Unforgettable Desserts Hardcover – Sep 11 2009
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From the Inside Flap
Dessert is always a pleasure, but sometimes you want to up the ante a little, to make your guests utter a blissful sigh and lick their spoons. Packed with intriguing recipes and invaluable advice, Unforgettable Desserts helps you do just that. Baking expert and cooking show host Dede Wilson has created a collection of desserts that range from simple and elegant to exotic and extravagant. They are all absolutely unforgettableand you don't have to be a pastry chef to make them. In Dede's hands, even the simplest, homiest treats like brownies and rice pudding become showstoppers. Dazzle your friends and family with treats such as:
Breakfast, Brunch, and Snack Cakes Celebrate morningor snack timewith Lemon-Ginger Scones, Butter and Cream Sugar Crunch Cake, and Gianduja Banana Baby Cakes with Hazelnut Streusel.
Cookies and Bars Imagine serving elegant Matcha Tea Leaf Shortbreads, Almond-Apricot Brownies with Tart Cherry Ganache, and Pistachio Butterballs.
Fruit Desserts A little embellishment elevates fresh fruit into something truly special, whether it's Summer Berry Vacherin with Crème Fra?che or the ultimate Strawberry Biscuit Shortcakes.
Cakes From straightforward to spectacular, cakes that taste as incredible as they look: Ricotta Cheesecake with Clementine-Cranberry Marmalade, Chocolate Mango Cloud Cake, and Toasted Coconut Cake with Lime Curd and Mount Gay Rum.
Pies and Tarts Rustic or refined, from reimagined American classics to new takes on traditional European desserts: Red and Purple Plum Tart with Marzipan Crumble, Espresso Black-Bottomed Pie in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust, and Deep-Dish Sour Cream Apple Pie with Lemon-Cardamom Streusel.
Custards, GelÉEs, Mousses, and Puddings Smooth, spoonable delights like a ring mold filled with Champagne-Cassis Mousse, Warm Chocolate Velvet, and even The Giant Cream Puff.
Frozen Desserts and Sauces Swoon-worthy
treats made from store-bought ice cream or from scratchno ice cream machine needed! Try Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches with Pan-Roasted Blueberry Ice Cream or Espresso-Stracciatella Semifreddo with Kahlúa-Caramel Sauce.
Candies, Confections, Truffles, and Tidbits A little something to surprise and delight: Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Bites, Hot Chocolate Truffle Bombs, and Fleur de Sel Caramels.
Separate chapters give valuable information on equipment and ingredients, and provide basic recipes for pie doughs, cake layers, and cream fillings. Throughout the book, Dede offers expert advice on everything from choosing the right chocolate to keeping cookies crisp to making her recipes your own.
Luscious and instructive, Unforgettable Desserts gives you everything you need to make the last part of the meal the most memorable part.
From the Back Cover
More than 140 Memorable Dessert Recipes for All Year Round
Photography by Alexandra Grablewski
Show-stopping desserts for all occasionsand all levels of expertise
"Think of celebratory cakes that are brilliant to behold, that tempt you with their looks alone, and then follow through with their exquisite flavors and textures. But don't forget the more humble-looking desserts. A small, dark truffle may be unassuming to look at, but then your teeth break through a thin, bittersweet chocolate shell with a snap, and that gives way to an impossibly creamy center, spiked with the unexpected juicy spurt of fresh raspberries. At times like this, you feel like you have never really tasted chocolate before. The same awakening can be repeated with a seemingly simple pound cake. From the outside, it appears to be familiar, but upon first bite, the sugary, crunchy crust wakes the palate. The dairy flavors mingle and burst forth, along with an exquisite velvety texture. It all adds up to a pound cake experience like no other." Dede WilsonSee all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Dede provides clear & detailed instructions for "More than 140 Memorable Dessert Recipes for All Year Round." She offers tips throughout the book to help the reader achieve the best results.
The recipes range in difficulty. While a beginning baker should be able to make many of these delights, others seem rather challenging and involve quite a few steps. For instance, the Chocolate-Glazed Marzipan Cake with Cognac-Soaked Apricots involves baking two cakes, coating them in syrup, spreading the apricot spread, applying a marzipan circle, frosting with buttercream, topping it ganache, and then making apricot roses to use as decoration with marzipan roses, leaves and tendrils. This is an example of one of the recipes which really should have been accompanied by a photograph (but was not).
