In My Pantry: Claire Saffitz’s Five Essentials

Claire Saffitz is a self-described dessert person. She wrote her first cookbook, released in 2020, to (as she says) “celebrate and defend” her love of desserts.  When writing her second book, What’s for Dessert, Saffitz aimed to create approachable recipes for home bakers of all skill levels. “I wanted to provide a wide variety of flavors and textures to suit all tastes,” she explains. “I hope there is a dessert in the book for everybody—regardless of one’s time, experience, and kitchen environment.” 

In What’s for Dessert, readers will find a much broader range of recipes than in Saffitz’s previous collections. “It moves beyond the world of baked goods to explore stovetop desserts, frozen and chilled desserts, and all manner of desserts that are made in the oven,” she says. “The range of difficulty is also much narrower, with many very easy and approachable dishes.” Most remarkably (and unlike the bulk of recipes written for home bakers), she says “there’s no stand mixer required, and many recipes are entirely makeable by hand.”

After a long period of developing dessert recipes, Saffitz is enjoying cooking for herself and her husband. “I love being able to cook simply, intuitively, and creatively at home. I know—when the book comes out—that my schedule will be a bit more full, so I’m trying to enjoy the lull right now. My husband and I spent a lot of the summer working on a garden, which was wonderful and fascinating,” she explains. Despite her identification as a dessert person, Saffitz’s must-haves reflect her expansive food interests; in her list, there is neither flour nor sugar.

Claire Saffitz’s Staples

Kewpie Mayonnaise

I love Kewpie because it’s so rich and creamy and has the perfect sweet/tangy balance. I add it to salad dressings, use it straight as a dipping sauce, and of course squeeze it on sandwiches and burgers. The squeeze bottle is so convenient, too. 

Faella Dried Pasta

This is such a high-quality dried pasta that resists overcooking and retains an al dente texture. When I have it in our pantry, I always feel like dinner is in reach. Pasta is my favorite, and this is my go-to brand. 

Katz Vinegar

This high-quality vinegar is an instant upgrade for salads. It’s so balanced and complex and has just the right amount of sharpness. 

Fix and Fogg Everything Butter

I am not a big breakfast person, mostly because I don’t feel like making the effort to prepare anything for myself, so I have some strategies for throwing together a very quick breakfast. One of my favorite options is just a frozen waffle toasted and covered in this Everything Butter, which is packed with seeds and has a nice savory edge. It’s delicious and so wholesome. 

Castelvetrano Olives

These are one of my favorite snacks, they’re so buttery and mild and have a very satisfying texture. I have always loved olives, and Castelvetrano are the variety I like best.