimitably and with aplomb. When we were discussing which desserts she wanted to serve at the party, I was adamant that she make her sansrival. “How about two kinds, pistachio and pili?” She suggests. I reply with an involuntary hoot and holler.
Jill is also making a trio of cookies, “finger food” that’s easy to eat out of hand. There are her Jam Thumbprints, very crumbly, almost shortbread-like cookies whose middles gleam red and sweet.
Then there’s her exotic cookie, a Sesame Spice number dotted with the little seeds and whose flavor haunts with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves even.
Chocolate Chubbies, though they certainly aren’t in appearance, fulfill Jill’s insistence that there be something chocolate as well. These cookies have a crackly top and moist center reminiscent of a brownie with a pervasive shot of coffee that points up its chocolate note.