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Chez Panisse Fruit Hardcover – April 16, 2002

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Alice Waters's Chez Panisse is one of America's great restaurants. Dedicated to serving French country food made from the finest American ingredients (and furthering the cause of local, conscientiously produced foods of all kinds), the restaurant is also responsible for a remarkable series of cookbooks, including Chez Panisse Vegetables and the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook. Chez Panisse Fruit, coauthored by Waters, proceeds in the innovative spirit of its predecessors, offering 200 exquisite sweet and savory fruit recipes, plus essays that attune readers to growing and marketing issues so they can make wise seasonal selections. Conceived with utmost simplicity, recipes like Spit-Roasted Pork with Onion-and-Apple Marmalade, Caramelized Red Banana Tartlets, and Grilled Cured Duck Breasts with Pickled Peaches truly celebrate the fruits they feature. Though not difficult to prepare, the recipes demand a cook's full attention--at the market as well as in the kitchen. The reward is memorable eating.

Arranged alphabetically from apples to strawberries, the book treats familiar and less familiar fruit, including citron (in dishes like Sautéed Scallops with Citron), loquats (used in Catherine's Loquat Sauce, a delicious accompaniment to grilled meats), and mulberries (delightful in ice cream and sherbet). There are also superb versions of raspberry ice cream, cranberry relish, and blueberry buttermilk pancakes, as well as must-try "original" fare like Rocket Salad with Pomegranates and Toasted Hazelnuts, Tangerine and Chocolate Semifreddo, and Moroccan Chicken with Dates. A section of basics also provides exemplary formulas for the likes of pie dough, biscuits, and pastry cream. Illustrated in the Chez Panisse tradition with relief prints of the fruit, the book is an appreciation of one of our most glorious resources and, tacitly, a call to consciousness about the need to preserve it at its best. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

The eighth Chez Panisse cookbook, which features sweet and savory dishes that use fruit, follows what has become acclaimed chef Alice Waters's patented style: a mix of rustic dishes, many exhibiting Italian and French influence, that highlight the best possible produce. Recipes are organized by fruit, and each chapter begins with a mini-essay on varieties and growing conditions, and often sounds the biodiversity alarm, as when Waters opines, "How sad, then, that well over 90 percent of the apples sold in this country belong to one of only fifteen of those seven thousand varieties." Desserts showcase flavors that may be slightly unfamiliar, either because they use unusual varieties (Caramelized Red Banana Tartlets) or different versions of a common fruit, as with Fig Cookies that are a haute substitute for Fig Newtons and use fresh figs rather than dried. Savory dishes such as Middle Eastern-Style Lamb Stew with Dried Apricots and a tasty assembly of spices skew more traditional. Some of the most intriguing recipes are the simplest, such as Pickled Cherries and Tea-Poached Prunes. At times, Waters's specificity can be exasperating. Will Crˆpes Suzette with Pixie Tangerine Sherbet be just as good if the sherbet is made with some other variety of tangerine? Still, it's hard to find fault with a book wide-ranging and inventive enough to comfortably encompass Judy's Deep-Fried Lemon and Artichokes, Spring Fruit Compote with Kiwifruit Sherbet and Coconut Meringue, and a tart Vin de Pamplemousse aperitif.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Chez Panisse
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (April 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060199571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060199579
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brian Sharp on November 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book at a friend's recommendation primarily for the Lamb & Quince Tagine recipe. That recipe was superb! Since then, I've routinely turned to this book looking for innovative ways to use less-common fruits. Recently, pomegranate and persimmon.

Pomegranate is in season here in Texas and I wasn't aware of anything terribly clever to do with the seeds, short of tossing them in a salad (which, sure, it's great, but man can't live on salad alone! Or at least, I can't.) You can do lots with the juice, but you don't need fresh pomegranates for that. I wanted something that highlighted the fresh fruit itself. Her recipes? Any that used the actual seeds put them... on a salad. Come on, Alice!

Then it was persimmon. Persimmons are in season here now too and are dirt cheap and delicious. I also recently had a soup at the French Laundry that consisted of a parsnip, compressed Fuyu persimmon, black truffle puree, and pine nuts, and it was outstanding. So, again, I opened CP Fruit hoping for some really novel flavor combinations with the persimmon. The recipes? The obligatory persimmon cookies, a persimmon pudding recipe that looks fine but very simple, and then some salads. Again, nothing too bold.

Maybe that's Alice's style, although I've eaten a few times at the Chez Panisse cafe (upstairs) and had some really creative and novel things. So I know her penchant for fresh, local ingredients isn't necessarily also about such simple preparations.

As a final note, incidental except that it does affect my use of the book, it's a beautiful book but will not stay open at all. It's the worst of all my cookbooks for that. I brought a squeeze-clamp in from my toolshed to my kitchen explicitly to hold this book open when I use it.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Chez Panisse Fruit' by Alice Waters and her staff is the companion volume to a similarly formatted and illustrated `Chez Panisse Vegetables'. While I gave the latter volume only four stars, I can give this very similar volume five stars simply because, to my knowledge, there are not many good cookbooks around for fruits alone. And, this is a very valuable type of book to have on hand.

I am constantly reminded of the central insight of Tom Colicchio's book `How to Think Like a Chef' where he points out that chefs do not create recipes then go looking for ingredients. The creative process is exactly the opposite. They look to see what they have on hand and create something based on this. Tony Bourdain reminds us about this in his book, `Kitchen Confidential', when he warns us about the specials of the day, as they are probably built out of ingredients which are becoming a bit long in the tooth to hold much longer in the walk-in refrigerator. This principle becomes writ large with every chef / author crowing about their using fresh, seasonal ingredients. They mention this far less often, but I'm sure they also create recipes and menus based on what is cheap as much as on what is fresh. Since seasonal generally coincides with less expensive, they can tout seasonal and hide their economical self-interest at work. This principle of using what you have also makes me skeptical of really how difficult the old `Iron Chef' premise is for first class chefs, as they really do this kind of thing every day of their working lives, if they are still working in the kitchen. This competition is stressful, but it is simply taking what they every day do to it's extreme.

But I ramble.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa on June 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alice Waters and the staff at Chez Panisse forged the standard for fresh cuisine. Instead of an overwhelming emphasis on abstract-innovations and culinary interpretations, Panisse offered diners a glorious showcase of products at their best, in the most bare and most essential.
This cookbook offers home cooks and curious readers insight into the ground-breaking process that changed the way we think about produce. From the get-go, the book's appeal is not in its starkly modern and sophisticated food styling or photography. Rather, the visual impact imparts a sense of familiarity and comfort; as if it were a relative's old cookbook to rummage through, full of beautifully printed fruit.
Listed alphabetically, each chapter offers practical information such as the history, popular use, and general availability of the fruit. Keep in mind (as Waters does) that much of the produce available to Panisse is do to the abundance in agricultural activity around the Berkeley area. However, this should not sway readers and cooks toward the negative. On the contrary. More knowledge of certain produce, local or exotic, continually empowers the curious foodie to venture into new unknown territory and inquire for it at farmer's markets, the road side stand, or supermarket.
In other words, demand what you can get, appreciate what's available to you, and use it wisely, letting the fullest flavor come through. Berries in New England, citrus in California, or peaches in Georgia, the book offers a well-spring of knowledge and recipes that follow the Panisse dictum.
The fact that the book isn't jam-packed with recipes I view as a positive. Waters offers a taste of what can be done. The rest, the new, can be devised by the Panisse chefs AND the home cook thanks to an arsenal of knowledge.
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