Posts By: Dana Cree

Bourbon Gooey Butter Cake

Blackbird went through a big transition recently. We bid goodbye and good luck to David Posey, the Chef de cuisine I’ve worked with for the past 2 years as he stepped away to start the process of opening his own restaurant. His large shoes are being filled by Perry Hendrix, a chef who I have… Read more »

Mr. Darcy’s Crumpets

I’d firmly say I’m the type of gal that doesn’t stray, but when it comes to cuisine I am often tempted to wander. Last September, a dish belonging to another caught my eye. The object of my affections, a sourdough crumpet golden from the griddle peeked at me from under small bits of salmon roe… Read more »

parmesan cruller

Inspiration most often comes in the least likely packages. Our most recent dessert, a Parmesan cruller glazed in white chocolate, and served with basil and blackberries, was born of an orange box of Stouffer’s mac and cheese. Nestle contacted me and put me to the task of hacking one of their products, which basically means… Read more »

Coconut Haystacks

Sitting high above the countertops on a shelf many of can only reach on tip toes, we keep larger containers of dry goods we access on a near daily basis. Way up there was a relic of a dish past, dehydrated flakes of coconut, a byproduct of processing whole coconuts for our winter dessert of… Read more »

An Amaretto Cake

Our pastry work at Blackbird has remained exploratory in nature. We rarely use a recipe twice. Instead of relying on something we’ve mastered, we push ourselves to ask, “what else can we do?” It does mean some of our favorite recipes retire, never to see another mouth again. Avec, however, has become my refuge for… Read more »


I am a tiramisu purist. To me this means the quintessential Italian dessert is made with aged ladyfingers dipped in espresso, softened between layers of mascarpone that has been lightened with a Marsala sabayon. A proper tiramisu should contain nothing more, save a light dusting of bitter cocoa powder to finish. If I’m feeling really… Read more »

Culinary Schools

The topic of culinary school has come up lately here in Blackbirds pastry department as we get to know the newer members of our team, Krystle and Harry. Through conversation, it’s clear we all have a lot in common. However, it’s interesting how divergent our paths into this kitchen are. Jane currently attends the french… Read more »

Italian Jam Tart

Last summer I consulted a pastry chef with much more experience in the world of Italian desserts than I. I was in need of some suggestions for traditional desserts to inform my menu at Avec, and he has managed the sweet side of Del Posto in New York for long enough to make him an… Read more »

culture club

Spring has yet to spring here in Chicago. Temperatures still hover around freezing, and snow flurries obscured my vision as I walked home from work earlier this week. This hasn’t stopped my internal clock from sounding the bells of seasons change with no regard for the wintery climate outside. Without even a suggestion of the… Read more »


It took a brunch baby shower at Avec and the guests request for an off-menu item to be served for me to see it. As I rounded up the requisite iron and discussed recipes, a hidden passion in my pastry cook came bubbling to the surface. Turns out, Amy McCudden loves making waffles. It may… Read more »