is not for the faint of heart

My Grimoire

“Grimoire” is a fancy word for a witch’s book of spells.

So no, these are not recipes, they are the practical magic of which recipes are made. My fellow kitchen witches will know what it all means on first glance. And while they’re presented in glorious HTML here, I recommend downloading the PDF and trimming the implicit 4×6″ cards for regular use. But that’s just me.

All due credit to Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio, Rose Levy Berenbaum, author of The Cake/Bread/Pie & Pastry Bible(s), and Shirley Corriher, imminent food scientist, whose writings inspired me to peek behind the curtain of my recipes and find the endless carnivale of edible joy.

These charts will guide you through the measurable aspects of your cooking world with weights, measures, times, & temperatures.

Weights & Volumes

Weights for most baking ingredients and volumes for common pans. Essential for size conversions and making your own ratios.


Cooking temperatures for meat, custard, frying, and candy making.


Ingredient substitutions for baking staples that are as good as gold.

Ratios are at the heart of the dessert and pastry arts.

You’re going to need a scale and the requisite techniques to make use of this part of my grimoire. The idea is simple: no more recipes for your bakes and sauces. Just work out how much of something you need, weigh the ingredients, and go. Each ratio has a common size as a starting point, and you can math yourself the rest of the way.

Let’s say you need a 9-inch round of pie dough. You’d first go to the Batters & Doughs ratios and find the ratio for pie dough is three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part liquid. You’d also find that 225 grams flour is how much you need for that 9-inch round. Dividing 225 grams flour by 3 parts gets you 75 grams/part. When you multiply this by the two parts for fat, you get 150 grams. And the single part of liquid is, of course, 75 grams. Assemble per usual.

Like magic it is the first time you try this with a cake!

Ratios: Cakes

Classic butter, sponge, genoise, pound, and angel food cakes.

Ratios: Custards & Puddings

Basic custard and pudding, plus cremes anglaise and patissiere.

Ratios: Batters & Doughs

Breads, biscuits, pie/pastry crusts, pancakes, choux paste, pasta, crepes, and fritters.

Ratios: Sauces & Stock

Vinaigrette, mayo, hollandaise, ganache, caramel, sabayon, and basic bone stocks.

Ratios: Cooking Grains

The right amount of water to cook rice, barley, bulgur, and all sorts of other grains.

Ratios: Fruit Pies

All of the fruit pies, at your finger tips. Just add crust.

Ratios: Thickeners

Take the guesswork out of adding the right amount of cornstarch or roux.