Condensation forms on the surface of desserts when we don’t cool them completely before covering and refrigerating, or when we unwrap them before defrosting. So much for hindsight! But, when condensation does happen, what the heck can you do about it?
For an easy solution: Blot the surface of certain kinds of desserts—such as cheesecake or pumpkin pie—with toilet paper! You heard it right: toilet paper. Buy a roll and designate it as your kitchen toilet paper. (Be sure to not use paper towels, though, which are too coarse and often have an embossed texture or pattern that will imprint on the surface of the dessert.)
Simply lay pieces of toilet paper directly on the surface of the cake—don’t dab or wipe—and sweep your fingers very lightly over the paper to absorb as much moisture as possible. Lift the paper and repeat with more dry pieces of paper as necessary.
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Blotting works on desserts that have a sealed surface or skin, so long as they aren’t dark, glossy, or reflective. I’ve have good luck with cheesecakes and pumpkin pies, but not ganache, chocolate glaze, or chocolate pudding—the blotting mars their sheen—unless you are prepared to dust these latter with powdered sugar or cocoa powder or top them with whipped cream I also often blot the lemon curd topping on my lemon bars before dusting them with powdered sugar.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).