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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2010
Tres Leches cake. Sweet tamales. Flan. Pan. Milk Fudge. Those familiar with the sweet flavors of Mexico will have the their mouths watering with the litany of delicious temptations. Until now, most of us have had to go to our local Hispanic markets to taste these treats, but no longer. Now, Fany Gerson will teach you how to create these dishes and many more in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Ms. Gerson does for dessert what Bayless did for main dishes, she brings the authentic food to the American audience and she does so in an approachable, comforting way. For those that need baking and candy making refreshers, they are provided, along with amazing, beautiful pictures so you know how yours should look at the end. Each recipe has its name in Mexican and English and cultural tidbits. Those just make the book even more enjoyable.

There are nine chapters. In English, they are:
* Beverages
* Sweets from the Comvents
* Corn
* Heirloom Sweets
* Morning Sweet Breads
* Fruit
* Desserts
* Frozen Treats
* Modern Mexico

I am a chef and I grew up in south Phoenix. Never before have I seen a cookbook such as this (and I own over 400 cookbooks, now). This is a visual, mental treat and when you take the effort to make these classic, authentic sweets, it is a treat for mouth and soul, too.

Highest possible recommendations. Seriously, buy this now!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 13, 2010
My love affair with Mexican food arrived one day in 1952 when my mother received a "care package" from friends in the Southwest stuffed full of "Mexican" food. I suspect I've never had a worse tamale, but those canned tamales sparked a life-long pursuit of the the "best" in tacos and tamales and salsas by the dozens. And of course, I've been collecting Mexican cookbooks ever since - a fairly substantial chunk of the ethnic section of my collection (over 400 but I've lost count!).

You don't have to spend much time in Mexico or have many Mexican friends to realize that sweets are a huge part of Mexican culture - and you don't have to visit many "Mexican" restaurants here in the US or read through many Mexican cookbooks to realize that there simply must be more than fried ice cream, churros, and a couple of cookie recipes. With My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats, Fany Gerson fills a huge void, both on my library shelves and in my kitchen. My only problem? What to make first. . . . . tamales? or maybe that sweet potato candy? Milk fudge? Something frozen? HMMMMM . . .

Beautiful book, highly recommended. This is a book you will treasure for a long time.
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on September 27, 2010
We finally have a recipe book that is really Mexican and not an imitation. Not only is it great to have these recipes available, but also, it is interesting to know the story behind the ingredients and the desserts. We love this book.
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on August 10, 2012
I've made several recipes from this cookbook so far, and they have all been delicious! It's a shame this book suffered from poor editing (this review sums it up quite well: [...]), otherwise it would have been a 5-star cookbook. The book is lacking in specific instruction on different techniques. The recipes I've attempted have turned out well because I'm an experienced baker and know what I'm doing--this is not a book for a beginner.
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on August 8, 2011
I have tried my hand at a few or these recipe, ie: the conchas, the cajeta and the churros and they have all come out wonderfully (atleast i thought they did). The conchas were soft and stayed that way using a method from maggie glezers book to scald the milk first, stopping an enzyme that makes the bread stale after a day or two. Since i have made a brioche before, I know that it can become stale in a short period. The churros were very addicting, using goat cheese it had a wonderful tangy flavor. I've never had one before, so it was an experience. How does one get it to stop floating into one another like a magnet when cooking two at a time?... and the cajeta, it took exactly one hour like gerson says it will. It was totally delicious, but it hardened so much, what do i do?... As i have said, i love this book and i love trying my hand at these wonderful mexican desserts. I'm still new to this so if any body can help me with some tips on mexican desserts that would be sweet... Enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon July 3, 2011
Mexico's dulces (sweets) are a blend of indigenous ingredients melded with European traditions, and in "My Sweet Mexico," Mexican native Fany Gerson brings these sweet indulgences to vivid life. A Culinary Institute of America alumna and the granddaughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Fany is no stranger to the melding of two worlds. Some of the oldest recipes here are ancient drinks like atole (ground corn; the word "atole" comes from atl, water, and tlaoli, ground corn). Others stem from Spain's Arabic heritage, like mazapan, alfajor de miel, and orange blossom water (even the Spanish word, azahar, comes from Arabic).

The included illustrations and photos bring the varied facets of modern Mexico to life: as you first open the cookbook, the endpapers recreate azulejos (glazed tiles) and a colonial wooden door that gives way to photos of antique candy shops, exotic tropical fruits like soursops and mameys, gorgeous food photos and local artisans hard at work. The book starts with an in-depth primer on ingredients and tools. A note: many of the more exotic fruits that Fany uses, like tecojote, mamey, or zapote negro, may be difficult to find. Because they are ingredient-specific recipes, there are no substitutions for these recipes. But they are few in number, and the other ingredients should be readily available in your area.

