256 pages; 30 Color photographs, Hard Cover
Harper Collins, New York, New York, June 2003
Reviewed by Reviewed for Good Cooking by Esther Muhlfelder, Spring 2003
From time to time Good Cooking receives cookbooks for review even before they are released to the public. That was the case with this pre-release copy of Ripe for Dessert. You will notice it was reviewed in March but wasn't released by the publisher until last month. It is literally hot off the press! The following is Ester's review of the book.
Ripe for Dessert, 100 Outstanding Desserts with Fruit: Inside, Outside, Alongside by David Lebovitz is written by a pastry chef passionate about fruit (any form fresh, dried, candied) and its combination with baking
ingredients to create fantastic, intense and unusual fruity flavors. This is his second book. His recipes definitely bring desserts to new levels. But watch for the season when choosing the fruit to use!
I particularly enjoyed the introduction the author gives to each recipe. The stories he tells and images he uses in describing the fruit, their smell, color, and ripeness make you already savor their taste. I couldn t wait to jump into the kitchen and begin baking. Just by reading the recipe of a Totally Orange Allspice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze you can smell the orange as it is cooked until tender and almost taste the strong orange flavor. The recipe is very easy to follow, and since I had all the ingredients in the house it took me no time at all to start the production. The result a very moist orange flavor caramelized glazed cake, very delicate with an elegant taste. Try it. You will see how much you and your guests will enjoy the exotic mix of spices. Be prepared everyone will want the recipe!!
David's Totally Orange Allspice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
I wanted to make a cake that would be very orangey, but not too buttery, a cake that would resemble a sformato, the unmolded Italian pudding-souffle. An idea from Giuliano Bugialli provided the jumping-off point, and here is the result.
1 medium navel orange, (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 tsp. plus 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground allspice
8 tbsp. (1 Stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup currants, tossed in 1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1. To make the cake: Slice the orange in half and put it into a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover completely and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the orange is limp, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (You should be able to pierce it easily with a sharp knife.) You can also cook the orange halves in a microwave oven on high power for 12 minutes. Finely chop the orange in a food processor (but do not puree) and set aside.
2. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 2-inch cake pan.
3. Sift together the flour, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking powder, baking soda and allspice.
4. In a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the 8 tablespoons of butter and granulated sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat. Mix in half of the dry ingredients
, the milk, and chopped orange. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients
and the currants.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes until it feels slightly firm in the center. Cool before glazing.
7. Remove the cake from the pan and set it on a platter or cooling rack.
8. To make the glaze: Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, and cook for 2 minutes, without stirring. Add the cream and salt and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the glaze cool for a few minutes.
9. When the glaze has cooled to lukewarm and has thickened somewhat, pour it onto the center of the cake and spread it to the edges with a butter knife or icing spatula, encouraging some of the glaze to drip down the sides.
This is the result that Ester had from following the recipe
Most of the recipes in this book come with notes, serving suggestions and variations. I found these remarks very educational. It is very helpful to know which other fruits would do well to substitute, when these desserts are best served, or when you can make part or the whole recipe in advance.
Recipes are very easy to follow with clear explanations. I have made several and always experienced the same feedback from family and friends, very tasty and especially unusual . And the best part is that they are easy to make once you gather all the
Good Cooking would like you to know that David Lebovitz received much of his training at Alice Waters' legendary restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California-well-known for its commitment to top-quality, organic ingredients and absolute dedication to foraging for the freshest and most perfect ingredients available. He spent over twelve years at Chez Panisse in the pastry department creating desserts to compliment the seasonal menus which changed on a daily basis.