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Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World Hardcover – Sep 17 1994


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Hardcover, Sep 17 1994
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Sept. 17 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881527522
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881527527
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 19.3 x 4.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #823,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Hardcover
"Classic Home Desserts" has a lot of style and character. You'll find historical details on many of the recipes, quotes from interesting people, and useful tips and hints. I particularly love the "Equivalent Pan Sizes" chart. Richard Sax goes into a fair amount of detail about what, for example, a cobbler really is, and how it differs from crisps, brown Bettys, crumbles, pandowdies, and shortcakes.

This book is heavy on the fruit; you'll find a recipe for whatever is in season. There are cobblers, crisps, compotes, baked fruit, fools, jellies, fruitcakes, pies, tarts, etc. If it's the dead of winter and you just can't find good fruit, you'll still find plenty to work with. There are puddings, custards, souffles, dumplings, cookies, cakes, coffee cakes, cheesecakes, custard pies, pastries, and so on. And these recipes are good. I really mean *good.* Here I see the huge star we put next to the Mixed Fruit Cobbler. Turn the page and you'll see a gorgeous picture of Panna Cotta and Poached Pears in Merlot Syrup. Yet another large ball-point pen star graces the New Hampshire "Plate Cake."
You'll find new and old recipes here. Recipes by people you've never heard of as well as big-name chefs (on p. 163 you'll find Jasper White's Maple Sugar Creme Caramel). My favorite cookies are M.F.K. Fisher's Ginger Hottendots. Trust me--no one can eat just five, and they travel well in the mail at holiday-time.

With this much variety you won't like everything you find. But this book is well worth what you pay for it for the sheer volume of recipes, the quality, and the ease of production. I predict you'll find, as we did, that this book becomes a staple in your kitchen.
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Format: Hardcover
One of only a few cookbooks that I use over and over again due to the sheer number of useable recipes. When you are looking for recipes for crisps, or rice puddings, or other casual desserts, you will turn to this cookbook. This cookbook is the one that I have given to my sisters and I was thrilled when it was finally reprinted.
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By A Customer on Jan. 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought my copy of this cookbook as an engagement gift for a friend who subsequently broke things off with her cad of a fiance. She insisted that I take the gift back. I have been thanking her ever since! She's happily married to someone else now, and I am still baking from this book. I suggest that the detractors of this book try the Great St. Louis Ring Cake recipe--it's a party stopper. Carbs be damned!
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By jerry i h on June 27 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book starts out with much promise. The author has been the director of a test kitchen. The dust jacket has a number of glowing reviews by respected authors of baking cookbooks. The object of this book was to capture and preserve all those old-fashioned, classic desserts that should never be forgotten. The author claims to have done extensive testing of all the centuries of recipes from old cookbooks and grandmothers' recipe boxes, and presents only the best ones in each subject. Sadly, the result is a below average collection of baking recipes.
The recipes are something less than classic. Most of the recipes are new-age "twists" on old classics. The author has a penchant for the unusual and off-beat (if I were less charitable, I would call his taste downright weird). He does not have recipes for the original pound cake (even his quatre-quarts is an oddball version using stiff egg whites), nor a straight, plain apple pie. His historical research was apparently not thorough, as he does not include recipe for one of the original fruit desserts: gooseberry fool (the chapters on fresh fruit desserts are the least objectionable in my opinion). Plus, his testing does not appear to have been thorough: for example, the recipe for Espresso-Cinnamon Ice Cream has a brewing time for the coffee that is way too long. It is also important to note that a food processor and large, stand mixer are required for most (perhaps as much as two-thirds; I didn't really count) recipes.
On the positive side, I liked the recipe for Frozen Cappuccino (don't ask me for another recipe I really liked, as I couldn't find one). He is also the only cookbook author I am aware of who has read Apicius, Varenne, Câreme, and Francatelli. The most valuable part of the book is the bibliography, which has an amazing list of historical sources that the author found at the New York Public Library.
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By A Customer on Oct. 7 2002
Format: Hardcover
None of the recipes I've tried in the book are worth repeating. The 'Custardy Prune Pudding' was hard and rubbery. The 'Lemon Pudding Cake' was insubstantial as foam in the mouth. And, the "Peanut Butter Pie with Fudge Topping' was okay but the fudge failed to set up well for presentation.
Nonetheless, I will keep trying because while the overall product failed to live up to my expectations, the recipes I attempted all had at least one good thing going for them. The prunes soaked in rum for the prune pudding were terrific. The lemon flavor of the pudding cake was brighter than any other lemon dessert I've tried. And, the graham cracker crust on the peanut butter pie is a definite keeper.
Lastly, the book gives good entertainment value simply as reading material. Sax writes well, presents interesting information and the photo are stunning.
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By A Customer on April 19 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a great cookbook especially if you like rice puddings, bread puddings, cobblers and cookies. Good clear instructions. Every dessert I've made from it has worked the first time. The historical notes are impressive and interesting.
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