Synopses & Reviews
A refreshing change in every respect.
When you are working with great ingredients, you want to keep it simple. You don't want to blur flavor by overcomplicating. This is why Pure Dessert, from the beloved Alice Medrich, offers the simplest of recipes, using the fewest ingredients in the most interesting ways. There are no glazes, fillings, or frostings just dessert at its purest, most elemental, and most flavorful.
Alice deftly takes us places we haven't been, using, for example, whole grains, usually reserved for breads, to bring a lovely nutty quality to cookies and strawberry shortcake. Pound cake takes on a new identity with a touch of olive oil and sherry. Unexpected cheeses make divine souffles. Chestnut flour and walnuts virtually transform meringue. Varietal honeys and raw sugars infuse ice creams and sherbets with delectable new flavor.
Inspired choices of ingredients are at the heart of this collection of entirely new recipes: sesame brittle ice cream, corn-flour tuiles with tangy sea salt and a warming bite of black pepper, honey caramels, strawberries with single-malt sabayon.
To witness Alice's idea-stream as she describes how she arrived at each combination is to instantly understand why three of her books have won Best Cookbook of the Year. She's an experimenter, tinkerer, and sleuth, fascinated with trial and error, with the effects of small changes in recipes, exploring combinations tirelessly and making remarkable discoveries. Does cold cream or hot cream do a better job coaxing out the flavor of mint leaves or rose petals? Why is it that dusting a warm brownie with spices gives it an enticing aromatic nose, whereas putting the spice in the batter blurs the chocolate flavor? Do cooked strawberries or raw make for the better sorbet?
Loaded with advice and novel suggestions, with great recipes and eye-catching, full-color photographs that show off these simple, straightforward desserts, Pure Dessert is an education and a revelation. Thank you, Alice!
"If vanilla is your idea of plain, Medrich will revolutionize your thinking. In her vocabulary, vanilla is a flavor; she distinguishes among the nuances of Bourbon, Mexican, and Tahitian extracts, powders, and beans. Plain means tasting the milk, butter, flour or fresh cheese that defines a cake or custard. She describes 10 different sugars, from 'neutral' granulated white to slightly 'smoky' dark brown piloncillo. Her three previous cookbooks (including BitterSweet) won awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and her new book is sure to attract the new generation of cooks devoted to elaborate simplicity. Readers should be aware, however, that the brevity of ingredient lists may mislead; some gardens and markets may lack such nonfungible items as lemon verbena, chestnut flour and muscovado sugar. But all will welcome the ultimate summer pudding recipe-berries, bread, sugar, whipped cream-and the liberating range of frozen desserts." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Sure to attract the new generation of cooks devoted to elaborate simplicity"—Publishers Weekly
Just one slight turn of a kaleidoscope and the tiny colored pieces shift ever so slightly, but enough to create a beautiful new pattern. With just such a shift, Alice Medrich creates a whole new picture of what dessert can be, focusing on fewer but finer ingredients and using them in fresh ways.
Medrich reshapes the universe of sweets by focusing on fewer but finer ingredients and using them in fresh ways. The renowned baker and three-time Cookbook of the Year winners recipes are not only better-tasting and unusual, theyre more healthful as well. Illustrated.
Alice Medrich reshapes the universe of sweets by focusing on fewer but finer ingredients and using them in fresh ways.
Always an experimenter, tinkerer, and thinker, the renowned baker and three-time Cookbook of the Year winner Alice Medrich expands the dessert-making vocabulary in Pure Dessert. Using an exciting array of delicate handmade cheeses, wholesome grains, and other ingredients (often ethnic) that are now widely available, she broadens our flavor palate even as she simplifies and demystifies baking techniques.
Grains such as buckwheat bring a lovely nutty quality to cookies and strawberry shortcake. Pound cake takes on a whole new identity with a touch of olive oil and sherry. Chestnut flour and walnuts virtually transform meringue. Varietal honeys and raw sugars infuse ice creams and sherbets with delectable new flavor.
The desserts that Medrich has devised are not only better-tasting and unusual, but—because they’re not heavily sauced or sugared—they’re more healthful as well. With eye-catching, full-color photographs that show how easy it is to make these 150 simple, straightforward recipes, Pure Dessert is a revelation.
About the Author
Alice Medrich has won more cookbook-of-the-year awards and best in the dessert and baking category awards than any other author. She received her formal training at the prestigious Êcole Lenôtre in France, and is widely credited with introducing the chocolate truffle to the United States when she began making and selling them at her influential Berkeley dessert shop, Cocolat. She has since left the retail world, devoting much of her time to sharing her expansive knowledge about baking through teaching classes and writing Food52’s Rogue Baking Tips column. Medrich lives in Berkeley, California.
She is the author of Flavor Flours, Seriously Bitter Sweet (a complete revision of her 2003 IACP-prize-winning BitterSweet), Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, Pure Dessert, and Chocolate Holidays.
Table of Contents
IN PURSUIT OF PLEASURE viii
Before You Start 1
A LIGHT SWITCHED ON: PURSUING FLAVOR 32
The Flavors of Milk 34
WHY BOTHER? 45
The Flavors of Grain, Nuts, and Seeds 56
EXPERIMENTING WITH UNKNOWNS: COOKIES 2.0 84
The Flavors of Fruit 98
The Flavors of Chocolate 134
PURE AND SIMPLE CHOCOLATE 156
The Flavors of Honey and Sugar 170
TASTING SUGAR 194
The Flavors of Herbs and Spices, Flowers and Leaves 198
TIPS ON ICE CREAM MAKING 224
The Flavors of Wine, Beer, and Spirits 230