The first chapter, the Basics, includes "building block" recipes which are used throughout the book such as:
* Butter piecrust
* Sugar tart crust
* Blitz pastry crust
* Dark and moist chocolate cake
* Dark chocolate ganache
* Italian meringue buttercream (and vanilla variation)
* Pastry cream (and liqueur variation)
* Lemon cream
* Whipped cream
The next chapter covers Ingredients, Equipment, and Techniques. Many of the ingredients are likely to be found in the average cook's home kitchen but I have to admit I am missing several (such as cacoa nibs, rose water, and gianduja as well as edible gold luster powder and 22-karat gold leaf). The author unfortunately does not always suggest a source from which to purchase specialty ingredients but there are three pages of resources at the back of the book. The necessary equipment is also likely to be in most home kitchens with a few exceptions (such as a blade-style coffee grinder used to grind poppy seeds as well as a pastry bag and certain tips).
The third chapter, entitled Breakfast, Brunch, and Snack Cakes, includes recipes for:
* Lemon-ginger scones
* Brown sugar-buttermilk snack cake
* Butter and cream sugar crunch cake
* Marble streusel pound cake with pecans, lemon, and orange
* Almond mounds of joy cake
* Poppy seed-honey-apricot pastries
* Passion fruit-citrus pound cake with tropical fruit
* Gianduja banana baby cakes with hazelnut streusel
* Browned butter-almond brunch cake with blueberry sauce
* Fresh red currant scones with currant cream
* French crullers with rose-amaretto glaze
The next chapter, Cookies and Bars, includes recipes for:
* Dark brown sugar-chocolate chunk bars with chocolate-molasses glaze
* Matcha tea leaf shortbreads
* Extreme milk chocolate brownies
* Cacao nib and caramelized almond biscotti
* Florentine bars with candied orange and cherries
* Classic shortbread
* Cranberry gingerbread cookies
* Giant meringue pillows with almonds
* Giant ginger chews
* Pistachio macaroons
* Almond macaroons with raspberry-rose filling
* Nutella linzer cookies
* Butterscotch-pecan brownies with boozy raisins
* Almond-apricot brownies with tart cherry ganache
* Pistachio butterballs
* Chocolate chunkochino cookies
The fifth chapter, Fruit Desserts, includes the following recipes:
* Ginger shortcakes with caramelized nectarines and sour cream
* Spiced plum pavlovas
* Mango, banana, and pineapple chocolate crisp
* Summer berry vacherin with crème fraiche
* Mango fool with blackberry-lime crush
* Thousand leaves with blackberry pastry cream
* Strawberry biscuit shortcakes
* Banana-walnut baklava with honey-cinnamon syrup
* Honey-glazed banana fritters with sesame seeds
* Red wine-poached cherries with chocolate-flecked shortcakes
* Six-fruit gazpacho with crystallized mint
The next chapter, Cakes, includes recipes for:
* Chocolate-glazed marzipan cake with cognac-soaked apricots
* Toasted coconut cake with lime cream and mount gay rum
* Rum raisin-chocolate roulade with whipped chocolate ganache
* Fruits and flowers flan
* Ricotta cheesecake with Clementine-cranberry marmalade
* Clementine-chocolate-almond torte
* Chocolate ganache cake with Armagnac-soaked prunes
* 24-karat manjari lemon truffle heart
* Walnut praline torte with espresso buttercream
* Pomegranate-chocolate mousse cake
* Chocolate mango cloud cake
* Cassata with chocolate, cherries, oranges, and almonds
* Chocolate mousse meringue cake with blueberries and cream
* Voluptuous chocolate-covered strawberry ganache cake
* Angelic chocolate-espresso mousse cake with chocolate-dipped strawberries
* Black cocoa blackout cake
* Crème fraiche cheesecake with rhubarb compote
The seventh chapter, Pies and Tarts, includes the following recipes:
* Latticed brown butter-vanilla bean pear pie
* Cheesecake tart with...tropical topping, classic strawberry topping or lemon-blueberry topping
* Berries pie
* Red and purple plum tart with marzipan crumble
* Cranberry-apricot linzer torte
* Pecan-coconut tart with chocolate crust
* Espresso black-bottomed pie in a chocolate chip cookie crust
* Lemon meringue tart
* Bittersweet chocolate-caramel tart with espresso cream and chocolate tangle
* Deep-dish sour cream-apple pie with lemon-cardamom streusel
* Caramelized banana cream tart in pecan crust
* Apple, pear, and quince pie with cheddar crust
* Fresh coconut custard cream pie
* Amaretto-almond crunch pumpkin pie
