New York Times Dessert Cookbook: 440 Recipes for Every Kind of Sweet to Make at Home
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New York Times Dessert Cookbook: 440 Recipes for Every Kind of Sweet to Make at Home

by Florence Fabricant
     
 

A large, comprehensive book of the best dessert recipes from The New York Times in every catagory--so broad and rich, it's sure to become a classic shelf staple.

No one has worked at the Times food section longer than Florence Fabricant--she's seen every food trend come and go. The New York Times Dessert Cookbook compiles the best from over

Overview

A large, comprehensive book of the best dessert recipes from The New York Times in every catagory--so broad and rich, it's sure to become a classic shelf staple.

No one has worked at the Times food section longer than Florence Fabricant--she's seen every food trend come and go. The New York Times Dessert Cookbook compiles the best from over two decades of the Times food section and features beloved recipes from staffers (Maria Burro's plum torte) to celebrity chefs (Mario Batali's goat cheese cheesecake) to name brand columnists (Nigella Lawson's apricot crumble). From holiday to everyday this book covers all dessert bases--and every dessert basic too: Pie Crusts, Ganache, Pastry Cream, Meringue, Frostings, Sauces and much much more!

Every type of dessert is included here, with full, rich sections on:

--Cakes, from Vanilla Cake with Roasted Peaches & Blueberries to Intense Chocolate Mousse Cake
--Yeast Cakes & Pastries, from Baha au Rhum to Savarin
--Crisps, Crumbles, Cobblers and Shortcakes, from Plum and Ginger Crumble to Strawberry Sour Cream Shortcake
--Fancy Pastries, from Banana Turnovers to Red Raspberry Napoleons
--Cookies, Biscotti, Brownies & Bars, from the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies to Orange Mocha Brownies
--Souffles & Crepes, from Apple Caramel Calvados Crepes to Prune Clafouti
--Fruit Desserts, from Grappa-Soused Summer Fruit to Strawberries with Pink Peppercorn Sauce
--Custards, Puddings & Mousses, from Baked Butterscotch Pudding to Choco-Hot-Pots
--Frozen Desserts, from Goat's Milk Ice Cream to Chocolate Sorbet
--Basics, from Pie crusts to Puff pastry to Ganaches and Sauces

The New York Times Dessert Cookbook also includes complete basic information about the ingredients and equipment the home cook needs to prepare great desserts, with critical evaluations by Times writers, including Amanda Hesser, Julia Moskin, Craig Claiborne and Florence Fabricant.

Accessible enough that any first-time baker can turn out a delicious dessert, but intriguing enough that veteran home cooks will find scores of new ideas and recipes, The New York Times Dessert Cookbook will be the sweetest resource on your kitchen shelf.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New York Times readers who find themselves clipping from the paper's well-respected Dining pages will appreciate this comprehensive collection. Divided into straightforward chapters including Cakes; Pies and Tarts; Fruit Desserts; and Candies, this tome includes over 400 recipes. After an authoritative introduction, readers can dive straight into tempting recipes penned by noteworthy chefs, including Nigella Lawson (Strawberry Pavola) and Charlie Trotter (Brioche Tarts with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Quince). The editor's own enticing recipes, like Blueberry-Ginger Gratin and Maple Caramel Custard, are mixed in among those gathered from top-notch restaurants including Cornmeal Biscotti from the Gramercy Tavern and Toasted-Almond Pound Cake from the Gotham Bar and Grill. The Menu Suggestions section at the end of the book seems unnecessary and odd (why Cornmeal Biscotti for Superbowl Sunday and not the Chocolate Cheesecake suggested for Father's Day?), but the Sources for Ingredients and Equipment is useful for bakers throughout the country (all include Web addresses). The Basics chapter, which includes "building blocks" for desserts, comprises easy-to-follow directions for essentials such as Flaky Pastry Dough, Chocolate Frosting and Pie Shells. Boxed essays by Times writer Amanda Hesser and other culinary experts offer entertaining and informative reads on food and food-related topics. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Fabricant, a longtime food writer for the New York Times, has selected more than 400 dessert recipes that have appeared in the paper's food section over the last ten years. Coming from chefs, cookbook authors, and home cooks, as well as regular contributors to the Times (including Fabricant herself), they range from simple comfort food to elaborate restaurant creations. There are also essays on topics ranging from "Endangered: The American Layer Cake" to "Gadgets Worth Keeping," along with a good introduction to basic ingredients, a section on wine and dessert, and menu suggestions for holidays and other celebrations. Essential for any baking collection. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312340605
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/03/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
576
Product dimensions:
7.76(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.93(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Instinctively, humans enjoy sweets. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors knew that what was sweet on the bush was probably safe to eat. And good to eat, besides.

Nothing has changed. The genetic sweet tooth prevails more than ever. A well-balanced meal, one that does not overdo the sweet flavors in the early courses, is rewarded with a dulcet finale.

At home all it might take is a cookie, a slice of cake, some fresh berries or a scoop of ice cream. In restaurants far more elaborate creations are paraded out to tempt the customer. And, increasingly, sophisticated home cooks are up to the challenge of the pastry chef's most dizzying follies. How else can one explain the sales of home blowtorches for sealing the surface of a crème brûlée?

Over the past few decades, the food pages of The New York Times, in the Living Section and then in the Dining Section, walked a tightrope between homestyle baking and dessert-making, and restaurant creations. Chocolate layer cake meets molten flourless chocolate cake. Apple pie beckons the cook who may also be tempted by an authentic French tarte Tatin. And though you can buy a pint of good vanilla ice cream, consider the pride of having churned it in your kitchen.

