There aren't many things in life we get to indulge in purely for the pleasure they offer, but Anna Olson's Sugar
has about 150 of them. Olson, a former chef at the respected winery restaurant On the Twenty and current host of a Food Network Canada program called Sugar
, has collected simple sweets and decadent desserts that combine the classics with some creations of her own. Olson organizes each chapter according to the main ingredient: fruit, citrus, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and nutmeg all have their turn. The tools and techniques she describes in detail are not meant to intimidate but to lead to success. And they do: Crème Brulee turns out rich and redolent of vanilla if you follow her directions to the letter. Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake, Baked Alaskas, and Peanut Butter Cookies are all here. So are Warm Lemon Sponge, Sticky Bun Pudding, and Apricot Linzer Torte. Olson offers a "switch up" on every recipe that allows the chef to add a fresh and unexpected flavour or dress a dessert up for a sense of occasion. As a simple sweet, Raspberry Cardamom Cobbler, for example, is delicious and easy to make all on its own. For the twist, Olson adds Chantilly Cream, Raspberry Sauce, and Maple-Toasted Pecans. This is where the decadence comes in. And, for pure elegance, she offers Raspberry Lemon Tart. As Olson point out, cooks who turn out delicious cookies and perfect pastries do so not for their own satisfaction but because they want to share with others. Sugar
offers lots of opportunity for sharing. --Carolyn Leitch
About the Author
Anna Olson is a renowned chef, host of the Food Network Canada's show, "Sugar," and author of the best-selling cookbook by the same name. Before hosting the show, she was the pastry chef at Inn on the Twenty, where she met husband Michael. Anna also writes, develops recipes, and teaches cooking classes.