Comments: As suckers for hors d'oeuvres, how are we not going to be smitten with dessert recipes that essentially produce sweet hors d'oeuuvres? This book of tiny treats can go in several directions. You can make several dishes and provide all the desserts for a pot-luck or a fancy party. You can just participate in the trend of making and serving bite-size desserts. Or, perhaps you're the kind of person who only wants a bite anyway. (Our leaning is to think up reasons to make several desserts at once and find a way to share them with lots of friends.) Beatrice Ojakangas, who has written about half the cookbooks that are currently on the market, has turned her attention to more than 50 desserts that can be produced in one-, two-, or three-bite servings. The recipes are clustered in several categories little cakes; little pies and tarts (we're going to dispense with the word little now you get it, they're all small); fruit and berry desserts; mousses and chilled desserts; creams, custards, and frozen desserts; and pastries and sweets. The recipes are mostly simple, many are very simple, and most of the ingredients are also easy to find. Some desserts are not especially fancy (to us, blueberry pancakes barely fit into the dessert category), but overall, there's a good mix of fancy and humble. Ojakangas says downsizing desserts is a simple matter, just a function of using smaller dishes, cutting down the cooking time, and often, she says, also cutting the original recipe in half. She has done all the calculations for you in this case. She says her favorite approach to planning a multi-dish dessert party is serving something chocolate, something pale or white, and something with fruit. By far the greatest challenge in using this book and pursuing this approach on your own is finding enough small baking dishes. Ojakangas says she has been collecting small cups, ramekins, muffin tins, and even shot glasses for years. Fortunately, there is a boatload of miniature muffin pans on the market these days to get you headed in the right direction. The index is fine, but the type is very small (too small). --O'Chef.com
About the Author
Beatrice Ojakangas is a cookbook writer, recipe and food product developer in Duluth, Minnesota. She began her food writing career as a food editor for Sunset Magazine. In 2005, she was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook hall of fame, and in 2007, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Minnesota. She starred in a five-part series on holiday baking for the TV Food Network called The Bakers Dozen. She was a featured guest on Julia Child's series Baking with Julia. She also appeared on Martha Stewart Living Television. She has written numerous articles for many of the nation's leading magazines including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Womans Day, Family Circle, Cooking Light and others. Petite Sweets is her 27th cookbook.