Cooking at Home with Susan C. Beer, Bedford/Pound Ridge

This dessert maven doesn’t step down from a challenge, whether it’s carefully constructing a lemon meringue terrine or baking her own wedding cake.

Author, managing partner of an art management company, and founder of a nonprofit, Susan C. Beer of Pound Ridge still finds time to indulge her love of cooking—and especially, baking.

Age started cooking: 11. Why? “I loved desserts and, since we never had any at home, I had no choice but to make them myself.” First dish: American Beauty Cake using Swans Down cake flour. Loves to make: Cakes and non-yeast breads. Passionate about: Collecting recipes, something she’s done since she was a child. Favorite dish to prepare: Chocolate roulade. “Guests always ooh and aah, yet it is one of the simplest desserts to make—and flourless.” Most unusual dish: “Drunken” turkey for Thanksgiving. “My turkeys are de-fatted, stuffed, and baked in covered and non-vented roasting pans and, every half-hour, they are basted with wine, usually about two bottles per turkey over the course of their cooking time.” Most enjoyable meal to prepare: St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Best leftover creation: Turkey tetrazzini. Weirdest ingredient dish: Sauerkraut cake. Favorite baked good to prepare: Hubbard squash bread with dried dates, figs, apples, cherries, apricots, and mango. Signature breakfast: Banana pancakes crowned with bananas cut one-quarter-inch thick and sautéed in maple syrup. Easiest dish to master: Bread. “In the end, if you’ve done everything else right, it’s all about the baking time.” Most difficult dish: Lemon meringue terrine. “The difficulty is in keeping the toasted almond meringues from breaking as you spread them with lemon mousse one layer upon another.” Can’t-live-without-it gadget: Mixers. “They facilitate the bread- and cake-making process while saving time.” Three must-have spices: For cooking in general, curry, thyme, and oregano, and for baking, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Always in her pantry: “Chickpeas, a great addition to salads and soups, and flour, for baking.” Biggest cooking triumph: Her wedding reception for 100 guests for which she prepared everything, including the multi-tiered wedding cake—her childhood American Beauty Cake with a vanilla frosting, adjusted and adapted with a filling of dried fruits between the layers and festooned with fresh flowers. Most recent cooking mishap: Heavy cream refusing to whip with guests due to arrive momentarily.

Culinary Influences
Must-watch cooking show: Iron Chef America. “The chefs’ creativity with ingredients always inspires me to experiment and create new recipes.” Cookbook collection: Numbers in the hundreds. Cooking idol: Chef Masaharu Morimoto. “His creativity with different foods and ingredients is amazing, as is his presentation.”

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Local Shopping & Dining Guide
Regular supermarket: A&P on Route 117 in Mount Kisco. “I find what I want there, from fruit and vegetables to yogurt, ethnic products, and fish.” Favorite gourmet shop: Whole Foods Market in White Plains. Best source for fresh produce: “In season, the two farm stands near me—Seedswell Vegetable Farm on Guard Hill Road and Daisy Hill Farm just off it.” Preferred cheese purveyor: Plum Plums at Scott’s Corners in Pound Ridge. Best local farmers’ market: Gossett Brothers Nursery on a Saturday morning on Route 35 in South Salem. Don’t-Feel-Like-Cooking Restaurant: Bedford Post Inn.

For Beer’s recipe for chocolate roulade, please go to

Take It From Them  
Our Chefs’ Top Tips for Newbie Cooks

“Keep it simple to begin. Follow the recipe and try many until you find what works for you.” 

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