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Pure Dessert Hardcover – September 5, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (September 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579652115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579652111
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If vanilla is your idea of plain, Medrich will revolutionize your thinking. In her vocabulary, vanilla is a flavor; she distinguishes among the nuances of Bourbon, Mexican, and Tahitian extracts, powders, and beans. Plain means tasting the milk, butter, flour or fresh cheese that defines a cake or custard. She describes 10 different sugars, from "neutral" granulated white to slightly "smoky" dark brown piloncillo. Her three previous cookbooks (including BitterSweet) won awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and her new book is sure to attract the new generation of cooks devoted to elaborate simplicity. Readers should be aware, however, that the brevity of ingredient lists may mislead; some gardens and markets may lack such nonfungible items as lemon verbena, chestnut flour and muscovado sugar. But all will welcome the ultimate summer pudding recipe-berries, bread, sugar, whipped cream-and the liberating range of frozen desserts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Sure to attract the new generation of cooks devoted to elaborate simplicity"—Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert is a great addition to any cookbook collection.
Cook-the-Book
I love her almond cake, her caramel-glazed cardamom palmiers, her chocolate pudding, the very tangy lemon bars... a little jewel of a cookbook!
Auralyn
Every dessert recipe I've tried from her book "Pure Dessert" has been incredible and delicious (and so far I've tried close to 10 recipes).
Rebekah E. S. Kuk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Laura Stokes-Gray on October 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are those who may be in a "New York State of Mind" when it comes to desserts (and there are some fine east coast sweets). This is a dessert book for those in a "Northern California" state of mind. If Chez Panisse and the French Laundry sound appealing, you'll find this volume very exciting. If you'd like to forego heavy cheesecakes, frostings, three-layer cakes, and toothachingly sweet confections, this book is for you. If you appreciate elegant simplicity combined with eating seasonally and locally, you'll find plenty to enjoy in this delightful volume.

First and foremost, with these recipes, there is absolutely nothing to get in the way of pure flavor. Like Lisa Yockelson's "Baking by Flavor" and Carole Bloom's "The Essential Baker", this book is organized by ingredients rather than type of dessert. Medrich begins with "The Flavors of Milk". Right off the bat, I discovered two ethereal renditions: "Sour Cream Ice Cream" and "Carmelized Crepes Filled with Fresh Cheese". Both recipes are exceedingly simple and deceptively spectacular. Medrich cautions against using even vanilla in the ice cream, letting the "rich nutty flavor and pleasant edge of the sour cream" shine. The crepes are designated as "minimalist revamped cheese blintzes" made without benefit of eggs or much sugar - so as not to interfere with the extraordinary flavor and purity of fresh artisan cheese. Both desserts will knock your socks off, providing you don't change a thing (and you'll be tempted to do so). Paging through "The Flavors of Chocolate", you'll find a serene "Chocolate Pudding" and an equally comforting "Nutella Bread Pudding".
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118 of 123 people found the following review helpful By V. Paige on September 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was a fan of Alice Medrich ever since her book "Bittersweet". All the recipes I have tried from that book worked. I was fortunate to attend a class held at the Tante Marie Cooking school this past August where Alice Medrich was doing some class demonstrations and she had the first copies of "Pure Dessert" available to the attendees. From the cover to the wonderful photography of each recipe inside, I knew I couldn't wait to try some of them at home.
I had tried three items so far: iced citron vodka chocolates, the nibby buckwheat cookies and the chestnut pound cake. All of them were delicious and the nuances of each ingredient came through cleanly in your palate - hence the name of the book - "Pure Dessert".
Watching and listening to Alice during the class demos gave me an understanding as to why her recipes worked very well. She is an avid tester. She never ceases to try and figure out why and how an ingredient or the amount you use affect the outcome of your end product - she is simply a curious soul!
If you are looking for overly frosted cakes or complex dessert recipes, this book is NOT for you. Most of the recipes are made up of but a few choice ingredients and from what I can tell from what I have created, none of them are overly sweet - just refreshing, pure desserts!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cook-the-Book on March 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert is a great addition to any cookbook collection. Her ideas are interesting and inspiring but without the 'over-the-top' over-reaching, both in terms of flavor and technique, of so many high-end dessert books. I have made several of the recipes so far, including "cocoa wafers" (fabulous, pure in flavor and dangerously addictive), "my gingersnaps" (not sure I'll make anyone else's anymore unless I have to), "new bitersweet brownies" (fabulous taste and texture -- definitely make the nibby version in a round cake pan - fancy to look at but easy and "pure" at the same time). Five stars for this one is a slam-dunk, if you'll pardon the expression.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Nunez on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After seeing recipes that included whole-grain flours in cookies and cakes, I was intrigued by this book, and decided to get it, not knowing what a master Alice Medrich is at creating perfectly balanced recipes that focus on flavor and texture. After this book, I hold Alice as the gold standard in baking. I am collecting her other books and hope that Alice will someday do an ice cream book.

There is nothing that is overly sweet in this book, a flaw of many other dessert books. Alice allows the ingredients to shine, and has created recipes that provide more than just sweetness or richness. One of the points made throughout this book that I really agree with is that richer is not always better. Many think that having tons of eggs and loading up on the heavy cream will automatically make ice cream better, but Alice correctly points out that this is not always the case, and that in many instances, eggs get in the way of flavor, as does the use of too much sugar. She has done the recipe-testing to back it up as well! All of her recipes are extensively tested, and having tried out so many of them, I can vouch that anyone can feel sure about trying out a recipe for the first time and getting excellent results. I love reading her insights into why things work, as well as her discoveries that often go against the norm (for example, how cold infusions proved superior to hot infusions).

Her lebni tart is cheesecake-smooth, but with the characteristic tang of yogurt, perfectly balanced with a sweet, buttery, vanilla-flavored crust.
The brioche is feather-light, just sweet enough, and very buttery, but without tasting at all greasy.
Then there's her quark souffles.
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