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Chez Panisse Desserts

Chez Panisse Desserts: member book reviews

(1 review)
4th February 2010

Cooksbakesbooks from Lincoln, NE

Lindsey Remolif Shere is one of those rare cooks who has perfect pitch. She has a keen sense of what flavors and textures are most pleasing. She has a sense of what to pare away so that you are not inundated by detail but, still, you are left with an outstanding dessert.

Shere was the pastry chef at Chez Panisse years ago. In my mind, Alice Waters' greatest contribution and perhaps her greatest talent is choosing the best cooks to work with her. Shere is among her best finds of a very impressive crew of Chez Panisse alums.

Chez Panisse Desserts is full of recipes you would actually want to make. It is arranged by ingredient type and includes chapters such as "Flowers, Herbs, and Spices," "Berries," "Nuts and Dried Fruits" and "Wine and Spirits." The recipes are French-inspired but, ultimately, they are Californian, relying on locally-grown, fresh produce to create lots of fruit- and nut-based desserts.

The first chapter contains recipes for many basics like puff pastry, ladyfingers, vanilla Bavarian cream, pie crust and so on. The following chapters have recipes such as:

Pears poached in raspberry syrup
Pink grapefruit and champagne sherbet
Coconut ice cream
Jasmine ice cream
Coffee caramel ice cream
Wild blackberry curd
Apricot and cherry pie
Rhubarb tart
Butterscotch-pecan pie
White chocolate truffles
Kirsch parfait

There's also a thoughtfully put together bibliography, for anyone doing dessert research, and a good index.

The drawback to the book is that there are no pictures of the finished dishes, and sometimes not even a description of an item. So if you don't know of Ossi dei morti, for example, you won't know whether you would want to make them or not. But most of the recipes are of items that are easy-to-make, delicious, familiar, and expertly formulated, French- and American-style desserts.


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