Amanda Cook-Pilkerton, Pastry Chef, Centrolina

Amanda Cook-Pilkerton is the pastry chef at Centrolina, Amy Brandwein’s dual-concept Italian restaurant and marketplace in CityCenterDC. Cook-Pilkerton most recently led the pastry department at the acclaimed Cookshop in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. Cook-Pilkerton’s new position at Centrolina marks a return to her hometown, where she previously worked alongside Eric Ziebold as the pastry chef at CityZen. Cook-Pilkerton began her restaurant career at Roberto Donna’s celebrated Galileo. She received a pastry certificate from L’Academie de Cuisine, where she graduated with honors, and also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech. More at:


One 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
Half vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, soft whipped

Graham crumbles:
1 stick (4oz) cold butter, cut up
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
Dash vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce:
1 pint raspberries
1 tablespoon, or more, sugar
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, pinch

Freshly sliced peaches and raspberries, to taste

For Mousse:
Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add flavoring, salt and lemon juice. Fold in soft whipped cream. Scoop into serving dishes and chill until serving time

For Crumbles:
Combine all together in mixer with paddle attachment until crumbly. Spread into a lined baking sheet and bake 350F until golden brown and fragrant. Cool completely, break up into bite sized pieces

For Raspberry Sauce:
Combine all together in a blender or use a stick blender until puréed. Add more sugar if necessary. Strain to remove seeds and chill until ready to use. 

To Serve:
Top cheesecake mousse with fresh sliced market peaches and raspberries, raspberry sauce and graham crumbles

Peach Pie


Adapted from The Washington Post

Concentrating the peach juices before baking helps prevent the filling from being too runny. If you want to make a lattice, check out these step-by-step directions!

serves 6


1 recipe pie crust, for double crusted pie

2 3/4 pounds (about 8 medium; 6 cups sliced) peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices each

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (4 ounces)

Pinch salt

4 teaspoons cornstarch (about .5 ounce)

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 tablespoon ice cold butter, cubed


Pace the sliced peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice, then the sugar and salt; toss to coat evenly. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Place a colander over a small saucepan; transfer the peaches and any collected liquid to the colander. Almost 1 cup of liquid should be captured in the saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for about 12 minutes, or until the juices have been reduced to a syrupy 1/3 cup.

Roll out your two crusts and place in the refrigerator while you assemble the pie.  You can put the bottom crust in a metal pie dish now if you wish. Pre-heat oven to 375 and place a baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven.

Return the peaches to the large bowl and add the cornstarch and almond extract; toss gently to coat until all traces of the cornstarch disappear.

Pour the reduced syrup over the peaches and toss gently; do not worry if it hardens on contact with the fruit. It will dissolve during baking. Pour the peach mixture into the pie shell.  Dot with tablespoon of cubed butter.

Use a little water to wet the rim of the bottom crust. Carefully fold the top-crust dough in half, and then again into quarters; transfer to the filled bottom crust and gently unfold on top of the peaches. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust edge and press down all around the top to seal it. Crimp the edges in a decorative fashion and cut four 3-inch slits in the crust to vent steam. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking (skip this step if using glass pie dish).

Bake for 55 minutes, rotate half way though. Cool for a few hours before serving.