is dangerous. The very notion of creating a dessert, from scratch, in 15 minutes or less is itself fantastically appealing. But when the recipes are as tempting as those that Lauren Chattman, a pastry chef, has devised in this clever collection of 110 quick desserts, then anyone who cares about their waistline should run far, far away. Chattman knows too well what she is doing and the shortcuts she creates--say, for a silky peanut butter pie made with a chocolate wafer crust or a chocolate mousse cake made with only three ingredients--never stint on the quality of ingredients. So when she suggests cake flour for a finer-crumbed quick cake, Pernigotti cocoa powder for its full chocolate flavor in a custard, and Dufour puff pastry for its buttery flake in a turnover, smart readers will heed her advice. Recipes that take 15 minutes or less are always attractive to beginners, but advanced cooks pressed for time will appreciate the intuitive way Chattman goes about paring down more complicated desserts to their essentials, isolating what makes them taste great and bringing them to the fore. Her explanation for the Sautéed Brown Sugar Bananas over Coconut Ice Cream explains her method perfectly: "One day when I was making some filling for banana tarts, I tasted the sautéed bananas. I halted my tart-making immediately and decided instead to use the bananas as an ice cream topping." --Sumi Hahn Almquist
From Publishers Weekly
Already author of two collections of high-quality "quick" recipes, Cool Kitchen and Just Add Water, here Chattman succeeds in proving that "there are many ways to make a great dessert in 15 minutes or less." Shunning typical convenience foods, she relies on fresh ingredientsAfrom spices (in Vanilla Bean Cheesecake) to homemade puff pastry. Happy to pull out the waffle iron, electric mixer or food processor, she hardly uses the microwave at all. Her time-saving methods are clever and practical: Crumb crusts substitute for rolled pastry in Maple Pecan Tart and Peanut Butter Pie; baked, sugared wonton squares become "Shortcakes" with plums and cream, and eggroll wrappers turn into Orange Marmalade "Crepes" with Warm Strawberries and Sour Cream. To save time, homey cakes like Warm Gingerbread Squares are unfrosted, and simple but flavorful drop cookies (Chocolate Meringue Kisses and Homemade Vanilla Wafers) displace those that need to be rolled and cut. Chattman keeps the number of ingredients short and sweetAjust three for her Easiest, Best Chocolate Mousse Cake, four in billowing Apricot Souffl?s. Directions are precise and each step is timed to the minute; her desserts really do take only 15 minutes to makeAthough baking and cooling times can add up to three hours. (June)
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