Exploring the food sections over the past ten years or so indicated several trends at work. First, despite some naysayers, old-fashioned home baking is alive and well. For some cooks, especially those who might be daunted by custard or pie crust, it remains a challenge, leading to the purchase of pastries to culminate a dinner that may otherwise have been a showcase for several courses of home cooking. And it happens in reverse, too. Chefs are tapping into their mother's upside-down cakes and cobblers and serving them with pride and giving new recognition to desserts that do not require teams of famous pastry chefs.

At the same time, there are other home cooks who might be capable of whipping up a layer cake with accomplished ease, but who welcome more challenging recipes, for soufflés, cream puffs and other elaborate confections presented with complicated garnishes, following recipes that come straight from the kitchens of chefs.

Recipes that fit both these categories have been assembled in this book. Indeed, the interest in restaurant desserts at home represents the most significant trend reflected here.

Important changes in the ingredients and equipment that have become available for home cooks during this time have improved home baking and dessert-making, and have made those restaurant-style confections possible.

Better-quality chocolate, cocoa, butter and flavoring ingredients like vanilla beans are widely sold, even in supermarkets. Though desserts are not a significant part of most Asian cuisines, ingredients like ginger, lemongrass, mango, green tea and sticky rice are giving new tastes to old desserts. Homely tapioca has even become trendy.

Gear that pastry chefs have long taken for granted like heavy-duty baking pans with or without convenient nonstick finishes, generous spatulas, sieves, efficient zesters, powerful standing mixers and rolls of parchment paper are also easy to find. Flexible silicone mats, molds and even basting brushes have simplified many baking jobs. Even the quality of home ice cream makers has improved, as the prices have dropped. And stainless steel wire whisks in assorted sizes now come with a choice of handles, including cushioned rubber. These improvements have made baking easier.

With them, some desserts come out of the oven and produce the proper "wow" effect around the table. But there are subtler successes to be had. Recipes in this book also suggest desserts made with delicious seasonal fruit that has been handled with care, simple crêpes given a buttery finish and a splash of liqueur, or a classic soufflé, always an impressive presentation, but one that is far sturdier than generally assumed, as you will see.

But unlike baking a potato or grilling a steak, preparing dessert often requires a certain degree of technical expertise and careful attention to the details of measuring and weighing, of texture and temperature. Once learned, they become second nature. The cake-baker automatically takes the butter out of the refrigerator so it can soften for proper creaming, chills the bowl and beaters for whipping cream and is careful how the chocolate has been stored. Specialized equipment may be necessary.

A degree of precision is frequently required. You cannot tweak a cake batter as you would a simmering stew. By and large, you cannot taste as you go and make adjustments. Once a cake is done, it is done. If it falls on the floor, you can Julia-Child it with a slather of good icing. But if the flavor and texture are wrong, best run out for ice cream.

For entertaining, the beauty of the dessert course is that most sweets can be prepared in advance, with minimal fuss just before serving. In restaurants, the pastry chefs routinely work in the morning, doing all the baking, ice-cream-making and other necessary preparation long before the dinner hour, leaving any last-minute assembly before serving to other chefs.

Your mother might have insisted that the dessert be eaten last. But a good cook knows to make the dessert first.

Understanding Dessert Recipes

Though many of the tasks and techniques, like zesting citrus, dicing, pulsing in a food processor, sautéing and simmering, are techniques that apply to cooking in general, some specialized techniques are required, especially for baking. Melting chocolate, an especially fragile, heat-sensitive ingredient, is one. Creaming butter—that is, whipping soft butter with sugar to make the base of a cake—is another. Making pastry dough, rolling and shaping it, is one that sends many cooks to the nearest bakery.

Because dessert recipes do not offer much wiggle room, or opportunities for improvisation, once you have selected a recipe, it is essential to read it through, to make sure you have enough time to prepare it, since some require extra chilling or freezing before, during or after the actual preparation.

Once you have decided on a recipe, the best approach is to devote the necessary time to it. Other kitchen tasks are possible if ingredients have to chill or rest, or bake for more than a few minutes. But it pays to concentrate on the recipe at hand. Set out the equipment you need. Assemble all the ingredients, making sure they are the proper temperature.

Measuring for dessert recipes must often be very precise, especially if baking is involved. Baking often involves chemical and physical reactions, of leavenings with liquid, of sugar with heat, that the cook who sautés potatoes or roasts a leg of lamb never encounters. And the quantities of the ingredients can affect these reactions.

Though weighing ingredients is the most accurate measurement, and the one that is used by chefs, Americans measure by cups and spoonfuls. These recipes have been edited with that in mind.

The temperature of ingredients is often critical. Butter at room temperature for a cake or chilled for a pie crust are two common examples. If an ice cream or sorbet base is insufficiently chilled, the end result will not have a good consistency. Sometimes a thermometer is necessary to be sure that boiling sugar has reached the correct temperature so it will react properly with the other ingredients. Before starting your preparation, be sure your ingredients are warm or cold enough. Even the ambient temperature of the kitchen can make a difference in how easy it is to roll dough.

But dessert-making does share one requirement with cooking in general. The freshness and quality of your ingredients must not be compromised.

Copyright © 2006 by The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Florence Fabricant has contributed to The New York Times since 1972 and has written regularly for Times food sections since 1980. She is the author of six cookbooks, including NEW HOME COOKING, VENETIAN TASTE, THE NEW YORK RESTAURANT COOKBOOK and THE GREAT POTATO BOOK and is the editor of THE NEW YORK TIMES SEAFOOD COOKBOOK.

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