This puff-pastry princess is a purported plagiarist.
Television dessert diva Anne Thornton lost her sweet deal with the Food Network after brass discovered some of her decadent delights were reheats from cookbooks and superchefs like Martha Stewart and the Barefoot Contessa, sources told The Post yesterday.
Thornton — whose show, “Dessert First,” launched on the foodie channel in October 2010 — was told the popular program wouldn’t be renewed when its second season ended.
“The network was very concerned because many of her recipes were close — with only a few minor edits — to other chefs’ recipes,” a source close to the production said.
Among the sweet sensations that raised eyebrows were the frosting for Thornton’s German Chocolate Cupcakes — a near replica of Martha Stewart’s 2009 Coconut-Pecan Frosting, give or take a handful of pecans and a dollop of butter.
And the New York pastry chef’s Luscious Lemon Squares were very similar to a 1999 recipe from Ina Garten, a k a the Barefoot Contessa.
A recipe Thornton cooked up for Mascarpone-Stuffed French Toast closely mimicked one published in 2006 in the cookbook “The Essence of Chocolate.”
A side-by-side comparison of those two recipes shows Thornton added orange zest to the mix and topped hers with strawberry, rather than maple syrup.
The wording of the cooking instructions is also very similar.
“The network discovered the similarities during the second season of the show,” a source said.
“They went back and reviewed her first season, and discovered what looked like copying then, too.”
A Food Network spokeswoman yesterday declined to address whether there was any issue over the origin of Thornton’s recipes.
“Anne’s show, ‘Dessert First,’ was not renewed after its second season purely due to ratings/performance,” she said in a statement.
Food Network tests the recipes used on its shows to make sure they cook up as advertised.
But it trusts its on-air personalities to vouch for the originality of their creations, sources close to the network said.
Thornton was in the middle of her 13-episode second season when the alarm bell was sounded, and Food Network let the show go on, said an insider.
Thornton — who worked in finance before her sweet sensations caught the attention of the TV honchos at a New York wine and food fest in 2009 — was told over the summer that her show wouldn’t be renewed.
Reached yesterday, Thornton insisted there was never any issue over the originality of her recipes.
“This is all news to me,” she said.
“I get inspiration from all my heroes,’’ said Thornton, who counts the Barefoot Contessa among her biggest influences.
“You take what you learn from them and then you riff on that,” she said.
“As for lemon squares, there’s only so many ways you can make them, so of course there will be similarities.
“The same thing with baking or frosting — there are only so many ways you can do it,” she said.
“It’s chemistry; it’s not just cooking. So there are always going to be things that are the same.”
At Food Network, we go over all our recipes with them,” Thornton said. “They wouldn’t [run] something that wasn’t original.”
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