the appetizer:

Get serious about sweets with Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, including treats like Quark Soufflés; Chunky Blackberry Sauce; Honey Caramels; and Lavender Caramel Sauce.

I Love Desserts


Pure Dessert

by Alice Medrich

Pure Dessert
Click to Buy Pure Dessert

"Pure desserts are for busy people who love food and care about what they eat, for people who are curious and open to new tastes, and for those who appreciate the details that make the difference between a good dessert and a great one."
     —Alice Medrich

The media proclaim the message: organic, natural, local, "slow," hand-crafted and authentic. Food trends are dictating more streamlined recipes and dishes, less complicated flavors. The dessert repertoire needs an infusion of new and better ingredients and new, simplified approaches to working with them. Alice Medrich has heeded the call with Pure Dessert a collection of the simplest recipes, using the fewest ingredients in the most interesting ways. No glazes, fillings or frostings—just dessert at its purest, most elemental and most flavor- ful.

For more than 30 years, Medrich has been learning, teaching and sharing what she loves about desserts, baking and chocolate. Using an exciting array of delicate, handmade cheeses, wholesome grains and other inspiring ingredients (many ethnic) that are now widely available, Pure Dessert expands the flavor palate while simplifying and demystifying baking techniques.

Loaded with advice and novel suggestions, with great recipes and eye-catching full-color photographs, and more than 150 recipes, Pure Dessert is an education and a revelation.

Medrich's pursuit of flavor is revolutionary in its approach, with chapters inspired by single ingredients rather than types of dessert, such as:

  • The Flavors of Milk: Milk—often considered a mere backdrop for fancy flavors like chocolate, lemon, raspberry or spice—is an essential ingredient, custards, puddings, ice creams, cookies and cakes. Recipes such as Desire's Brioche, Quark Souffles, and Crema Ice Cream are soulfully simple.
  • The Flavors of Grain, Nuts, and Seeds: Used with finesse, these ingredients add rich flavor, texture and tenderness. Kamut Pound Cake, Sesame Brittle Ice Cream and Corn Tuiles with Salt and Pepper celebrate the flavors of the ingredients.
  • The Flavors of Herbs and Spices, Flowers, and Leaves: Flavors such as aniseed and fennel, saffron, cardamom, lavender and all kinds of chilies, once considered too weird, exotic or "ethnic" for the mainstream kitchen, now take center stage in desserts such as Fresh Mint and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream, Aniseed and Almond Shortbread and Saffron and Cardamom Panna Cotta.

Pure desserts can stand alone or be mixed and matched for special occasions. The combination of Sour Cream Ice Cream, Tropical Lace Cookies and strawberries is worthy of a dinner party, but each component is delicious on its own. Pure dessert recipes are brief and inviting, and they welcome improvisation.

These pure and simple desserts are relaxed, convenient and elegant. Many recipes require fewer than five ingredients, such as Chestnut-Walnut Meringues, Summer Apple Carpaccio, Mango Sorbet, Honey Panna Cotta and Guinness Ice Cream, to name just a few. And because the desserts are not heavily sauced or sugared, they are not only better-tasting but also more healthful.

About the Author

Alice Medrich is inspired and inspiring. In Berkeley, California, in the 1970s, her dessert shop, Cocolat, set new standards of excellence. She has been learning, teaching and sharing what she loves about dessert making for thirty years. She brings to us an obsessive approach to recipes (meticulously written and tested), a commitment to quality ingredients, and a profound understanding of technique. Her contributions have resulted in the country's highest cookbook honors, including three Cookbooks of the Year, most recently from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate. Alice lives in Berkeley with her daughter Lucy.

  • Pure Dessert
  • By Alice Medrich
  • Artisan 2007
  • Hardcover; $35.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-57965-211-1
  • ISBN: 1579652115
  • Information provided by the publisher.

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Pure Dessert


This page created February 2008

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