Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World Hardcover – Sep 17 1994
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Food writer Richard Sax compiles a massive selection of over 300 classic dessert recipes. Cobblers, fools, creams, pastries and cakes of every variety, including cheesecakes, are described--delights to tempt the most replete of dinner guests at the end of a meal. The recipes are drawn from old cookbooks, family collections and Sax's own repertoire of classics, giving the book the feel of an old-fashioned heirloom handed down from some perfect past; Sax includes some fascinating culinary history. Thankfully, a few allowances are made for modern taste, including reduced fat and calorie content in many of the recipes. 1995 Winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award in the Bread, Baking and Sweets Category.
From Publishers Weekly
More than a decade in the making, according to Sax (Old-Fashioned Desserts), this vast and user-friendly international compendium of desserts will seem congenial territory to the many home cooks whose culinary passion has always been that final course. Sax eschews such special-occasion masterpieces as wedding cakes and complicated pastries, to survey four broad types of desserts: warm fruit desserts and smooth, thickened dishes, like mousses and fools; custards and starch-thickened puddings; baked goods (about half the book), from cookies to cakes, pies and tarts; and frozen desserts and sauces. Beginning with thorough coverage of cookware and ingredients, including sources, tips on techniques and a table of equivalents, Sax plunges right into the fruit recipes. They, like all others, come with a bit of history, suggestions about variations and substitutions and sidebars of chatty quotes from noted chefs, excerpts from fiction and historical documents or reproductions of early recipes. Sax offers a highly usable collection sure to brighten the task of family cooks and bring smiles to those who sit at their tables. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
One of only a few cookbooks that I use over and over again due to the sheer number of useable recipes. Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by Paperback Junkie
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2004
None of the recipes I've tried in the book are worth repeating. The 'Custardy Prune Pudding' was hard and rubbery. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002
This is a great cookbook especially if you like rice puddings, bread puddings, cobblers and cookies. Good clear instructions. Read morePublished on April 18 2002
The focus of this book is classic American home desserts. You won't find those fancy desserts that look elegant but are completely tasteless in this book. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2001 by mirope
I really like desserts, and since I like desserts so much I'm fussy and don't want to waste the effort making them and the calories eating them if they aren't good. Read morePublished on Nov. 13 2000 by Allie Kat
I took this book out from the library because of the reviews given. I made the 1-2-3-4 cake to use up some buttermilk I had. Read morePublished on July 23 2000