The Test of Times

The new New York Times Cookbook

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Sending a query out to friends for favorite recipes always yields good results. Amanda Hesser embraced the idea, but instead of pinging her e-mail contacts, she asked the entire readership of The New York Times.

Six years and 6,000 suggestions later, the result is The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century.

Make no mistake: Although it will fit nicely on your shelf next to Craig Claiborne's seminal 1961 The New York Times Cookbook, Hesser's tome is not an update. Instead, it's a chronicle of American cooking–one that's incomplete in the most wonderful way, as it highlights what we love (or loved) to eat.

It's filled with recipes from current luminaries like Mark Bittman, Marcella Hazan and Nigella Lawson, plus all-time favorites like Marian Burros's purple plum torte (1983) or Jean-Georges Vongerichten's cliché-but-still-delicious molten chocolate cake (1997).

To get you started, we've plucked out the 1966 recipe for David Eyre's pancake (the second most popular recipe in the book; the plum torte was first). It's an impressive (but blessedly easy) Dutch-style pancake that's topped with a shower of confectioners' sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice (click here to download the recipe).

Celebrate the release of The Essential New York Times Cookbook with Amanda Hesser and food from 20 of the city's best chefs on November 2 at Chelsea Market from 7 to 9 p.m. ($50; click here to purchase tickets). Click here to follow TT on Twitter and for a chance to win the book and a pair of tickets to the event.