Ripe for Dessert: 100 Outstanding Desserts With Fruit--Inside, Outside, Alongside (Anglais) Relié – juin 2003
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The chapters divide the recipes into a slightly quirky seven different types of fruit, where type is not determined by botany but by a combination of season (apples, pears, quinces), terroir (tropical), and preservation (dried). The seven chapters are:
Apples, Pears, Quince, and Rhubarb
Figs, Grapes, Melon, and Pomegranates
The most striking thing about the collection of recipes is that there seems to be not a single classic fruit recipe such as simple Apple Pie or Strawberry Shortcake or Peach Melba or Peach Cobbler. Almost every recipe is original with the author or based on a suggestion made to the author. Many are certainly based on classics, but each and every one has some modification. For example:
Apple Crisp becomes Gravenstein Apple and Blackberry Crisp
Tarte Tatin becomes Apple and Quince Tarte Tatin
Rhubarb Pie becomes Rhubarb Tart with Almond Nougatine
Key Lime Pie becomes Lime Marshmallow Pie
Linzertorte become Peanut Butter and Jelly Linzertorte
Peach Crisp becomes Peach and Amaretti Crisp
There is definitely a place on many bookshelves for this kind of book. But it is important to know that this is what the book is all about before buying it. The author is so fastidious as a baker that he does not use generic pastry crusts. Rather, the crusts are customized to the job at hand. I count this as a major plus in a serious work on baking, but his may not be your particular bowl of cherries. I can see this book being justly popular with people who entertain a lot and need something new for dessert once or twice a month, especially since the book is organized to make finding a particular type of dessert very easy. I can certainly see that this book should be popular with restaurants and caterers and all professional bakers.
One important fact to know about the recipes is that many ingredients are not restricted to their proper chapter titles. Shredded coconut, for example, is something like the grated Parmesan cheese of the dessert world. It gets sprinkled on lots of different recipes.
These recipes are all very good. But, they reminded me of a comment on a TV documentary on a pastry competition where a team lost out because their tastes were just too unfamiliar to the judges.
The few pictures in the book are competent. The style of the book is a bit garish. I would have been happier with a nice sedate Alfred A. Knopf treatment to the book design rather than the hot pink and orange colors they chose. I am always pleasantly surprised by a bibliography in cookbooks. This would have been just a little better done as footnotes. The double table of contents by fruit and by type (cakes, tarts, cookies, etc) is wonderful. More cookbooks should do this.
If I were looking for a good general-purpose book on desserts including fruit, I would go with Wayne Harley Brachman's new `American Classics' volume. Highly professional treatment of familiar favorites.
This book is good for the right audience.
This book did not dissapoint. There are recipes for almost every fruit imaginable, most available in any grocery store, along with some beautiful photos of some of the finished and plated desserts.
The book starts with the authors, Mr. David Lebovitz, acknowledgments, and continues with a foward by Ms. Deborah Madison. This is the first book of Mr. Lebovitz's I've owned, and seeing how great this one is, must now get his other, Room for Dessert.
Then there is an introduction from Mr. Lebovitz, including some tips, techniques, and a section on different types of fruits.
There are then seven chapters, seperated by fruit catergory, full of recipes.
Apples, Pears, Quince, and Rhubarb - Included are fourteen recipes, mostly for apples and pears. The quince and rhubarb being included in this chapter, since they don't really fit anywhere else. There are six recipes for apples, one being a tempting spiced apple charlotte with cider sabayon. There is one recipe for quince; quince marmalade with manchego cheese. Then six recipes for pears, including; stilton shortcakes with honey-poached pears and cornmeal shortcakes with spice-baked pears. This is followed by a single recipe for rhubrab; rhubarb tart with almond nougatine.
A chapter for tropical fruit follows with ten recipes. There's a papaya recipe for papaya cake with coconut glaze, then a tropical version of baked Alaska, reightly re-named here, a baked Hawaii. There's two mango recipes, and three pineapple recipes, including one for a caramelized pineapple flan. There are two banana recipes, and a recipe for mango and lilikoi butter.
Next is a chapter full of citrus fruit desserts, with nineteen recipes, nine being for oranges, or one of their counterparts. The orange recipes include orange allspice cake with brown sugar glaze and ricotta cake with candied orange. There are then three lime recipes, the best being the lime-marshmallow pie, a single grapefruit recipe; pink grapefruit champagne sorbet, and six lemon recipes including; lemon-ginger creme brulee and gingery lemonade.
There is a whole chapter for dried fruits, which I believe are under-used in America. Mr. Lebovitz has managed to take these under-rated fruits, and come up with fifteen recipes including them. Most recipes include more then one fruit, so it's impossible to seperate them by fruit, like in the other chapters. Some examples of recipes included are; pear and fig chutney with bittersweet chocolate mousse, date ginger and candied pineapple fruitcake, and peppery chocolate-cherry biscotti.
There is then another chapter of more misc type fruits, that seem to hard to group with any other fruits; Figs, Grapes, Melon, and Pomegrantes. There are only seven recipes, two of them being; fig and raspberry tart with honey and a duo of wine grape sorbets. This is not a bad chapter, but is weaker compared to the other chapters.
There is then a chapter of stone fruits with fifteen recipes, with four cherry recipes including chocolate bread with sauteed cherries, four peach recipes, including the cover recipe; peaches poached in wine syrup, an apricot recipe; apricot and marzipan tart, two tempting nectarine recipes, and four plum recipes, including a spiced plum streusel cake.
The last chapter is devoted to my favorite fruits; the berries. Fourteen recipes are included. There are four strawberry recipes, which seem to be a favorite of everyone, including; strawberries in red wine syrup with almond meringue baskets, a boysenberry recipe, two blackberry recipes, only one blueberry recipe, and two recipes for mixed berries. There's also a recipe for tomatoes.
The only fruit that I find to be missing in the whole of the book is raspberries. Though it is used as a supporting ingrediant in some recipes, it deserves a stand alone one that all other fruits have been given.
Mr. Lebovitz has also included two indexes, one which lists the recipes by type, i.e. cakes and pies, which is handy since the book is divided by fruits, and another general index.
I have a suggestion for the author's next cookbook. He should all it READY FOR DESSERT and include only quick and easy recipes for those of us who are (a) very busy, (b lazy, (c) poor-- some of these recipes would cost bunches--(d) all of the above.
But if you are looking for very exotic recipes with lots of contrasting flavors, this cookbook is for you.
I also like the introductory mini lesson on how to care for and handle fruit -- very informative!