For those new to Mexican desserts, I would recommend starting with one of the simpler recipes like jamoncillo de leche (milk fudge). The milk fudge has few ingredients and is made in one pot; I made it with the suggested variation of evaporated goat's milk, and it's like a firmer version of cajeta (dulce de leche). Be prepared for much stirring and waiting; it takes about 30-40 minutes for the mixture to reach the right consistency. There are also several suggested flavor variations like coffee (I used 2 tsp. reconstituted instant espresso in place of coffee extract), lime, etc. to mix it up a bit. This is one that would be great for gifting around the holidays.

The importance of corn in the Mexican diet can't be overlooked, and corn gets its own chapter, with such entries as pemoles (coffee-flavored corn cookies), sweet fried masa cakes, and fruit tamales. In other chapters, there are unexpected gems like bean candy, which reminded me of the sugared beans I would snack on in central Japan, or the amaranth "Happiness" candy, a heavenly combination of nuts, dried fruits, honey, and puffed amaranth seeds. Candied fruits are another staple; I love Mexican candied pumpkin, and Fany demystifies the process, suggesting several variations like candied prickly pears, tamarind pods, papaya and chayote. The coconut-stuffed limes glisten like emeralds, hiding an unexpected (but fitting) filling.

The chapter on "pan dulce" (sweet breads) is near and dear to my heart; I live in a city surrounded by Mexican bakeries, and I love to browse the cases stacked with ever-changing assortments of brightly-colored pastries. I particularly liked Fany's recipe for huachibolas (cream cheese morning rolls); the yeast dough hides a surprise filling of cream cheese (I tried the recipe using Neufchatel cream cheese). Fany also chronicles old-fashioned sweets like candied nuts and caramels, some with pronounced tropical flavors, like gaznates (fritters filled with mezcal meringue) or lime meringues. There's even a chapter on frozen desserts (Mexican ice pops and ice creams), with some truly surprising (and refreshing) flavor combos on display, including avocado, corn, and cheese ice creams, spicy mango ice pops, and rose petal sherbert. (Fany just published her second cookbook, Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, if you are looking for a more in-depth guide to Mexican frozen desserts.)

Finally, the book closes with "Mexico Moderno" (Modern Mexico), ten recipes that Fany created to pay homage to "the new Mexico," one that blends imported influences with traditional flavors. Recipes include a decadent chocolate-rum tres leches cake, cheesecake with spiced quince, upside-down plantain cake, and mango bread pudding with tamarind sauce.

"My Sweet Mexico" pays homage to Mexico's cultural and geographical diversity, and Fany is an engaging tour guide. Each recipe includes informative tips, recipe origins, or notes about a specific artisanal shop that brings the recipes to life. The recipes themselves are clearly printed and easy to follow (if time-consuming); like all recipes, you may find that you need to adjust cooking times based on your cookware, oven temp, etc. They're written in such a way that they're not intimidating, making Mexican sweets accessible even for novice bakers. It's a gem of a cookbook that deserves to be in your kitchen.

(Review copy generously provided by Ten Speed Press)
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on January 25, 2011
Beautiful photos & the churro recipe alone makes this book worth every penny. Can't wait to try the tres leches.
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on February 10, 2014
The reason why I bought this book is because I was interested in making Crystalized fruits, Mexican style. Turned out that the book is more than just crystalizing yam, squash and even jalapeños. Fanny gave us at least a year full of treats to test and enjoy. Mexico is a food rich country but my favorites are sweeties, I tried so far Quincy paste, Crepas de Cajeta (Crepés win Caramel Pecan Sauce, Tres Leches Cake.

The Kindle versión is even a sweeter deal because is cheaper. Hey, if you like traditional desserts and native confitería, go for it.

The recipes are in English and all native ingredients from the Mexican-Spanish tradition are properly translated into English, so, you will not get lost.

Fanny, are you working in another book like this? I just can wait.
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on February 5, 2015
I live in Hawaii and cannot get Mexican pastry's out here so I decided I need to learn to make my own. I have made Mexican milk caramels, conchas, and a version of hebillas so far, all have turned out so tasty!!! I am very happy with this book!
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on July 29, 2015
I loved this cooking book because of the depth of the history and recipes. If you love churros, tres leches cake and pan dulce you are in the rifht place. The food photography is amazing and would make a good gift for anyone that likes Mexican food.
The only thing I am not a big fan it that as a Mexican myself, some recipes don't seem to be very authentic. The book also has a few editing mistakes and one of them is that it lists a recipe of another Mexican chef and his name is misspelled.

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