* Pear frangipane tart with red wine sauce
* Blueberry crème fraiche tart with poppy seed crust
* Double-decker "key" lime pie (two ways)
* White peach and raspberry "blossom" tartlets with pistachio and essensia
* Melon ribbon tartlets
* Glazed strawberry tart with champagne sabayon
The next chapter, Custards, Gelees, Mousses, and Puddings, includes recipes for:
* Peekaboo hazelnut-espresso crème brulee
* Creamy Arborio rice pudding with lemon cream, raspberry sorbet and chocolate
* Spiced pear-white chocolate tiramisu trifle
* Giant cream puff
* Champagne-cassis mousse with raspberries
* Warm chocolate velvet
* Pomegranate panna cotta with pomegranate-chocolate sauce
* Mocha-cointreau zebra éclairs
* Concord grape gelee panna cotta parfait
* Bajan crème brulee
The ninth chapter, Frozen Desserts and Sauces, includes recipes for:
* Browned butter-oatmeal cookie sandwiches with pan-roasted blueberry ice cream
* Frozen milk chocolate-peanut butter pie
* Peach melba profiteroles
* Frozen peanut butter-honey cheesecake with warm chocolate-honey sauce
* Raspberry-peach parfait cake with peach schnapps compote
* Espresso-stracciatella semifreddo with Kahlua-caramel sauce
* Frozen caramel soufflé with bittersweet chocolate whisky sauce
* Frozen apricot parfait with amaretto-poached apricots
* Frozen chocolate-mint parfait with crystallized mint
* Poached nectarines with rose granite' and frozen sabayon
* Boozy raisin-pecan butterscotch sauce
The final chapter, Candies, Confections, Truffles, and Tidbits, includes the following recipes:
* Chocolate raspberry bliss bites
* Hot chocolate truffle bombs
* Chocolate-covered caramelized macadamias
* Matcha chocolate-covered almonds
* Fleur de sel caramels
* Mango pate de fruit
* Ganache squares with blueberry pate de fruit
* Marcona almond-cacao nib praline bark
You may have noticed from the recipe titles that quite a few of these desserts require alcohol. I counted 30 recipes which call for alcohol (wine for poaching cherries, nectarines or pears; Grand Marnier for sauce; Kahlua for chocolate mousse; etc.).
I would have liked to have seen many more photos, especially for less common desserts. I know what a brownie is supposed to look like, but not more exotic treats such as Angelic Chocolate-Espresso Mousse Cake with Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries (with an angel meringue crust). It would be helpful to see what the finished cake should look like. I counted only 28 photos for more than 100 desserts.
So far, I have made: 1) the brown sugar-buttermilk snack cake with blackberries and caramel-walnut drizzle (easy to make, a great coffee cake for my co-workers); 2) browned butter-almond brunch cake with blueberry sauce (easy; I liked the almond flavor and texture); 3) almond-apricot brownies with tart cherry ganache (decadently rich, complex, wow!); 4) latticed browned butter-vanilla bean pear pie (excellent, and smells amazing); 5) deep-dish sour cream apple pie with lemon-cardamom streusel (the cardamom adds an interesting flavor); and 6) blueberry creme fraiche tart with poppy seed crust (great blend of berries & tangy creme fraiche, and looks impressive).
I agree with the other reviewers in that I wish there were more illustrations -- especially for the recipes that I am unfamiliar with, and the more complex recipes. "A picture is worth a thousand words" may not be accurate, but they are helpful.
- it has a lot of recipes combining fruit and chocolate
The techniques in here are great, and I am eager to try them out. I did try the chocolate cake recipe out and was excited because it contained no eggs. The batter was fabulous, so you can imagine my surprise when the cake was awful!(Even the kids wouldn't eat it) It looked beautiful with the chocolate ganache glaze.(also from the book, which was really good) It was dry and just ...blah.
I don't have the courage to try another thing in the book right now. I am thinking of donating of to the library after I try a few of the techniques.
Dede Wilson does an excellent job of writing, and stressing types of chocolate you need to use. She makes recipes very clear, and easy to follow. I'd love to go to a class she is teaching. I would definitely buy her books again, I just wish I could've looked through this one first!
1) I am a huge picture person for my cookbooks
2) I wish they were in weights not cups, the new thing is to buy a scale and be more accurate.