33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Mimi G. Clark
- Published on Amazon.com
Fran Costigan has done it again. Her latest cookbook, More Great Good Dairy-free Desserts Naturally, is much more than an update of Great Good Desserts Naturally, her first such book published in 1999. Seven years and five reprints later, Costigan's recipes from working as a consultant in professional kitchens, baking custom cakes for private clients, and teaching at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School and the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC, were compiled for a more
comprehensive dairy- and egg-free dessert cookbook.
The first 23 pages are devoted to listing and defining essential
ingredients and equipment, tips and techniques for making and baking desserts ("Think like a pastry chef: Organize your mise en place"), and a baker's dozen secrets to successful desserts ("Use pure vanilla extract, not vanillin, an artificial flavoring"). Costigan demystifies the "natural sugar" confusion by categorizing granulated sugar into "dark whole," and "light natural," with five pages devoted to natural sweeteners.
There are over two-hundred pages of mouth-watering recipes, including gels, creams, puddings, sauces, cookies, bars, little bites, cobblers, crisps, biscuits, muffins, cakes, fillings, frostings, glazes, pies, tarts, fruit, beverages, frozen desserts, and confections. Costigan's expertise as a pastry chef is captured in her fool-proof, flaky pie crusts and tarts. She painstakingly walks the reader through each step in such a way that you feel you are in her classroom. (I might add that my pie crust turned out perfect!)
New Yorkers will want to try the New York Eggless Cream made with Costigan's incredibly decadent Ultimate Chocolate Sauce, and kids of all ages will go nuts for the Caramel Popcorn Treats. Coconut aficionados will salivate over the Coconut Cloud Layer Cake, a version of which was served at Costigans' sons' wedding. Did someone mention chocolate? There are over 20 chocolate recipes listed in the index, including a unique version of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups filled with
peanut butter mousse!
More Great Good Dairy-free Desserts Naturally was well worth the wait. It is a must-have for anyone who enjoys baking, regardless of their experience.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Alisa Marie Fleming
- Published on Amazon.com
Who wouldn't love to merge health and dessert? Fran Costigan's extensive culinary experience combined with her desire to have her cake and eat it too, has resulted in too many `healthy' dessert recipes to fit in just one cookbook. More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts is a follow up to her first work, Great Good Desserts Naturally! Though I haven't viewed her first book, I can say that it would be hard to top this second edition.
As someone who absolutely loves to bake I was delighted by the extensive variety of Crisps, Cobblers, Brown Betties, Tarts, Pies, Cakes, Frostings, Cookies, Brownies, Muffins, Quick Breads... really I could go on. I counted approximately 100 recipes, each one dairy free, egg free, and I believe vegan (there is even a honey-free baklava).
Though I am a regular bread and cookie baker, I was particularly intrigued by a few of the not-so common offerings in this book. Several are surprisingly soy-free (and nut-free for that matter), such as the Banana Cream Pudding, the Ultimate Chocolate Sauce and Icing, and the New York Eggless Cream. Of course, the Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Candy Cups is next on my list for sampling (the full color photo really sold me on this one), and it is hard for me to pass up something as unique as Carob Cashew Frosting (also soy-free).
Beyond the recipes themselves, this cookbook is very well organized and structured. The fonts are large, the recipes are well defined, and variations are included throughout. Each chapter opens with a two-page discussion of tips and suggestions, such as "how to make a foolproof flaky pie crust."
Now, I should clarify my use of the word `healthy' when describing this cookbook. Added sugars/sweeteners are used in most of these recipes. However, the author devotes several pages to explaining sweeteners and how to use them. Her recipes include only the most natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, evaporated cane juice, fruit, and molasses, for a more wholesome product. Wherever possible (when it doesn't sacrifice the quality of the end product) whole grain flours are used. Fats, leaveners, thickeners, gels, and starches are all explained in detail, and the healthiest options are noted and used in all of her recipes.
It appears that Fran Costigan's intent is to create delicious desserts that are decadent, but also provide real nutritional value. From my perspective, she has certainly succeeded.