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American Desserts: The Greatest Sweets on Earth Hardcover – October 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brachman, a co-host of the Food Network's Melting Pot and former pastry chef at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Bolo, offers up a tantalizing concoction of all-American, sure-to-please recipes for anyone with a sweet tooth. He presents modern versions of classic recipes that have fallen out of favor-such as Chess Pie, Shoo-Fly Pie, and an old-time favorite when lemons were out of season, Vinegar Pie ("Do not turn the page," Brachman advises. "If ever there was a pie that is deserving of rediscovery, this scrumptious old-time favorite is it")-redesigned for today's kitchens. There are more contemporary favorites, too: Super Fudge Brownies, Berry Bread Budding, Funnel Cakes and Chewy Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies with Peanuts. Brachman also includes anecdotes about generations of American immigrants and how these great innovators and first settlers created some of America's favorite desserts in a mere iron pot. Many helpful tips (when making pie crust, use butter for a flavorful dough or lard or vegetable shortening for a flaky crust) are interspersed with the recipes. Wondering about the difference between crisps and crumbles, cobblers, pan dowdys, buckles, slumps and grunts, brown betties, and shortcakes? Here's a chance to find out the details. Lovers of sweet and simple fare and all things American will welcome this cookbook. 16-page photo insert.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

When the urge for something sweet, something fudgy, something meltingly rich or irresistibly decadent hits, nothing satisfies like an American dessert. From chocolaty brownies and chewy cookies to aromatic crumbles and generously frosted cakes, these are the luscious crowd-pleasers that make us groan with satisfaction and sigh with nostalgia.

Now, acclaimed all-American dessert chef and Food Network host Wayne Harley Brachman has assembled the very best of the best in American Desserts: The Greatest Sweets on Earth. With a gift for clarity that makes the results can?t-fail easy, and a talent for jazzing up traditional flavors, Brachman has revitalized our favorite recipes, transforming strawberry shortcake into fresh Peach Shortcake with Wild Berry Whipped Cream, and a simple black bottom pie into the luxurious Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. His confections are brimming with enticing flavors, remaining true to their American roots: homey, simply presented desserts that are perfect to serve to family and friends alike.

Chapters showcase a wide range of classic desserts, some familiar and others ripe for revival: here are cakes (including Lemon Chiffon and Chocolate Icebox Cake), pies (such as Shoofly, Lemon Meringue and two-crust Classic Apple Pie), cobblers and puddings (like the unforgettable Nectarine-Raspberry Cobbler with Pecan Biscuits) and cookies and bars (with lavish flavors like Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips and white chocolate Blondies). All-American frozen desserts (such as Vanilla Malt Ice Cream and Cola Sherbet), irresistible fried doughs (including Apple Fritters and Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts) and decadent toppings (like Chocolate Fudge and Brown Sugar Custard Sauce) round out this must-have collection.

Throughout, ?Baker?s Notebook? sections give every home cook the benefit of Brachman?s two decades of experience. Filled with lore, trivia and a fresh new spirit, American Desserts is a delightful celebration of ?The Greatest Sweets on Earth.?

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400046653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400046652
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,338,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wayne Harley Brachman is one of the very few culinary writers, along with Alton Brown, who brings humor to his presentation and makes his literary and TV appearances just a bit more enjoyable than those of his colleagues.
His new book of dessert recipes is based on the rather thin premise that America is the home of the world's greatest desserts. The only real connection between this premise and the rest of the book is that all the recipes, from apple pie on down, are past or present American classics. Many of these recipes have fallen into obscurity such as indian pudding, but all are `red, white, and blue'. I suppose one could be cynical about the tie-in between baking and flag-waving, but Brachman pulls it all off with great good humor and a good story behind every recipe.
The book covers pies and tarts; cobblers, buckles, pan dowdys, etc; cakes; puddings and custards; doughnuts; cookies, brownies, and bars; ice creams; and sauces. True to it's title, it covers no type of baking other than sweets and covers no species of desserts which are clearly associated with another nationality. No Sachertorts here! He may be stretching it a bit when he includes tarts, although I am very glad he did. It is the first time I have read that there is a definite difference between a tart dough and a conventional pie dough. The latter aspires to being light and flaky, since it has no need to support any weight and is typically kept in a pie pan while being cut and served. The former is built so it's vertical wall can stand alone without the support of a pan. While Wayne admits that tarts have a distinctly French accent, all the fillings are purely Yankee Doodle.
In spite of the light tone of the historical commentary, the pastry techniques described herein are rock solid.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John C. Cox on November 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of "standard fare" american desserts -- Cherry pie, apple pie, lemon chiffon pie, key lime pie, chocolate chip cookies, etc.
You are not going to find strange overly complex recipes full of imposible ingredients here -- No fresh papaya juice biscotti, guava-mint-rum granitas or goat milk cheese here.
I am not convinced about some of the combinations in the cookbook -- I somehow cannot bring myself to try adding tomato juice to make devil's food cake.
Other recipes are just pure dessert heaven. The lemon chiffon pie is *wonderful.* The pineapple cake with macadamia nut topping wonderful. Cocoanut pie great.
Mostly, though, the recipes seem pretty good as a first pass at making a tasty dessert you will enjoy eating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Heather VINE VOICE on January 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The best dessert cookbook ever created. The recipies are uncomplicated, flawless, and the most delicious I have ever tasted. This book is pure pleasure. From the day I got this book, my other dessert books have been demoted to collecting dust. Absolutely brilliant.
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By Dawg Lovr on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Met all expectations, can be used by both the beginner and the more experience bakers. Mix of recipes is very good.
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